- The Bluebell Railway
- Traditional English countryside
This undemanding walk starts from one of the major joining points for The Bluebell Railway and encounters the track continually along the way. But the beauty of the countryside around here will satisfy even those who have no interest in the railway.
From Horsted Keynes station car park, pass in front of the station and continue to the T-junction (OS ref: 372291). Turn right at the T-junction and continue along the road, pass under the arched bridge, and immediately after the next double bend* cross the stile on the right. Bear left on a rising footpath to a gap in the hedge. Pass through the gap, cross a track, go through a wicket-gate and continue on a broad rising footpath through a plantation. Continue to the far side, go through the wicket gate, over the track, and cross the stile. Descend steeply, following the fence on your left, to the bottom of the field. Go down the steps in the bank, cross the stream and ascend steps on other side. Bear right, with the pond on your left, and follow curving track to the corner of a post and rail fence. Go through the kissing gate, walk along the bank above the road, and descend to the road. (OS ref: 360292).
Turn right on the road for twenty five metres, and turn left up steps cut in the bank, to a stile. Cross the stile and walk along the left side of the field.
(Where you can see the embankment of the long-dismantled Horsted Keynes/ Ardingly/ Haywards Heath line.)
At the far left corner, go through the gate into the next field and continue on left of field. Just before the far left corner, go through a kissing gate in metal fence on left, pass behind the cricket pavilion, and go through another kissing gate in the fence on the right. Turn immediately right, go through a gate, and continue on rising farm track. Go through the gate at the end of the track and go forward about fifty metres to a stile at the left of the gate. Cross the stile and the corner of the field for a few metres, to a second stile. Cross the stile and turn left along fence line, with Highbrook church spire seen in front of you.
At the far left corner, cross a stile and go forward to a post and rail fence. Go right, keeping house and garden on your left, to stile at the corner. Cross the stile and turn left to the road at Highbrook (OS ref: 362299).
Continue forward on the road with farm buildings on your left, until reaching Highbrook Church. At the lych gate, turn right into a drive. Keeping the round tower on your right, follow the track along the line of the churchyard fence. Where the track enters the field (the line of the Bluebell Railway can be seen ahead of you, two or three fields away), continue steeply downhill. Follow the track as it curves right, down to an oak tree, and to a stile and field gate. Cross the stile and continue along the left side of the field. At the far left corner, enter the wood and continue on the footpath. Cross the footbridge over the stream and go up steps to the stile. Cross the stile into the field. Continue on a rising cross-field path, bearing left and aiming just to the right of the trees and shrubs to the right of the red-tiled farm house.
Cross the stile, keeping the pond on your right, and continue forward to the stile at Bluebell Railway. Cross the stile and immediately turn right along the railway embankment.
About 100 metres before the railway bridge, cross the stile on the right and follow the footpath through a plantation. Cross the stile and follow the footpath as it curves left to a stile on the left.
Cross this stile into a broad track between fences, leading to the bridge over the Bluebell Railway. (You have a good view of Horsted Keynes Station to the right; to the left, the line runs north to Sharpthorne tunnel, the site of West Hoathly station, Kingscote and (eventually) East Grinstead.) Cross the bridge over the railway, go through the gate, turn right on the track and continue to Horsted Keynes station.
This is an easy, family walk of just 3¼ miles; but take care when crossing roads or the railway line.