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|Sussex Hospices Trail Part 20: Haywards Heath to Balcombe|
|Author: jsellars, Published: 31 Mar 2016||Walk rating : Rating:|
|West Sussex, Haywards Heath|
|A 6 mile linear walk from Haywards Heath rail station to Balcombe rail station in West Sussex, forming the 20th stretch of the Sussex Hospices Trail. The route takes you through beautiful Sussex Weald countryside with impressive views and wildlife spotting opportunities around the tranquil Ardingly Reservoir. On route you will walk through mixed woodland, climb rolling hills and stroll alongside the 198 acre Ardingly Reservoir, also designated a Local Nature Reserve. In the distance you can admire the magnificent Ouse Valley Viaduct and the historic Ardingly College. The return leg can be completed with a single 5 minute train journey. |
The hospices of Sussex are dedicated to providing specialist end-of-life care. Friends of Sussex Hospices has worked with partners and supporters to create the Sussex Hospices Trail, a 200 mile long-distance path to support and raise awareness of the twelve hospice care providers that serve the adults and children of Sussex.
The Weald is famous for its mud and after rain the trail can be heavy going, although in many places you will find side paths through the woods running adjacent to the main track. You will need to negotiate a number of kissing gates, footbridges and low step barrier stiles, but no fence stiles. There are some short sections of walking through quiet residential areas and there is one steep section of steps through a wood. Dogs should have no problems on this walk but must be kept on leads when walking through the golf course and do take care with dogs when livestock are grazing in the fields. Allow 3 hours.
There are no facilities for the bulk of the walk, but you will find cafes and pubs in Haywards Heath and Balcombe, at the start and end of the walk. Ardingly Reservoir makes a good spot for a picnic, about half way along the walk.
The walk starts at Haywards Heath rail station and ends at Balcombe rail station. The two stations are connected by an hourly train service which is just a 5 minute journey. There are pay and display car parks at both stations. Haywards Heath daily parking rates are: Mon-Fri £7.50, Sat £4.50, Sun and Bank Holidays £1.00 (correct March 2016). Approximate postcode for Haywards Heath station RH16 1DJ.
|Start to Haywards Heath Golf Course|
Start point: 51.0058 lat, -0.1039 long
Standing with your back to the rail station, facing the Burrell Arms pub, cross the road and turn right along the pavement. Stay on this pavement as it bears left, walking along Mill Green Road, following the clearly signed 'Ardingly Reservoir' path. You will reach a T-junction at the end of Mill Green Road, with the railway bridge on your left. Swap over to the right-hand pavement, follow this into College Road for a few paces then cross (left) over College Road, to reach the entrance to Mid Sussex Timber. Turn right along the pavement of College Road for a few metres before turning left onto Wickham Way, a quiet private road but clearly signed as a public footpath.
|Haywards Heath Golf Course to Rivers Road Rail Bridge|
Start point: 51.0233 lat, -0.0997 long
At the fingerpost, take the footpath to the left leaving the golf course behind and walking downhill through the woodland. At a yellow waymarker bear left, continuing through the wood with its carpet of bluebells, to reach a quiet country lane. Cross over the lane to a clearly visible fingerpost, follow this footpath downhill to reach a kissing gate.
|Rivers Road Rail Bridge to Ardingly Reservoir|
Start point: 51.0311 lat, -0.1027 long
Cross straight over the track to the fingerpost marker. Go ahead, along this footpath into woodland, River’s Wood. Stay on this track all the way through the woods (following the High Weald yellow waymarkers). Emerging from the woods, you reach a kissing gate which leads into an open field.
|Ardingly Reservoir to Balcombe Lane Road Bridge|
Start point: 51.0426 lat, -0.0993 long
Continue along the path, over the dam wall of the reservoir (with the water to your left), to reach a wooden kissing gate. Pass through the kissing gate and bear left, following the path clearly marked ‘kingfisher trail’. Follow this footpath, always keeping the reservoir on your left, until you reach a kissing gate. NOTE: there are a number of places along this path where you can stop for a picnic or just enjoy the lovely views over the water.
|Balcombe Lane Road Bridge to Balcombe Village|
Start point: 51.0521 lat, -0.1004 long
Continue to follow the path around the perimeter of the reservoir, ignoring any footpath signs to your right. The reservoir will begin to narrow as you walk towards the northerly end of the water, eventually reaching waymarker ‘6’ and a wooded section of the footpath.
|Balcombe Village to End|
Start point: 51.0538 lat, -0.1168 long
Pass through the gate and walk along the short path between residential houses and a hedge. Step over a stile at the end of the path, to face the main road. Cross the road and turn left, following the pavement until you reach Oldlands Avenue. Turn right down Oldlands Avenue and walk along this quiet residential road on the outskirts of Balcombe.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author jsellars and may not be reproduced without permission.
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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Even on a cold windy day with it trying to snow this was still an excellent walk. We managed it with our 2 children of 5 yrs and one in a all terain pram (a defo no no with a normal pram). Will be doing this one again in the summer.
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