East Meets West (Sussex)
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After leaving the town centre we’ll join the High Weald Landscape trail around the town’s perimeter, southwards towards Standen House, an Arts and Crafts house now owned by the National Trust. Soon afterwards we’ll catch our first glimpses of the reservoir as we head downhill into the valley. Weir Wood Reservoir was created in the 1950s by damming the river Medway to provide a water supply for nearby towns. The reservoir straddles the prime meridian, 0° longitude, and its northern shore delineates East and West Sussex.
Following this we will take a small detour to admire Stone Farm Rocks, a series of sandstone crags that are perched high above the reservoir and provide a fine view of the Ashdown Forest beyond. Soon after crossing the county border into East Sussex we will stop for lunch at Weir Wood Nature Reserve with a fine view across the water. Making our way along lanes and then across farmland, with glimpses of the reservoir, and farm tracks towards the cupola topped towers that are the ruins of Jacobean Brambletye House.
Shortly after this we will join the former railway line at Brambletye Crossing to take us back to East Grinstead; this route would once have extended the line to Tunbridge Wells. This well-maintained path has some elevated sections that provide some fine views over the surrounding countryside – it’s also mud free!
There are some handsome buildings on the route back into the town centre, and several pub options leading up to the railway station and our starting, and finishing, point.
What to bring
Water: bring at least two litres
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Day rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, they are comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely
Boots: waterproof and breathable and designed for hiking, trainers are OK if the ground is dry and there’s little chance of rain
Gaiters: recommended for wet weather or boggy conditions
Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: ideally no jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Gloves: Windproof, or better still, waterproof gloves are the best choice, bring a spare pair if expecting rain
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Lunch: bring a packed lunch unless otherwise stated
Food & drink
You will need a packed lunch, and plenty of water and snacks to see you through the day; there are no shops or pubs en route. We will stop for a picnic lunch at a suitably scenic spot; for your own comfort you may wish to bring something to sit on.