Walk from Standen to Kingscote Bluebell Railway
A country walk for more experienced walkers to and from Kingscote Station and the celebrated Bluebell Steam Railway.
Please note normal admission applies to enter the property and car park
The Bluebell Steam Railway has recently been reconnected to the mainline station at East Grinstead. Connecting trains can be taken to Sheffield Park or into the historic town of East Grinstead.
Standen car park, grid ref: TQ391356
Leave the car park and walk up the hill towards the house. At the top turn left and walk along the path with the Kitchen Garden on your left and Goose Green on the right. Continue ahead on the mettled and grass path through the rhododendrons, and woodland until you reach second wooden gate (do not turn into Hollybush Wood) into a field. You are now leaving Standen and using public right of way footpaths
As you approach you can see the original farm cottages and buildings dating from before the construction of the main house. This area known as Goose Green was part of the working farm and the Beale family allowed animals to graze here. It was part of the route taken by the cows on their way to and from milking which includes the path through the centre of the garden, called the farm track and the dairy buildings now house the café. Here you can picnic and have the opportunity to use our facilities, café and shop.
Go through the Standen gate and bear left to follow the path along the edge of a field, with a barbed wire fence to your left. Go through the metal gate in front of you and keep walking ahead downhill through a sunken path. Continue ahead past the three point finger post next to the broken stile. At next fingerpost continue ahead to 2nd metal gate into field. Turn left in the field and walk downhill to edge of the reservoir to meet the High Weald Landscape Trail. Continue along the right hand edge of the field to a metal gate in the bottom corner. (Note the position of this gate. On your return, this is where you will turn left to head back up the hill towards Standen.)
High Weald Landscape Trail
The High Weald Landscape Trail crosses the counties of Sussex and Kent, starting at Horsham and ending at Rye. It is 89 miles (143km) long and it meanders through farms, hop gardens and meadows, and links ridge top villages and sandstone outcrops. Standen Rocks, once used by the Beale children and grandchildren from Standen for picnic teas, on the left, are moss-covered sandstone outcrops close to the path. If there's time, make a detour to explore them and the wonderful views they offer across the reservoir. In the Beales' day, the view would have been very different, as the reservoir, fed by the River Medway, was not built until 1952. Back on the path, alongside the hedgerow there is an interpretation board on Standen Rocks.
Here the High Weald Landscape Trail joins the Sussex Border Path. Go through the metal gate keeping chain link fence to your left until you meet a tarred lane.
Admans or Admiral's bridge
Before the reservoir was created this lane used to go across the River Medway, via Admiral’s Bridge. This is still exposed when summers are very dry. Admiral’s is a corruption of Admans Bridge (1615). Admans was first recorded (1567) as the name of two meadows nearby. In 1789 the old wooden bridge was replaced by a new one of brick and stone.
This is the old road which was submerged by the water, and blocked by a padlocked double iron gate.Turn right at this gate uphill for a few hundred yards, as it turns left and levels off. Turn right at the junction with the road (Please take care here as visibility is poor - Wear High Viz Jackets if possible.)
Walk 50 yards uphill to the finger post opposite the entrance to Stone Hill House cross the road. Follow the path above the rocks, which soon develops into a sunken path as it goes downhill, and continue until you reach a three way finger post and a metal gate at the top of the hill.
Go through the gate, and head downhill across the field in the direction of the pylon. Go through a gap in the trees at the bottom, and follow the stream to a wooden foot bridge. Cross the bridge and turn left in front of a pylon. Keep left until you reach two metal gates crossing a chalk track. Go through both gates into the woods. Follow the path through the woods, cross the stile and climb a steep bank to cross the Bluebell Railway line. Go down the steep bank on the other side and cross a waymarked stile into a wood.
The Bluebell Railway follows part of the course of the old East Grinstead to Lewes line. This railway dates from 1882 and ran until 1958. In the early 1960s the section from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes was saved and went into private hands. Since then a dedicated band of volunteers has restored and run the railway and made Horsted Keynes station one of the finest preserved stations in the country. 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.
Follow the path through the wood to emerge onto a tarred lane. Turn right (ignoring the path to the right) for about 500yd (450m) to a large wooden gate.
Go through the gate and continue straight ahead along the lane. Just past Brookbank and Holly Tree Cottages on the right, the lane swings around to the left and you can see the railway line again. Where the lane joins from the left continue straight ahead. The lane goes under the overhead lines, between hedgerows and through a wood. The wood on your right opens out onto a large field, with two large white houses in the bottom right hand corner. Continue for about 100yd (90m) downhill and look for a gap in the right hand hedge with a finger post. Go through the gap and follow around the edge of the field towards the houses, keeping the woodland on your left.
At the end of the field turn left onto a track and follow uphill, through a metal gate onto Vowells Lane. Kingscote Station, part of the Bluebell railway line, is immediately to your right.
A notice board left of the entrance porch gives notice of the closing of the East Grinstead to Lewes line on Monday 17th March 1958. The station was re-opened on 23rd April 1994 and now it is part of a regular route between East Grinstead and Sheffield Park. See the website for timetables - http://www.bluebell-railway.com/timetable-and-fares/ Kingscote house was built in 1866 for a Mr Josiah King, hence the name. When the railway was being built in the 1880s the house was occupied by the engineer Mr John Barry. When the station was built it was given the name Kingscote by association.
After visiting Kingscote Station, retrace your steps. Go left down the private road. just before the large white house (Bluebell Cottage) go right along the right hand field edge. At the lane, turn left. Where the path forks, go straight ahead (signs to Mill Place Farm) passed Brooksbank Cottage and Holly Tree Cottage on your left. Before the wooden gate turn left down the lane to Mill Place Farm/Kingscote Vineyard
Go under the railway bridge marked ‘Kingscote estate’ and continue ahead along the track through the farm and vineyeard buildings and past a small pond on your left. Continue until you reach a brick bridge. Go over the bridge and follow the track around to your right past a large pond on your left. Keep ahead following the fence and hedge on your left and a stream on your right. Continue up the sunken track around the edge of fields to the top of the fields. (This is where you originally walked down towards the bridge and railway track). Continue ahead past the rocks on the right and retrace your steps to the main road. Take care here. Turn right and go downhill (50 yards) to re-join the lane on the left which takes you back to the Sussex Border Path along the northern perimeter of Weir Wood Reservoir. Follow the Sussex Border Path until you reach the metal gate in the corner of the field where you joined the path originally. Head up the hill following the High Weald Landscape Trail, under the power lines, keeping the hedgerow and fence to your right. Go through the metal gate at the top of the field through the bracken, continuing to keep the fence and hedgerow on your right. At the fingerpost, continue uphill and follow the sunken path along the edge of the wood. After emerging from the wood, go through the metal gate and continue ahead. Either: Go through the wooden National Trust gate on the right to retrace your path to Standen Goose Green and the house (end of walk) Or: continue up the hill, following the right-hand edge of the field to the top corner. (go to 12 it you walk up field)
The name Mill Place was first noted in 1547. It was part of Lewes Priory’s manor of Imberhorne from the early 12th century but later became independent of it. A water powered Iron Furnace was working here in the 16th and 17th centuries. The core of the building dates from the late 14th century, with 16th century and Victorian additions. It is grade II listed.
Go through the metal gate at the top of the field, and follow the path right between the woodland and barbed-wire fence (on your left) until you reach the main drive to Standen. At the drive turn right, past Standen Cottages and continue to the main entrance to Standen and the car park.
Standen car park, grid ref: TQ391356
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