Scaynes Hill - 6 miles
This rural figure-of-eight walk passes by six farms in total. There is a pub at the middle so if you need refreshments you could stop on the way out or the way back (or both). Following part of two well trodden long distance paths; the Sussex Ouse Valley Way and the Sussex Border Path the route takes you over a railway bridge spanning the longest straight stretch of the Bluebell Railway.
|OS Grid Ref||TQ 370 235|
|Post Code||RH17 7NY|
Park at The Common car park in Scaynes Hill. At the entrance to the car park you will find two drives heading in to the trees. Follow the path sign-posted to Yew Tree Cottage. You are now on the Sussex Ouse Valley Way. When you reach the cottage you will see a gate on the right. Follow the footpath, passing between two hedges. The path narrows after a gate and can get very muddy when the weather is wet. A kissing gate at the end of this stretch eventually leads you out into a field.
Cross the field to a gate in the opposite corner. Passing a pond on the left you will emerge on to a field. Looking right you will see a gap in the hedge a few yards away. Walk through the gap and go straight on following the footpath across the field. Continuing along this path, you will pass to the right of a building and reach a style which leads you out onto a road. Turn left at the road and walk past Nash House. Follow the road, curving right, downhill to another house with a collection of outbuildings. Here you will see a footpath sign pointing to the left.
Follow this path, passing though some trees and out on to a field. The footpath leads downhill with views ahead until it plunges you in to another patch of woodland via a kissing gate. Immediately after the kissing gate, follow the path which drops down to your left. At a gate by a small outbuilding turn left and head across a field passing tile-hung Ham House along the way. Cross the stile in the corner of the field and turn right.
Turn left at the road and head down towards the Sloop Inn. Look out for the traction engine in the car park on your left. If you are interested in stopping for refreshments you could drop in now or leave it for the return leg of your journey (in about one hour). Continue along the road and immediately after the second bridge go through a gate in the field to the left of the entrance to Freshfield Mill Farm. Follow the footpath passing to the left of the farm buildings and over a style. A small double-gated wooden bridge is next. You will come to it in a few yards. Cross the bridge into a larger field.
Looking left you will see a railway bridge in the middle distance. You will be crossing this bridge later. Now facing forward, follow the path across the middle of the field passing over a small wooden bridge which spans a ditch at the half way point. Continue to the corner of the field and go through a gate. Immediately turn left and continue until you are funnelled towards a Bluebell Railway bridge. Pass under the bridge and shortly you will emerge at a field. Follow the path round to the left here. If you look back the railway is just visible through a gap in the hedgerow and it’s possible to see a train here if your timing is right.
At the corner of the field look forward in to the next field. Slightly to the right of the gap in the hedge you should see a path heading diagonally across the field towards a clump of trees in the middle distance. When you get here you will see that the clump of trees surrounds an pond. Follow the footpath sign and head towards two large oak trees at the edge of Kings Wood. Follow the main path through the woods, passing the distinctive silvery trunks of a stand of birch trees before you reach the road.
Turn left at the road and walk for about 1/2 mile until you reach Town House. After the house take the footpath at the kissing gate on the left. Follow the footpath downhill to a small wooden bridge over a stream. Once over the bridge turn right and eventually as the path levels out you approach the Bluebell Railway. The bridge over the railway is hidden behind bushes and trees but you will see a path that passes between them and over the bridge. This is the bridge you saw earlier from Freshfield Mill Farm. If you have time you could wait here for a train. You should hear a whistle well before the train comes in to view so in the mean-time you can enjoy the views across the Ouse valley.
When you are ready to move on, walk downhill towards the Freshfield Mill Farm buildings in the middle distance. As you approach a hedge you will see a water trough. Cross the style to the right of the trough and proceed to a road. Turn left and walk along the road until you reach the Sloop Inn again at way point 11. Past the pub, follow the footpath on the right, returning over the style you crossed earlier and into the field by Ham House. Go through the gate and continue forward on the footpath straight ahead. Keep going uphill (doing a little right-then-left dogleg at a footpath sign) until you reach the brick-pillared entrance to a private property. Cross in front of the pillars and follow the path that keeps left of the fence. This path eventually takes you to a small field. Cross the field and continue out on to a road. Turn left. Go past Butterbox Farm , then take the footpath on your right.
The footpath soon makes way to a track, leading away from Butterbox Farm. Continue along this track for about 1/3 mile. Here is another great place to see bluebells, this time cascading down the hillside from the left. Follow the footpath signs as the track ends and walk along the grassy valley floor keeping a small stream on your left. At the next gate turn left and cross the stream. Continue to the next style and go over it into a field. Go straight uphill following the ridge of a tree lined ancient field boundary until you reach the next style.
Cross the style and turn right then left at the edge of the field following the path past outbuildings and on to a road. Follow this road along the route of the Sussex Border Path back to Scaynes Hill, catching views of the South Downs to your left on the way.
At the main road turn right then right again in to Church Road. As you reach Scaynes Hill Common a footpath in front of you will take you back to your car. A bench near the car park is waiting for you in case you need a rest before driving home.
Waypoint Arrival Times – 2021 Timetable