The essentials

Distance/time: 7 miles / 3-3.5 hours.

Public transport:

Metro Bus bus no. 270 (Brighton-Crawley) stops in Forest Row at stop called ‘Brambletye Hotel’ on the A22 about 400 yards from the start.

Metro Bus bus no. 291 (Crawley-Tunbridge Wells) stops in Forest Row at stop called ‘Upper Close’ at the start point.

Car: Car parking at the Forest Row Community Centre. Also Station Road car park and local residential roads (check permissions).

Underfoot: Could be muddy across fields and farm tracks. Generally flat with a few gradual ups and downs. Some rights of way are not currently accessible so follow the more obvious alternatives as indicated in the text. Beware of cattle near the Forest Way and on your return.

Thirsty work: Several pubs and eateries in Forest Row. Tablehurst Farm has a shop and café.

NOTE: Always follow the Countryside Code when exploring the great outdoors: Keep a dog under close control or on a lead if signs indicate.

Maps: OS Explorer 135


1. Start in front of Forest Row Community Centre on Hartfield Road (B2110). With your back to the Community Centre turn right along Hartfield Road and after 500 yards and the small park on your left, look out for a footpath sign on your left, between house nos. 71 and 72. Turn left here, emerge onto Medway Drive and continue straight over to pass to the left of allotments. Proceed to a footbridge and steps leading up to the Forest Way path. Cross over and just slightly over to the left take steps down to a stile into a field. Keep right and follow the hedgerow to a footbridge over the River Medway. Then aim for a footbridge 100 yards opposite. Make your way up to the car park of Tablehurst Farm and turn left towards the farm shop, then turn right just before it. Take the footpath uphill, go through the gate ahead and continue upwards on a track between fields. In 450 yards enter tree cover with a wooden cabin on your left called ‘Pericles’. Turn right.

2. In only a few yards do not follow the main vehicle track into the wood but veer right towards double gates and follow the outside of a fence on your right. In 80 yards go through a gate and keep left. At the field corner go left through a gate. You enter a clearing – walk towards the trees ahead and as you get closer follow a narrow footpath off to the left in-between the edge of the trees and a fence, uphill for about 300 yards. At a T-junction turn right and go through a gate. Bear left uphill towards a bench. Just beyond, go over a stile and turn right. Walk towards the electricity pylon, stay to the left of it, picking up a path that veers left away from it up a bank with trees on your right and a field on your left. Make your way towards a telecom tower. Go over a stile on its left. Turn left and soon go over another stile to come out onto Cansiron Lane. Between the main road ahead and a bridleway to the right find a stile diagonally right into a field and follow a footpath diagonally across it, joining the High Weald Landscape Trail. Once on the other side at the far left corner go through a gate. Now continue straight, into the middle of the open field and descend towards the woodland edge to a stile.

3. Follow the main path through the wood for 300 yards, emerge and continue, keeping close to trees on your left and a field on your right. Go through a gap in the hedgerow into the next field and keep left. Go into the next field through a similar gap, keeping left. In 300 yards go over a stile and enter the grounds of St. Ives campsite going round the left of a lake. Do not go right around it as the official right of way is straight on across the field beyond where in 420 yards it comes out onto a road (or there is a farm track on the far right -hand side of this field which may be used). Go straight across the road over a stile with an unusual built-in high door and veer diagonally left. At the other side pass through a gate with a lake on the left. Start walking diagonally right across the next field, gradually downwards. In the opposite field corner go right over a stile, to leave the High Weald Landscape Trail.

4. Soon start veering right to find another stile near the bottom. Follow the path to the left of a bank, over which is a small lake, and on to a stile. Walk straight across the next field and across a wooden platform into woodland. The official path is roughly straight ahead towards the end of the hedgerow on the right but the route is not clear so you could take a path that goes right and then left along the hedgerow. After 250 yards at the corner, turn left and in 50 yards find a gate in the bushes, go up a bank to a track, turn right to the house and left in front of it, with a river on your left. Continue, out over wooden planks into open fields and keep left along the edge. Enter the next field, turn left, follow the left edge all the way around, staying in this field, following the edge as it leaves the field onto a track and becomes a road. Soon at a bend, follow the road left through Ashdown Farm.

5. Now you are skirting around Ashdown House, a leading prep school where US-born politician Boris Johnson once studied. The architect of Ashdown House Benjamin Latrobe designed the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. In 600 yards turn right back on yourself on another lane. In 200 yards take a footpath left along the side of the field you have been passing on your left, which leads to a road. Turn left. In 50 yards turn right over a stile and keep left downhill. Exit the field and immediately go right along a farm track which you can follow back to the car park at Tablehurst Farm (official path on the approach to the car park is in the field on the left, obstructed by a fence). At the car park turn left to re-trace your steps: through the fields, back over the Forest Way to the B2110 where you turn right to make your way back to the Community Centre.