Bluebell Railway Walks
A selection of walks crossing the line
Featuring the High Weald Landscape Trail, Gravetye Manor Estate, West Hoathly village and a view of the South Downs, this walk also follows a good deal of trackside pathway. You will be unlucky not to see a steam train in high season.
|OS Grid Ref||TQ 371 295|
|Post Code||RH17 7BB|
|1||After leaving station turn immediately left|
|2||Follow footpath sign right into field|
|3||Turn left on to road|
|4||Turn right on to footpath at parking spot|
|5||Turn left at footpath crossroads|
|6||Follow sign to Vowels Car Park|
|7||Continue past Home Farm|
|8||Turn left towards Gravetye Manor|
|9a||At gate turn right|
|9b||Take gate labelled Public Footpath|
|10||Veer left downhill on corrugated concrete track|
|11a||Go through gate keeping left|
|11b||At footpath sign go uphill across field|
|12a||At bottom of hill go in to next field|
|12b||Cross style to right in to woodland|
|13a||Climb sandstone steps in to field|
|13b||Through gap in hedge on right and continue uphill|
|14a||Turn right along sunken path|
|14b||Cross road in to North Lane|
|15||Turn left at Cat Inn|
|16||Climb steps on left and turn right|
|17||Cross road and take footpath on left|
|18||Head uphill on road from level crossing|
|19a||Turn right at T junction|
|19b||Turn left on footpath past Sharpthorne Club|
|20||Follow path to kissing gate|
|21a||Keep to left hand hedge|
|21b||Turn left in to hedge|
|21c||Cross field to gate|
|22||Cross bridge in to next field|
|23a||Head toward footpath sign in middle of field|
|23b||Continue uphill to corner of field|
|23c||Cross next field diagonally to gate|
|24||Cross next field diagonally and go through hedgerow|
|25||Keep to right of field and go though gate|
|26||Turn left on to road|
|27||Turn right on to main road|
|28||After 400 yards turn right on to footpath|
|29||Follow path to Horsted House farm Bridge|
|30||In next field continue to level crossing|
|31||Cross railway and turn left|
|31||Follow footpath to Bridge keeping to left of fields|
The map for this walk is littered with waypoints because of the many twists and turns. Start the walk by parking at Horsted Keynes and catch a train to Kingscote. Leave Kingscote station by the ticket office and head across the car park to the road. As you reach the road turn immediately left along a private road. After about one minute the road turns sharp left and you will see a footpath sign pointing across the field to your right. Turn right into the field and follow the footpath to a small road. Turn left here.
Continue along the road, passing a track to Kingscote Cottage, until you reach the far side of a small parking space on the right. A footpath disappears in to the woods here. If you are not sure you are at the right place there is a footpath sign over the other side of the road.
Proceed along the footpath, sandwiched between beech and oak trees, until you are at a footpath crossroads. Following the footpath sign take the path on your left. In a few minutes you will cross a small bridge and start heading uphill. At a couple of direction signs take the path towards Vowels Car Park, climbing the hill through Bushey Wood.
Towards the top of the hill the path widens and veers left. Soon you will come to a barrier where the path joins a more substantial track. Along here you will eventually come to Home Farm. Pass the farm buildings and after a while turn left on the road towards Gravetye Manor. When you reach the gates to Gravetye Manor turn right and head towards the Stable House.
You will see a number of smaller gates here, in front of you and to the left. Take the gate identified by a small Public Footpath sign and walk uphill past the Stable House. Keep going past a rose covered outbuilding and some gates to right and left. Shortly the path swings left and dips downhill as it becomes a corrugated concrete track.
At the bottom of the hill continue along the track as it turns left again. You may get tantalising glimpses of a timber framed building behind the hedge on the left before you come to another gate. Proceed through the gate keeping left and in a few yards you will see a footpath sign on your right pointing uphill. As you start to climb look behind you and Gravetye Manor will begin to appear together with its garden sweeping downwards to a lake at the bottom of the valley.
Keeping to the right of the field follow the hedgerow until you drop down to a gap in the trees that takes you in to the next field. Look out for a style and a footpath sign immediately to your right. Now cross the style and head uphill until you climb two or three sandstone steps and emerge into a field. Continue climbing with the hedge on your right until you reach a gap in the hedge about 10ft wide between some small oak trees. Proceed through the gap and continue uphill, now on the other side of the hedgerow. The path steepens towards the top of the hill and then disappears into the trees. Here you will encounter a sunken path.
Turn right along the path, still heading uphill. Pass through a gate and continue along the path until you come to a road with West Hoathly Garage to your left. Carefully cross the road and go forward in to North Lane. As you proceed, you will pass St Dunstans Chapel and the Village Hall before reaching the Cat Inn and West Hoathly Church. Turn left here and follow the winding road until you come to some steps up a steep bank on your left. Climb the steps and turn right. Passing a clump of trees (planted to commemorate the coronation of King George VI) and a view point (looking to the south) you will find some benches for a well-earned a rest.
Now continue along the path past the car park entrance with allotments on your left until you reach a T junction by Vinols Cross Inn. Cross the main road and take the footpath to the left of the barrier. Keep going all the way to the bottom of the hill, passing houses on the right. At the bottom, you will see Sharpthorne level crossing in front of you. Here, on a bright day, you can see to the end of the tunnel and, of course, with the right timing there will be steam trains.
When you are finished at the level crossing, go back to the road and turn left. This road takes you uphill and over the top of the tunnel. Follow the road to a T junction and turn right past the Organic Cafe. Look out for the Royal British Legion Sharpthorne Club on the left hand side. Immediately after the club turn left and turn left again around the back of the building. Now follow the footpath for several hundred yards with woodland on the right until you reach a kissing gate.
At this point a view of the South Downs paints itself in front of you, punctuated by the spire of the church at Highbrook in the middle distance. Keeping to the left of the field as you start to head downhill the view will begin to fade. Turn left in to the hedge at the next opportunity and head across the field to the right hand corner where there is a gate. Shortly afterwards you will cross a small bridge and style combination to emerge at the next field. Now head towards a footpath sign in the middle of the field. After the sign the path steepens and takes you to the corner of the field.
Cross the style and proceed diagonally across the next field to a gate in a hedge. Now go diagonally again to the corner of this field and again find your way through the hedgerow in to the next field. This time keep to the right as the path curves to the right and reaches a gate. Through the gate, turn left on to a single track road. Pass Claverdale and continue to Broomhall Cottage at the end of the road.
Turn right here and walk along the road for about 400 yards. Look out for a footpath on the right just after an oak tree (and before the road bends out of sight to the left). The path takes you along a drive, past a single storey building and onwards to a style. Now carry on to the left hand corner of the field and over another style. As you walk through the next field look out for the Bluebell Railway train track to the right. After a short while you will reach Horsted House Farm bridge.
From now on the walk has almost unbroken sight of the Bluebell Railway all the way back to Horsted Keynes. When you want to move on from the bridge take the footpath in to the next field and walk downhill to the level crossing. Cross the railway (taking care to stop, look and listen as instructed by the signs) and turn left.
This path closely follows the railway for about a third of a mile. You will be just a few feet away from a train if one comes along here. At the end of the line-side walk the path turns right and leads you through a few small trees to the next field. Keep to the left and in a few yards take the next footpath to the left.
This path leads up to the Leamland Bridge from which you will be able to see all four platforms at Horsted Keynes Station. You are now nearly back to the starting point of your journey. Moving on, cross the bridge and follow the path downhill to the station car park.