Section 25 Out
The old Royal Oak (at Friday Street near Rusper) to Oakwoodhill
|OS Explorer 134 Crawley & Horsham
|5 miles/ 3 hours
|Friday Street, near Rusper, and the site of the former Royal Oak pub. Limited parking.
|Sadly the Royal Oak pub in Friday Street is now closed, but from here there is an excellent and varied day of walking with constant changes of direction and views. Some wonderful farm houses and tranquil woodland paths. A short section of the A24 needs special care and the whole walk contains many stiles, some broken and some very high, as well as many footbridges. After rain stiles and footbridges become very slippery and extra care should be taken.
With the Royal Oak on the left, walk downhill a short distance. Opposite the pub car park entrance, turn right up a gravel drive to Little Benham’s Cottage. Soon leave the drive and go by a wooden fieldgate into a field. Go ahead along the fence on the left and in the next field continue to follow the fence to a gap in the trees ahead.
Ignore the Sussex Border Path going off right and turn left over a footbridge and through a wooden swing gate into a pasture. Bear sharp right to a further swing gate. Through this turn left in the field and go along the edge with trees and bushes on the left. At the bottom corner of the field, go left into a wood. Cross a long footbridge into a field (watch for wire on the ground). Go up the field with a hedge on the left to a railway at the top. Here turn right along to a stile and over it cross the railway with care.
At the far side go straight up the field with a fence and trees on the right. At the top at an open grassy area, bear right towards a distant house then slightly left to follow a line of trees and bushes on the left. Join a gravel farm track up to a metal fieldgate. Do not cross but turn left over a stile into a field. Turn right up the edge and soon come to a stile in the fence on the right.
Cross and go up an enclosed path to a second stile. Cross and go on up a wide grassy way. At the top cross a gravel track and go straight on to a broken stile out to the very busy A24 main road.
Turn right along the road for 150 metres. There is a verge but it is narrow and the traffic travels at great speed. Do not walk in the road.
On reaching a drive entrance on the right, cross over the road to a stile in the hedge opposite. Enter a field and cross straight over to a metal fieldgate the other side. Through this, go on with a hedge on the right. At the far end pass a metal fieldgate on the right and go on to another one between a water trough and a stream. Go through and on across to a double metal fieldgate. Through this continue up a grassy track to another fieldgate ahead into a farmyard. Look left to a splendid house called ‘Bonnetts. Cross the farmyard to double wooden fieldgates and reach a concrete drive. Cross over this (ignore path going off right) and go straight ahead with a hedge and barn on the left. Meet a field ahead.
Go straight across this field heading for trees jutting out into the field. Pass these and go on to a short hedge. Continue forward along the field edge with the hedge on the right. Go down to a wood. Leave the field at the bottom corner and enter the wood over a stile. Bear right to a footbridge and go up a narrow valley with a stream on the left and a house above. Soon cross the stream and bear left up steps to follow a path enclosed between fences alongside a horse paddock.
Pass stables to reach a concrete drive. Turn left and follow this past farm buildings (another splendid farmhouse). Leave the buildings and keep on along a broad grassy track between hedges. On meeting a concrete drive bear left and right to continue in the same direction. On reaching Holbrook Farm, weave left around ponds then right to pass through farm buildings keeping on the concrete track.
At the far side cross to a wide grassy way between hedges. At a Y-fork keep left upto a metal fieldgate. At the gate turn right on a path along the field edge between a fence and woods on the right. At the bottom corner go steeply down in woods to a bridge and then steeply up, to emerge onto a road. Cross the road and continue forward up Waley’s Lane. On reaching wooden fieldgate with pond beyond, go through a gap by the side onto a rough track.
Turn right on this and follow it as it passes buildings on the left and continues along between hedges. On reaching another pond on the left, turn left (ignore a path of right) to pass farm buildings. Stay on the main vehicle track as it weaves around buildings. Do not enter any fields. Notice impressive house on left.
Having left all the buildings the farm track goes on between hedges. Drop down to cross a stream then go up. At a bend bear left then on around right to pass through farm buildings. At a crossing of tracks go straight ahead on a slightly rougher gravel track. This soon reaches the main A29 road.
Cross the road with care and go forward onto a private gravel drive to Middle Lodge. Pass the lodge and bear left on an attractive tree lined drive for a good way. On reaching a gate with secluded lodge beyond, turn left on an enclosed path with a garden fence on the right.
At the end, go through a metal swing gate onto a farm track. Turn right passing a house on the left and go down to a metal fieldgate. Go through and down then up to a stile by a metal fieldgate, into a field ahead. Ignore a bridleway off right and a path going straight across the field. Instead turn left along the edge of the field. At the end of the field, cross a stile and footbridge into the top edge of a steeply sloping field. Go straight ahead with a fence on the right. Keep on for some way then gradually down to the far end of the field.
Exit into a corner of woodland and turn right on a wide rough farm track. Climb up to a rough pasture and keep along by a fence on the right. At the far end cross a stile by a wooden swing gate into a wood. 10 metres into the wood meet a broad path. Turn left on it. In a further 10 metres turn left again.
Cross a ditch, then, just past a holly bush, reach a cross path. Turn left on this. At a clearing keep straight on and drop down through a boggy patch, not improved by horses. Follow the path up then down to a road. Turn right on the road, uphill. At the top at a junction bear right to soon reach the Punchbowl Inn at Oakwoodhill and the end of the section.