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Scaynes Hill circular
1 - Walk northward along Church Road in Scaynes Hill, passing local houses and the village church of St Augustine. On arriving at Vicarage Lane, cross to the narrow strip of grassland of Scaynes Hill Common, once a place where locals grazed their animals, now a protected, pleasant meadow of grasses and wild flowers on which local dogs exercise.
Locate the trodden path ahead that runs parallel to the road for 300 yards, crossing a midway track, and onward to a small car park.
Walk across the car park (information board on the left) and turn left onto a driveway, beneath tree cover. In a few paces, take a right fork, signed for Yew Tree Cottage. Walk ahead on a gravel drive and, with the cottage ahead, bear right, crossing a stile and crossing a narrow, hedge-enclosed grassed strip.
Pass through a gate and continue on an enclosed path, arriving at a meadow, with Nash Farm on the right. Go through a snug kissing gate, taking a half-left line (yellow arrow) across the meadow, heading for the far corner.
At the corner go through a kissing gate into scrub, with a pool on the left, leading to a field. Turn right along the field-edge, pass through a hedge opening, walking ahead on a mown path to the field corner, to cross a stile and descend to a driveway.
2 - Turn left for 50 yards, bearing right on the drive towards the buildings ahead at Pegden. Just before the buildings, turn left onto a path that descends into a gully amongst undergrowth and follow the path, bearing right beside the embankment, to a stile into a sloping meadow.
Take a half-left line across the field, passing by a copse corner and descending to a five-bar gate and stile at the edge of woodland. Just inside the woods is a three-way path sign – take the left turning down through woodland and cross a shallow water-cut channel (do not take the more obvious causeway path going ahead from the sign.)
The path bears right for about 75 yards through the woodland, coming to the edge of a paddock. Turn left along the fenceline, climbing a short, grassy ramp to the edge of a second paddock, with a brick outbuilding ahead. Go left through a gate and walk to the far right corner of the field, crossing a stile and walking right down a driveway to Sloop Lane. The Sloop Inn is a few yards to the left.
3 - Turn right up the road for 75 yards and turn left onto a public footpath along a driveway (signed for Bacon Wish and Field Cottage), onto a track that enters Hammer Wood.
In about 100 yards, with a pole barrier ahead, turn right up through the woodland, climbing for a quarter-of-a-mile to a hilltop meadow.
Pass through a gate and keep direction up the field, heading towards a copse on the right. Just before the end of the copse, after about 100 yards, turn right, passing beneath the trees, then a clearing, to the far side and turning quarter-left along a fenceline.
On passing a hilltop barn, on the left, your curiosity may be aroused. The hill is the site of Kitts Camp, a minimalist campsite, and the barn provides basic facilities for campers (details at www.kittscamp.co.uk).
Where the site’s access track bears right, through a metal gate, keep direction ahead, descending into Lye Wood, following a gully path for 200 yards. On joining a track, keep direction down to Butterbox Lane.
4 - Turn right along the lane for 250 yards, passing Massetts and turning left over a stile amongst hedgerow. Follow the left field-edge, climbing to a stile and continuing in the next field and at a mid-point, bearing half-right towards a mid-hedge field gate – ignore the gate in the far right corner.
Pass through the gate (there is a signpost) and walk to the end of a right hedgeline. Take a line down the field that bears left towards trees, descending to the bottom left corner and a kissing gate.
Walk ahead, crossing a field bridge to a stile on the right. Turn left up the field, noting any cautionary requests about animals in the field, and climb to the ridge-top gate and path junction.
Follow the path ahead, keeping direction, descending through woodland to a meadow in 150 yards. Keep to the edge of the field for a quarter-of-a-mile, with a midway climb and descent, to a field corner and path junction.
Ignore the route ahead (which climbs towards Great Noven Farm) and turn right down the field for about 50 yards, taking a few paces left through an opening and immediately turning right towards woodland.
5 - Enter the woodland on a causeway path in an area shown as Clear Water, the surroundings are a reedy, moist area. Walk to the far side of the causeway and head up the field towards Great Wood.
Follow a track that keeps the trees on the left, north- westerly, and at the field corner in 250 yards take a few paces right and locate a track that descends into woodland, bearing left. At the bottom of the slope, pass across a clearing, walking ahead, bearing slightly right and ignoring a left turn. Pass beneath a line of trees and climb up the hill ahead to arrive at Hammond’s Farm.
Turn left along the twists and turns of Clearwater Lane, passing isolated dwellings, for three-quarters-of-a-mile, to arrive beside the A272 road at Scaynes Hill.
Turn right for a few yards, passing a garage, and back to Church Road, from where the walk began. There are bus stops westward along the main road, or turn right back to your parked vehicle.
- Distance/Time: Four-and-a-half miles, taking two and a quarter hours
- By Car: North off the A272 at Scaynes Hill, roadside parking in Church Road. Start point grid reference TQ368231
- By Public Transport: Hourly bus from centre of Haywards Heath to Scaynes Hill, walk east to Church Road for the start of the walk. Travel details from www.traveline.info, call 0871 2002233
- What’s underfoot: Wealden walking on paths and bridleways across meadows and in woodland, some short climbs and stiles, but generally easygoing walking. Possible with a baby backpack, not possible with a baby buggy
- Thirsty Work: The Sloop Inn at Point 3 and The Inn On The Green at Scaynes Hill
- So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer map 135 plus a compass for general direction