Section 22 Out
Balcombe to Handcross
|OS Explorer 135 Ashdown Forest/ OS Explorer 134 Crawley & Horsham
|4 miles/ 2 hours
|The Half Moon Inn in Balcombe village.
|Hilly terrain with some steep climbs, excellent woodland section but many stiles, good views, mostly pasture with livestock, Nymans Gardens are open to the public.
With the main entrance of the Half Moon Inn on the right, walk the few paces up to the crossroads in the centre of Balcombe. Turn right and walk away from the centre passing the side of the inn on the right. Keep down the road to a junction by a green with a school opposite.
Cross over to the school then turn right along the main road. In 10 metres turn left off the road on a tarmac entrance to a garden. Drop down with a hedge on the left to a gap at the corner and then go on downhill on a green track through trees. This soon emerges onto a private road.
Turn right along the road. Soon cross the railway and keep on for ¼ mile. As the road starts a long left bend, look for a footpath off on the right into woods. Soon reach and cross a stile into a field. Go forward across the field to the far right corner. Leave the field through a rough wooden fieldgate and go forward on a drive, passing a pond on the right and then cottages. Soon walk through Westup Farm. On reaching a barn dead ahead, turn right on a broad farm track and follow it up and left, out of the farm and on between fields for some way.
On reaching a wood the track divides, bear slightly left down through the wood, to emerge at the top of a field. Here turn right and follow the field edge with woods on the right for some distance. Pass an excavated pond on the right and keep on along the field edge, down then up, right to the far end. Find a stile in the corner by a small pond.
Cross and bear right to continue forward still with a hedge on the right. At the next corner go over a stile into woods. Go steeply downhill to meet a grassy forest track. Turn left on this a few paces, then right on a narrow footpath going down a steep bank. Descend into a dark ravine to cross a footbridge. Climb up the far side following a path winding through pinewoods.
At the top turn left on a forest track, then immediately right on a path going through trees to emerge onto a road. Turn left a few paces, then right into the drive of Ditton Place. Go up the drive to just before the impressive house itself. Just before bear left, still on the asphalt drive. This soon changes to concrete then gravel. Just before Jarretts Farm ahead, bear right over a stile into a field and walk along with a fence on the left passing the farm on the left. At the bottom of the field go over a stile by a wooden barrier and down through woods to a footbridge. Cross and continue up through the woods to reach the top and turn left along a pleasant path along the top of the wood. Reach a stile by a wooden fieldgate.
Cross into a field and bear diagonally right across to a metal fieldgate in the far opposite corner. Go through this and immediately turn right to go along by the hedge on the right. At the corner ahead ignore the first metal fieldgate on the right and go through the one immediately ahead. Keep on across the next field to a wicket gate leading to a concrete drive.
Turn left down this and soon reach a T-junction with another concrete drive. Turn right up this for a few paces then left through a green metal fieldgate. Go downhill on a broad grassy track. Follow the fence on the right to a footbridge and stile into a field. Go ahead with a fence and trees on the right to wards chimneys ahead.
Where the fence and trees stop keep forward to pass the house on the right and go on to reach a stile with steps beyond leading into a steep wooded valley. Cross a long boardwalk and then a footbridge onto a forest track by the end of a lake. Turn right on this track.
Walk along with the lake edge on the right. Halfway along, at a Y-fork, bear left uphill away from the lake. Follow this track for ¼ mile ignoring all side turnings. Having crossed a small stream, the track climbs to a Y-fork. Bear left uphill (there is a fingerpost here). Climb steeply for some way ascending two flights of steps and crossing a farm track midway.
At the top pass a car park on the left and emerge onto a road in Handcross with the Red Lion pub opposite and the end of the section.