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Bluebell Railway Walks

A selection of walks crossing the line


9 miles

This walk begins with nearly half a mile of waterside scenery before taking of across the hills of the High Weald to Horsed Keynes Station. Village churches and views to the South Downs along the way combine with the longest stretch of path along the railway to provide a memorable day out in the Sussex countryside.

Start Location
OS Grid RefTQ 335 286
GPS Latitude51.042131
GPS Longitude-0.096887
Post CodeRH17 6SQ
Ardingly Map
1Walk to top of dam
2Go through gate on right side of reservoir
3Continue along reservoir ignoring footpath on right
4Take the footpath on the right
5At farm buildings take track straight ahead
6At church turn right then left after cottages
7Turn right onto wide road
8Turn left at main road
9Cross road and take bridleway after Alderwood Cottages
10After 50 yards bear left
11Take footpath on right
12Cross bridge over stream
13Go left uphill across field
14Turn right onto lane
15As road goes right continue straight on
16Take footpath on left
17Opposite barn take footpath on left then turn right
18Cross bridge
19Go up to right hand corner of field
20Go through gate and through farmyard
21Turn left onto road through Highbrook
22Turn right at church
23Go through gate and continue downhill
24Cross bridge
25Follow footpath to railway
26Turn right at the level crossing
27Continue on path to bridge
28Cross bridge and continue to station
29Go past station entrance
30Turn right onto road
31Take footpath on right
32Follow footpath into woods
33Continue through gardens to road
34Turn right then left onto footpath
35Go past cricket pavilion
36Go through gate then straight on downhill
37Cross brick bridge
38Continue uphill past house
39Turn right onto High Street
40Turn left into South of England Showground
41Take footpath back to Saint Peters Church and road back towards Townhouse Farm
42At farm bear left and walk downill towards reservoir
43Turn left and return to car park


Ardingly Reservoir

1 From the right hand side of the car park, walk towards the top of the dam. 2 Go through the gate on the right hand side of the reservoir. Initally the path heads into woodland but then descends again towards the water. 3 Ignore the first footpath on the right. You will later be returning by this route.

Keep following the path along the reservoir. Often, the water level is high during late winter and spring but can drop substantially in the summer months when demand for water is high. The photograph shows the reservoir in early May. After about ⅓ mile look out for another footpath on the right. 4Take the footpath and follow it uphill.

5 When you reach outbuildings at Town House Farm, take the track straight ahead. Passing to the right of the farm, follow the road all the way to Saint Peters Church, ignoring all the footpaths on the left and right. Saint Peters Church Ardingly 6 Turn right at Saint Peters Church and then take the footpath on the left by the “Street Lane” sign. 7 Go through a gate and turn right onto a wide road which passes through the South of England Showground.

8 Turn left onto the main road. 9 Cross the road opposite Alderwood Cottages. Just after the cottages follow the bridleway downhill. 10 After 50 yards, bear left just as you emerge into woodland. Follow this path for ½ mile. The path here is full of wild garlic, ferns and bluebells in spring.

11 When the footpath widens onto a farm track take the footpath on the right which leads you further downhill into woodland. 12 Cross the bridge over a bubbling stream and start climbing again. 13 When you leave the woods, go left uphill across the field and continue all the way up to Hook Lane. 14 Turn right onto the lane.

Sunken Lane to Holly Farm

15 As the lane turns right (downhill) go straight on towards Pickeridge Cottage and Holly Farm, passing Bellows Nose on the way. 16 Turn left past Old Holly Cottage and Holly Farmhouse. 17 Opposite a barn, cross the style on the left and turn right, following the edge of the field all the way to the bottom of the hill.

18 Cross the bridge over the stream and soon you will come to a field. 19 Cross the middle of the field towards the right hand corner at the top of the hill. Pace yourselves here, the last part of the hill is surprisingly steep! 20 Go through the gate and continue to follow the track through the farmyard and onwards to Hammingden Lane. 21 Turn left onto the road. You are now in the village of Highbrook.

22 At All Saints Church turn right, pass the round brick building of Highbrook Smokery, and follow the track downhill. 23 Go through a gate and out into the field. From here you look out over the Wealden landscape and should be able to see the Bluebell Railway in the distance. Now follow the path down the hill, all the way to a stream at the bottom.

All Saints Church, Highbrook

24 Cross the bridge and continue onwards into to a field. 25 Cross this field and another one, following the footpath all the way to the Bluebell Railway. Here you will find a level crossing. This is a good place to wait to see a train if you have time but please stay well away from the track.

26 Turn right at the level crossing and follow the footpath along the side of the railway track. 27 Eventually the path leaves the railway but when you continue along this path it will take you back over a railway bridge where you can see Horsted Keynes station. 28 Press on over the bridge and follow the path to the railway station. Perhaps take a break here and buy a platform ticket so that you can relax for a while or explore the station.

29 Leave the station buildings and head towards the road. 30 Turn right onto the road, eventually passing a double bend (which used to pass beneath a railway bridge under the now-dismantled Ardingly Spur). 31 Take a footpath on the right and follow it gently uphill across the field. 32 Follow the footpath ahead into the woodland plantation of Orchard Wood.

Train From Horsted Keynes

33 Emerging from the trees after about ¼ mile your view expands across a small but deep valley. The path ahead now descends steeply into the grounds of Ham Cottage. Continue through the garden but be sure to keep to the footpath until you come to a road. 34 At the road, turn right and then immediately left taking the footpath which now passes along the edge of a vineyard.

35 At the end of the footpath, go through the gate and out onto a cricket field. Then walk past the front of the pavilion to a kissing gate. 36 Once through the gate go straight on downhill. 37 Cross a brick bridge and continue uphill 38 Half way up the hill there is a house called Withyland. Continue uphill past the house until you reach the High Street at Ardingly. 39 At the road, turn right.

40 As you head out of Ardingly, cross the High Street and take the footpath/road on the left back into the South of England Showground. Angler's Gate, Ardingly Reservoir

41 Follow the footpath on the left back to Saint Peters Church and walk all the way back to Townhouse Farm. 42 Bear left and follow the path downhill towards the reservoir. 43 Turn left at the reservoir and follow the path back to your car.

Over to the far side of the dam, towards the boats and canoes, the Black Hut Café is open at weekends and school summer holidays (in case you need refreshment). Please check the website at Ardingly Activity Centre for opening times. 44

Waypoint Arrival Times - 2019 Timetable

Ardingly Walk Arrival Times