Horsted Keynes Village - 4 miles
Starting from the historic village of Horsted Keynes this walk winds towards a bridge over the Bluebell Railway. Becoming increasingly rural as it goes, the walk eventually turns back along the West Sussex Border Path and delivers you back to Horsted Keynes Village (and a choice of pubs).
|OS Grid Ref
|TQ 383 281
Horsted Keynes Village lies about 3/4 of a mile south east of the Bluebell Railway station. Park in the recreation ground car park (or nearby if it is full) and make your way to the white direction sign shown in the photo. Cross the road here and head downhill in the direction of the church spire.
Along the way you will pass the gates to the old rectory and a number of cottages before you reach St Giles Church. Some parts of the church predate the 12th century and former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan is buried here. Follow the road/bridlepath to the left of the church and after about 150 yards take the footpath on the left just opposite some school buildings. Proceed downhill through Mill Wood and at the bottom of the hill you will discover a beautiful 17th century timber framed house (The Old Mill House).
Snaking past the house and its timbered barn you will now be on a track heading away from the buildings. As a lake appears on the right there will be a footpath sign pointing in four directions. Keep straight on, heading away from the lake and proceeding along the track until you come to Waterberry Barn, a black corrugated building on stilts.
Turn right on to the road then take the footpath on the left, crossing a stile at the edge of a concrete farm track. Follow the direction pointed by the footpath sign, diagonally upwards across the field (sometimes it is not easy to see a clear path across the field but all will be revealed when you get to the top). As you climb, a view gradually opens up on your left until you get a glimpse of the distant South Downs. Carry on to a style in the top corner of the field.
Turning right on a track takes you into the farmyard at Little Oddynes Farm. Here you will experience a modest working farm at close quarters with scattered farm equipment and outbuildings. As soon as you have passed the side of a tile-clad farm house on your left, immediately turn left. Just after the farm house you should see a sign saying “TO NOBLES”. This route, recommended by the farmer, avoids the official footpath which takes you further into the farmyard where it can get very messy with cows and mud. Proceed to the next field and continue with a hedge on your right.
You will soon reach a bridge over the Bluebell Railway. To the south is a straight stretch of line and to the north the track curves round to the right. Horsted Keynes station is just out of sight around the bend so if you have a Bluebell Railway timetable, the arrival and departure times from Horsted Keynes station will tell you roughly when a train will reach the bridge.
Continue over the bridge, and continue to a style/gate in the corner of the field. Instead of proceeding into the next field, turn left (without crossing the style/gate) keeping in the same field and with the hedge still on your right. Shortly after you begin to head downhill again a style appears within the hedge on your right. Cross the style and continue downhill on a track heading away from the house.
As the path winds up and and around the bend you will see another bridge over the railway behind the hedge. Sadly this bridge is not accessible but a little further along the track there is a point where you are only a few feet from the track (although it is sometimes difficult to see it behind the hedge). Here, looking back along the track (if the hedge is not too high), you will see the bridge you just passed (as shown in the photo). Please make sure you stay behind the fence.
Now make your way down to the road and turn left. After about 100 yards, under a large oak tree, you will see a footpath sign pointing to the right across the road. Follow this path and after a short, sometimes muddy, stretch you will find yourself at the next field.
Cross the field. As a farm track approaches your path you will see a coiled electric fence leading to a track. Using the insulated grip on the left, unhook the coil and pass through onto the track. Take care as the coil is like a spring and pulls quite strongly. Please remember to re-hook it after you and avoid touching the coil.
Now heading uphill again the path becomes very wide before you encounter some buildings at Keysford. Bear left here, following the the fence towards a gate under a tree. Pass through the gate and then walk anticlockwise around the edge of the field until you find another gate and a path that takes you out on to the road. Turn left onto the road.
Passing a few houses along the way, after about 100 yards of walking along the road you will see a footpath on the right through a gate. Follow the footpath into a field and continue downhill until you are plunged in to Sandpits Wood.
Cross a style and some planks over a stream and head uphill on a sunken path. Further on, a double-planked causway lifts you over a muddy stretch. Keep going until you reach another path. If the bluebells are in season it is worth taking a small detour along the path to your right. This takes you through some Beech woodlands where the ground will be carpeted with flowers.
Return to way point 18 or just turn left if you did not take the detour. You are now walking back to Horsted Keynes along the West Sussex Border Path. Half way along this section there is the option of taking a footpath straight on or to the left. Both paths are about the same length and join later on. Continue along the (now tarmac) road until you reach a crossroad.
At this point you will see the Wyatts Lane sign on the left (this is the lane you were just walking along). Take the road in front of you and continue between the houses until you reach the white direction sign where you began your journey.
Waypoint Arrival Times
(1) Go to the Bluebell Railway Timetable and look up the nearest departure times from Sheffield Park
(2) Add the extra time for the trains to arrive at your waypoint from the table below
(3) Repeat for the trains from East Grinstead
|Time taken for trains to arrive from Sheffield Park
|Time taken for trains to arrive from East Grinstead
|Little Oddynes Farm Bridge
|Nobles Farm Track