Section 21 Return
Balcombe to Ardingly
|OS Explorer 135 Ashdown Forest
|4 miles/ 2 hours
|The Half Moon pub in Balcombe.
|A short but sometimes tricky walk with much water in evidence. Most of the paths are along the edge of the Ardingly Reservoir, one a feint fisherman's track. Take great care, especially in wet weather.
With the Half Moon pub on the left walk back down past the village stores away from the main road, back the way of the outward route. Pass between houses and reach a metal fieldgate and metal kissing gate on the left. Do not go through but keep on down the main gravel track through a metal kissing gate by a gate across the track and on down to the bottom of the hill.
Where the track swings right turn off left through a gap into a cricket field. Bear left with a hedge on the left across the end of the cricket ground to another gap onto an enclosed path. This soon emerges through a gate into afield. Turn right along the top edge of the field with trees and bushes on the right. Drop down to a metal swing gate leading to a footbridge and cross to the field beyond. Bear left up the field to a stile onto a road. Turn left down the road. Ignore a turning off left and stay on the road as it swings right. Soon turn right off the road on a bridleway going up into woods. Follow it around left and downhill. Leave the woods through a metal swing gate into a field. Turn sharp left a few paces then left again to re enter the woods through a wooden kissing gate. Go down a long flight of steps to a road.
Turn right on the road to pass Balcombe Mill and cross the top edge of Ardingly Reservoir. Follow the crash barrier on the right. As soon as it finishes climb up right on a narrow path alongside the road. This soon swings into woods then drops down by the water. This is basically a fisherman’s path and is narrow and winding. Follow it along the water’s edge for some way to emerge through a gate onto a wide track.
This is a dedicated walk called the Kingfisher Trail. Turn right to follow the trail for nearly 1 ½ miles with the reservoir still down on the right.
At the end emerge onto a road. Turn right on the road over a causeway. At the end turn right off the road on a path which returns to the water’s edge. Keep along for a good way. Ignore the first footpath going off left. After some way, with a yacht club over on the right, turn left over a stile by a wooden fieldgate. Go up the edge of the field ahead. Go through a gap into a field beyond and keep on up in the same direction across the middle of the field.
Go on along by trees on the right and leave the field through a gateway to a meeting of tracks by farm buildings. Go straight across and continue up on a gravel track. This soon becomes a private road between detached houses.
Keep on for ¼ mile to reach Ardingly Church. Turn right on the road here and follow it back to the Ardingly Inn and the start of the section.