Trains, boats and plains - West Sussex circular

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Lowland and Hill Walks
Sep 10
2022

23 people attending

7 places left

Your price
£12.50
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Easy Moderate Very Hard
11 miles (17.7km) mainly footpaths and country lanes. A couple of climbs at the start, mid and end of the walk. Total ascent: 353 m

This leisurely walk around the West Sussex countryside is a favorite of mine, taking in a varied landscape and some pretty villages. The icing on the cake has to be the magnificent Ouse Valley Viaduct, where we'll stop for photos and time to admire this architectural masterpiece. Towards the end of the walk, we'll navigate around the Ardingly Reservoir before returning to Balcombe. 

Lunch and refreshments 
We'll stop for lunch on the village green in the charming village of Staplefield, where you'll find the Victory Inn pub for a mid-walk beverage. In the afternoon after the viaduct, we'll stop at the Ardingly Reservoir for tea, coffee, or ice creams. At the end of the walk, the Half Moon Pub is located about a 5-minute walk from Balcombe Station for those who fancy an end-of-walk tipple. 

The route (please click the link in red to see the route at the Ordnance Survey website)

Points of interest

Balcombe 
St Mary's Church is Balcombe's parish Church originally built in the late 13th or early 14th century. The church was rebuilt in 1847–50, and again in 1872–72. Balcombe was used as the location for Arthur Dent's house in the first episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in May 1980.

Staplefield 
The Anglican parish church built in 1847 is dedicated to St. Mark and contains wall paintings by the Victorian stained glass designer Charles Eamer Kempe. In 1994, Reverend Anthony Freeman, vicar of St Mark's was dismissed by the Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, when he stated that he didn't believe in God. 

Ouse Valley Viaduct 
South of Balcombe on the London to Brighton railway line is the Ouse Valley Viaduct. Designed and engineered by John Urpeth Rastrick (1780–1856) in consultation with the architect David Mocatta, it was completed in 1842. It is 100 feet (30 m) high and 500 yards long. It has 37 arches and was built with 11 million imported Dutch bricks delivered along The River Ouse which was once navigable from the south coast to Balcombe.

Ardingly Reservoir
The reservoir feeds the River Ouse and was created in 1978 by damming Shell Brook, a tributary of the River Ouse which flows into the Ouse about 500m south of the reservoir. The Ardingly Activity Centre provides watersports including windsurfing, kayaking, powerboating, paddle boarding and dinghy sailing. The reservoir is also used by Ardingly Rowing Club.

Dogs:

Dogs are welcome but please note and abide by the Countryside Code (https://tinyurl.com/rlqvp3h) and be prepared for a couple of stiles/hills on the walk. Please also remember not everyone loves dogs as much as you do so please be mindful of other members.

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All photos are my own and taken by the event leader in May 2022.

Ouse Valley Viaduct
Ouse Valley Viaduct
Ouse Valley Viaduct arches
Sussex country mansion
West Sussex view
Staplefield village green
Sussex countryside
Ardingly Resersoir
Ouse Valley Viaduct
Ouse Valley Viaduct
Ouse Valley Viaduct arches
Sussex country mansion
West Sussex view
Staplefield village green
Sussex countryside
Ardingly Resersoir

Location

51.05556, -0.136921