Lindfield, Ardingly and the Bluebell Railway walk (38610)
Today's walk takes place in the area which used to be called Mid Sussex, before the county was divided East/West. Most people only get glimpses of this area as they pass by on the train and, like much of the South East, it is assumed to be over-populated and therefore perhaps not worth visiting. However, only a short distance out of town the countryside sits quietly and unobtrusively, waiting to yield its secrets to those who care to discover them.
This is a glorious place- the rolling hills, woods and valleys of the High Weald, made all the more interesting by our exploring them together. Do come!
The Mid Sussex Times was and remains the local weekly newspaper for this area, printed and published from Haywards Heath. When I grew up, it was still a market town, with a busy animal market every week on a site now occupied by Sainsbury. The iconic oval bus station to the other side of the railway has been replaced by Waitrose. Signs of the times perhaps.
The former market town has long been a very popular and busy commuter location. It has been developing rapidly for years, but with the construction of the A272 bypass the construction seems to have accelerated. It is also close to the A/M23 and its fast rail link includes Gatwick Airport only three stops away. It is also where trains from far to the East and West converge on the route from Brighton towards London.
There are two very attractive satellite places around this town, Cuckfield to the West and the larger Lindfield to the East. While the former is still separated by a strip of countryside, the latter is pretty much integrated but retains its villagey feel perhaps due to its very pretty high street and village pond.
Our walk will take us to Horsted Keynes which is not far from Ashdown Forest, Ardingly reservoir, the Bluebell Railway and Lindfield.
This walk goes to the North and then a bit East of the town. We shall start by heading out towards Ardingly, which is where the South of England show, among others, is held. However, we shall stop briefly at Ardingly reservoir, South of the village and then head due East through the grounds of Ardingly College where I was educated (apparently!) and across fabulous countryside towards Horsted Keynes, crossing the Bluebell Railway line en route.
A brief stop in the village pub perhaps and then South and West, crossing the railway again as we head back towards the very picturesque and, now, probably very expensive village of Lindfield. With its Christmassy atmosphere and lovely environment, we may find ourselves tempted to stop again. It won't matter; it is easy to walk back from there, in suburbia, in the dark. Alternatively there is another pub right by the station.
What to bring
We will be walking in potentially muddy, wet and cold countryside in the depths of Winter. Good boots, waterproofs etc are essential.
For your comfort and safety please be prepared for the anticipated weather and the terrain of the walk - keep in mind the following:
Boots: Hiking boots that are both waterproof and breathable, and provide good ankle support, are important as soon as you encounter any mud. Cross trainers may suffice in good weather and flat routes.
Socks: Proper walking socks keep your feet dry, and help prevent blisters.
Walking Trousers: (ideally water resistant) will be more comfortable than Jeans which are heavy and cold when wet. From April to October shorts are usually a better bet.
Waterproof Over-Trousers: essential in any significant rainfall. Breathable ones are best.
Layered clothing: allows you to quickly adapt to changes in the weather as well as body temperature. E.g. a base layer or a cotton T-Shirt; a mid layer like a micro fleece, or a rugby type thick shirt, and in cooler weather an outer layer consisting of a windproof jacket or a thick fleece.
Waterproof Jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather. You get what you pay for with these. Breathable fabrics are advisable.
Hat: essential both in mid winter to preserve heat and in summer to prevent sunburn and heatstroke.
Gloves: essential in frosty weather.
Small Rucksack: One that is comfortable to wear is essential so that you can use your arms freely. Place valuables in water proof bags inside.
Sunglassses: April- Sept: comfortable sunglasses enhance your pleasure and keep insects out of the eye
Water: even in winter one can loose a litre or more of fluid by perspiration. If you fail to make this up you'll get dehydrated which can lead to headaches and other problems. A hydration bladder is easier to use than bottled water, but higher maintenance.
Food: a packed lunch will be required unless otherwise stated. In addition carry energy bars or similar to counter 'sugar lows'.
Medicines: If you have allergies, are diabetic, or have minor ailments don't forget these!
Food & Drink
Please bring a packed lunch and all the drinks you will need.
Meeting & Times
Is this your first ever event?
The idea of meeting up with a group of complete strangers to be taken for a long walk on an unknown route through unfamiliar countryside can be daunting for some, but hopefully the following helpful guideline will set your mind at rest:
- Event Reference No: