Standen to East Grinstead and Steam Railway
A walk using old footpaths providing a rural route to the centre of East Grinstead, that now links to the Bluebell Steam Railway.
Please note normal admission applies to enter the property and car park
Main entrance, Standen, grid ref: TQ389357
The walk leaves Standen by the main drive. Walk up the hill from the car park past the reception and out onto the drive through the main gate. Continue up the drive past the exposed sandstone rocks. Turn right through the small gate at the waymarker, just beyond the cottages into Rockinghill Wood. Follow the path down the steps through the wood, passing Jack and Tommy field on the right. Where the path divides at the bottom of the hill take the right fork. (1)
Rockinghill Wood returned as part of the Standen estate in 2001 and it is being managed by a group of volunteers using traditional and sustainable coppicing and green woodworking methods. The produce from the woods is used around the gardens as pea sticks and bean poles, and sold as charcoal and firewood. In the spring there is a carpet of bluebells and many animals and plant species live and visit, including dragonflies, deer and buzzards.
Follow the field edge to the pond where the path turns left, Ignore the bridge to the right. Follow the path alongside the stream. Cross three sleeper bridges on an undulating path to a cross roads. At the finger post take the path leading uphill straight on, ignoring the path to Jenkins Shaw. The path swings left and right, crossing two more sleeper bridges. At a two way finger post the path turns sharp left. On the right there is a small bridge over a ditch and stile, take this and enter the field. If you reach a large pond you have gone too far. (2)
After crossing the stile turn left and follow the meandering path along the field edge for about 165yd (150m). Ignore the first gate on the left and pass through the second gate go left into a narrow belt of woodland to another gate.(This section is very muddy even in summer.) At this gate follow the finger post which points about 45 degrees across the field, passing a pond, to a gate in a hedge into a second field. Ignore the temptation to veer left halfway across the field. (3) Take time to stop and locate the church steeple in the distance. On reaching the gate follow the finger post to a gate in the hedge opposite. (This is very muddy to cross.) Once through the gate turn right along the bank and down to the bridge over the stream. (4)
Take the time to locate the church steeple in the distance. This is St Swithun's steeple dating back to 1789. An older one was struck by lightning in both 1684 and 1772. There has been a church on the site since the 11th century, with the 18th century rebuild constructed in medieval style. Take time to visit the church once you are in East Grinstead and take in the interesting round windows in the clerestory.
Cross the bridge and ahead keeping left, following the stream for about 200yd (180m) until you reach Fleming Walk, which leads uphill through Sunnyside housing estate. Fleming Walk is a long, narrow uphill footpath that crosses four roads on its route between gardens. (5) At the end of the road turn right then almost immediately left into Harwoods Close, passing a metal fence at the road end into Harwoods Lane. (More of a track than a lane).
At the top of Harwoods Lane turnright downhill and then almost opposite enter The Rise, before turning immediately right in Hermitage Lane (there are traffic no entry signs at the junction.) Continue up Harwoods Lane, through the sandstone cutting to the junction with Middle Row adjoining the High Street. (6) Turn left and stay on the left-hand side of the road, passing Portland Road and Broadleys shop. Cross the pedestrian crossing and turn left as you face hallmark Travel into West Street, with the Ship Inn on the left. Continue down West Street passing The Sussex Arms and East Grinstead Library and down the hill as it becomes West Hill. (7)
East Grinstead started as a clearing in the great Wealden forest and grew into a thriving market town. Its High Street is an historic showcase of architecture. Parts of these old buildings date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The road widens to show the original market place and more buildings of historic interest, for example Old Stone House (1630) and Clarendon Place (1470). For further information see the town trail, available from the library.
At the roundabout, a detour of about ½ mile (800m) may be made, right to East Grinstead station. Take the first exit to the right and follow the B2110 Brooklands Way uphill, through a housing estate. At the top of the hill take the first exit to the left into Firbank Way and the station is ahead on the right. Here you can catch the steam train to all stations on the Bluebell line ending at Sheffield Park, and mainline trains to London. (8)
Bluebell Steam Railway
The Bluebell Railway follows part of the course of the old East Grinstead to Lewes line. This railway dates from 1882 but was closed by British Rail in 1955, but remained in service for a further three years while local residents fought to save it. The section from Sheffield Park to Kingscote was saved and went into private hands in 1960. In 2014 after the removal of 1000s of tonnes of rubbish the line was finally re-connected to the main line station at East Grinstead. Combine your visit with a ride on the steam train to Sheffield Park.
If you do not want to visit the railway station the route follows the Turners Hill Road. Go straight across at the roundabout and down the road for 50yd (45m) to a footpath on the left running behind some houses on Hurst Farm Road. This footpath is marked with a High Weald Landscape Trail marker.(9) Enter the field through a small gate and follow the path line marked by a finger post behind the houses on Hurst Farm Road for 50yd (45m) where it rejoins the footpath, passing a pond on the right hand side. Pass through two fields and three wooden bridges. Pass through two fields with barbed wire on the left hand side and a metal kissing gate. Follow the finger post leading behind Mill View Care home until you reach Streathfield Place, a small housing development behind The Mill Public House. Walk to the end of Streathfield Place and turn right onto Dunnings Mill Road for 25 yards. (10)
The Old Dunnings Mill originally known as Dunnings Mill is recorded as far back as 1713, but it is thought to be much older. According to records in 1469, the area was known as ‘Donnyngesfeld’. So named, because the land owner's name was Donnyng. Over time these origins also helped shape the naming of surrounding roads, the farm and also the Mill. The Mill was a flour mill, evidence of which can still be found in the pub garden where you can find one of the old mill stones! The original mill was demolished early in the 20th century.
Turn right into Coombe Hill Road. This is not marked by a road sign but a finger post is attached to a lamp post at the end of the road opposite Tobias School of Art sign. (11) After 200yd (180m) turn left into Medway Drive. At the end of Medway Drive follow the footpath signs (High Weald Landscape Trail and Standen Trail and Standen Circular walk) along the right-hand field edge through four fields, passing Dunnings Wood, a mixture of oak, beech and sweet chestnut, on a steady incline.
At the end of the fourth field the path veers right and meanders through scrub. Keep ahead into the woodland eventually climbing up via a sunken pathway to the ridge with a large finger post on the skyline. (12) At the finger post turn left along the edge of rugby pitches, passing a mobile phone mast. Keep left walking through scrub until the road is reached. Cross with great care, turning left and then right into the drive leading to Standen. Continue to walk down the drive to return to the start of your walk through the main gate.
Main entrance, Standen, grid ref: TQ389357
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