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|Sussex Hospices Trail Part 21: Balcombe to Horsham|
|Author: jsellars, Published: 16 Sep 2016||Walk Rating:|
|West Sussex, Balcombe|
|An 11 mile linear walk from Balcombe rail station to Horsham rail station in West Sussex, forming the 21st stretch of the Sussex Hospices Trail. The route takes in the High Weald Landscape of the Sussex countryside and passes through a changing scenery of working farms, rolling fields and mature woodlands. You will also pass through Nymans ancient woodland, set in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with its magnificent Redwoods and clear lakes. The return leg can be completed with a 30-minute train journey which includes one change. |
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 Hospice 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 well known for its mud and after rain the trail can be heavy going in places. You will need to negotiate a number of stiles, kissing gates, narrow footbridges and short sections of steep steps through some of the woodlands. There are a few road crossings that need care and one section of very busy road at Handcross which has no pavement and needs extra care. The final stretch of the route takes you along the residential outskirts of Horsham. Dogs should have no problem on this walk but take care with them as there may be livestock grazing in the fields. Allow approximately 5 to 6 hours.
Toilets are available at the rail stations at each end and at Nymans where you will also find refreshments at the National Trust cafe. Picnic opportunities can be found at many of the locations on route.
The walk starts at Balcombe rail station car park and ends at Horsham rail station. The two stations are connected by a regular train service but you will need to make one change at Three Bridges station. If you are coming by car there are pay and display car parks at both stations. Approximate postcode for Balcombe rail station RH17 6JQ.
|Start to Bury Wood|
Start point: 51.0553 lat, -0.1371 long
From the road entrance of the station car park, take the clearly signed footpath to the right, away from the main road, heading down a number of steps and through a small copse to reach a stile. Cross over this stile into a small field, walking a short distance to a second stile. Cross this stile, down another short flight of steps to reach a country road. Turn left along the road and then almost immediately on your right you will see a fingerpost and a stile. Cross over the stile and climb steadily along the footpath to reach another stile which leads you into a second field. Walk along the left-hand edge of this second field towards a metal gate at the end, which leads you onto a quiet country road. At this point you will have some great views of the Sussex weald.
|Bury Wood to Nymans|
Start point: 51.0531 lat, -0.1531 long
Cross over the stile and follow along the marked footpath through Bury Wood, down a steep set of steps to reach a narrow footbridge over a stream. Cross over the steam and ascend another set of steps until you reach the woodland edge, bear left and follow the footpath to a country road. Cross the road onto a tarmac driveway with a cottage on your right and pillar gates straight ahead; this is the entrance to Ditton Place. Ditton Place is an impressive Grade II listed building. Built in 1904 by the firm of Cecil Brewer and Dunbar Smith in Neo William and Mary style. The client was A B Horne, the owner of Prudential Insurance, who used the house as a summer residence. The house has now been converted into apartments.
|Nymans to Handcross|
Start point: 51.0485 lat, -0.175 long
Nymans is one of the National Trust's premier gardens, combining tranquil ancient woodland with their magnificent Redwoods, to its rare and unusual plant collection. If you have time, take a visit to the elegant house which reflects the personalities and stories of the original owners, the talented Messel family, from the Countess of Rosse to Oliver Messel and photographer Lord Snowdon. There is a large shop and plant centre, a cafe and a tea garden.
|Handcross to Carterslodge Pond|
Start point: 51.0529 lat, -0.1988 long
From the end of this footpath look right (at about 2’oclock) and you will see a Sussex Ouse Valley Way footpath sign. Head towards this sign by turning right along the pavement and then immediately left along the B2110. Continue along this road until you cross over the busy A23 via a road bridge.
|Carterslodge Pond to St Leonard's Forest|
Start point: 51.0507 lat, -0.2285 long
Walk over the dam wall of Carterslodge Pond and climb steadily up, passing a number of farmhouses and eventually reaching a right-hand bend in the lane. Ignore the bend to the right and instead walk straight ahead onto a marked footpath. Walk along this path with open fields and views on both sides as it begins to drop down towards a gate and a woodland edge. Go through the gate, following the footpath signs to the left and walk down through the woodland to reach a small ford and a footbridge. Cross the ford and head diagonally left across the obvious path through the centre of the field.
|St Leonard's Forest to Motocross Track|
Start point: 51.0591 lat, -0.2642 long
St Leonard's Forest is an 85ha Forestry Commission-owned site just a few miles from the hustle and bustle of Horsham and Crawley. Being a former medieval hunting forest, it wasn’t as densely wooded as it is today. It was once very important for rabbit farming, and was also heavily mined in iron ore to for the local furnaces. It is steeped in cultural history; with the 6th century French hermit, St Leonard, reportedly slaying a fearsome dragon on the site!
|Motocross Track to Hampers Lane|
Start point: 51.0644 lat, -0.275 long
Bearing left through the opening, walk along onto the obvious gravel track and head left, down the track to a metal kissing gate. Go through this, crossing over a gravel lane to a clearly marked footpath which takes you along a path between two lines of deer fencing and into a second open field. Cross this field to reach a small woodland. Follow the path through the woodland until reaching a dilapidated stile and a gate at a junction in the path.
|Hampers Lane to End|
Start point: 51.0642 lat, -0.2879 long
With the entrance to St Leonard's Park House on your right, turn left and walk along the quiet country lane (Hampers Lane), passing a small number of properties, woodland and narrow streams until eventually the lane becomes more residential and you emerge at a crossroads. Go ahead and cross over the road to follow the right-hand pavement. Walk along the pavement to the end then go ahead again, crossing over another road and joining the left-hand pavement and cycle track of Depot Road. You are now on the outskirts of Horsham.
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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