Section 22 Return
Handcross to Balcombe
|OS Explorer 135 Ashdown Forest/ OS Explorer 134 Crawley & Horsham
|5 miles/ 3 hours
|The Red Lion pub in Handcross.
|There is not an easy route back so a little roadwalking is required, take great care, a route is suggested through part of the National Trust access land at Nymans Gardens, these are worth a longer visit. There are hills and many stiles.
With the Red Lion pub behind cross the main road with care and turn right. At each road junction ahead bear left towards Nymans Gardens. Pass a car park on the left. Keep forward on the road verge. On reach a tall hedge on the left look for a path just off the road between two hedges. Follow this along by the road. On reaching a garden gate go back onto the road. Cross over and keep forward in the same direction. Look for a private vehicle entrance going off on the right. Just past it step off the road into National Trust access land. Walk away from the road a short distance then turn left on a feint path through rhododendrons. On reaching a cross track go right a few paces then left on a path to the ‘Wild Garden’.
Walk along this path all the way to the end of the National Trust land. Step over into the field ahead and turn left up to the road. Turn right along the road (it might be possible to stay along the top of the field if there is an unplanted edge). Just before a house on the right turn right through a metal fieldgate and go down close to the hedge on the left with the house behind.
At the corner where the hedge stops bear slightly right and drop down across the field (path was marked through crops) to the left end of trees ahead. At the bottom of the field go through a gap into the corner of the field below. The path bears diagonally left across the centre of this large field to the far opposite bottom corner (If the field is rough going turn left along the edge and down to the corner ).
Leave the field through a gap in the corner. Go up a few paces then turn left over a stile into a corner of the field on the left. Bear diagonally right up, across, then down this large field towards the far opposite corner and the busy road beyond. On nearing the corner bear some metres to the right to where the path exits onto the side of the dual carriageway.
Turn left with great care along the verge as far away from the speeding traffic as possible. Soon turn left down a side road to Staplefield. Keep on along this for ½ mile. Eventually reach a crossroads with a green on the left. Cross to go forward on the road ahead for a short distance. In 10 metres turn right off the road into the corner of a field. Go down this long field with a hedge on the left to the very bottom corner. Here go through a wooden kissing gate and turn left past a pond in a garden area. Soon pass a house on the right and join a concrete drive. Follow this out to a road.
Turn right on the road using the verges for ¼ mile. At the top of a hill turn left off the road on a farm track through a gateway and on downhill. Cross a stream at the bottom and go forward to a field. Bear right up the field edge with a fence on the right. At the end of the fence go through a wooden swing gate into a wood. At the far side pass a house on the right and meet an asphalt drive.
Bear left on this drive and follow it up and around to farm gates. Here turn left up a bank to a wooden swing gate into a field. Turn right along the field edge with a fence on the right. At the end of the field turn right through a wooden swing gate by a wooden fieldgate and keep on along the field edge passing a pond on the left.
At the corner soon reached turn left over a stile into a pasture and go along the top edge with fence and trees on the left. Go through a wooden fieldgate into the next pasture and keep on in the same direction. Leave this field by another wooden fieldgate at the far side. Cross a farm track and go through a wooden fieldgate into the field ahead. Bear left uphill across the corner to a wooden fieldgate in the top hedge. Cross and go straight ahead on a wide farm track towards distant farm buildings. Stay on this track down then uphill. Pass the main farm buildings on the left and go up to a T-junction at the top. Turn right on the entrance drive to the farm and follow it for ½ mile past cottages and out to a road.
Turn left on the road. This soon goes downhill. Where it bends sharp right, bear off left into a field then follow the field edge on the left directly uphill aiming for a distant house at the top. At the top of this first field climb up onto a road. Turn left on this for a few paces then right up a bank into a field. Bear left and once again continue uphill this time keeping right of the house on the hill. At the top of the filed cross a broken stile and go on up to a footbridge and stile into the top field.
Again go on up with the hedge on the left. Keep all the way to the very top of the field and on to the far end of the field. At the end of the field join a gravel track going down into woods and passing a rocky outcrop on the left. Soon meet a cross track. Cross over this and continue downhill on a grassy track. Keep on to the very bottom.
Here cross a footbridge and go up to and through a metal kissing gate into a field. Bear diagonally left up and across the centre of the field to the far opposite top corner at the righthand end of a group of trees (there was no path marked through crops; if it’s not possible to cross field turn left along and up the field edge).
In the top left corner cross a stile into an enclosed path and follow it around to a second stile out to a main road. Cross to the other side and turn left for 20 metres to then turn right up an entrance drive. Stay on this drive past a house on the right then on past the fine Kemp’s House on the left. Having past the house, drop down right to a wicket gate into a narrow enclosed path going downhill to a stile and railway crossing.
Cross, with great care as this is a high speed line, to an enclosed path at the far side. Follow it as it climbs away from the railway to a stile into a field. Go up the field edge with fence and trees on the right. Leave the field at the top corner and go forward to a path running down the side of a brick house to a road.
Cross and go up the concrete road opposite. Where this ends, go forward on an asphalt path passing houses then on along the side of a recreation ground. At the far end continue down to a road and turn left.
At a T-junction at the bottom turn right to return to the Half Moon Inn and the start of the section.