Walk from Standen to Selsfield Common and back
A moderate walk for more experienced walkers, to and from Selsfield Common, a heathland habitat of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with bilberry flowers in the spring.
Main entrance, Standen, grid ref: TQ389357
From Standen main gate walk up the drive to the cottages on the left. Take the footpath left beside the cottages at the footpath finger post. This path follows [art of the High Weald Landscape Trail. Follow the path keeping the barbed wire fence on the right. (1) Go through a metal gate and continue downhill with a hedge to the left hand side. (2) Continue down a sunken path until you reach a finger post and Information board. Keep ahead, don't turn right.
Continue down the slope and bear left at the fingerpost, down steep slope through the scrub through a new metal gate into an open field and continue ahead towards the reservoir. You will see Standen Barn on the left hand side. Continue down the field to the bottom by the reservoir, turn RIGHT. You are following the High Weald Landscape Trail. (3) 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.)
(4) Continue along this path, with the reservoir and chainlink fence on your left until you meet a tarred lane. 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.(5) Turn right at the junction with the road (Please take care here as visibility is poor – WEAR HIGH VIZ JACKETS) and walk 50 yards uphill to the fingerpost. Opposite Stone Hill House, cross the road and proceed slightly uphill along this rough track. Follow the path above the rocks, which soon develops into a sunken path as it goes downhill, and continue until you reach a 3 finger post and metal gate at the top of the hill. The track takes a bend to the right. Follow the track down to Mill Place Farm going past a fishing lake on the right hand side (This is a public footpath route not the High Weald Landscape Trail).
(6) Walk ahead, past the fishing lake, over a brick bridge, continue ahead. (7) Follow the track under the Bluebell Railway bridge, ignoring the footpath to the left. Enter the woods, in which you turn left onto a footpath. This leads across an asphalt road, through a kissing-gate, and into a field. (8) Walk beside the left hand edge of the field and cross a wooden sleeper bridge. Follow the muddy path, between sedges in a woodland. (9) Cross a wide muddy track – keep ahead as you are following a very small overgrown footpath immediately ahead (can be easily missed) until you pass through an old broken metal kissing gate into another field. (10) Follow the left hand edge of the field and turn immediately left when you reach a stoney/muddy drive. Farm cottages are visible up to the right. This deeply-rutted farm track leads past the end of the Gravetye Lake. Gravetye Manor is now a hotel and most of the woodlands are permissive access in summer months, but this route follows only public footpaths.
(11) Follow the track out into a grassy field in a straight line, slightly uphill, almost parallel to the right-hand woodland edge. When you reach a gap in the trees entering another field, continue ahead past a clump of oak trees in the middle of the field to finger post at top of field. Continue to no.13 if you wish to miss the view point…. (12) (If you wish to have a good view of the landscape, go through the gap in the hedge up to the next field to a viewpoint and stile. By the stile, within the wood, is a track which leads to the village of West Hoathly, which lies on the 84 Metrobus bus route. This runs between Crawley and East Grinstead, via Selsfield Common and Standen main entrance. Anyone intending to use this bus should obtain an up-to-date timetable From this stile, one can see the distant North Downs and the grey square tower of East Grinstead church. At this point the route makes a 170 degree turn, down towards the last finger post where there was a clump of oak trees, halfway down the slope. (13) Keep to left hand edge of field (with clump of oak tree in the middle) leading you down towards the corner heading towards Grey Buildings of Gravetye Manor which can be seen in the distance. Leave the field and descend some crude stone steps going through woodland over two wooden planks, and along the rough path down to another stile into another field. This area is muddy and slippery downhill. The indistinct paths follows the left-hand edge of the field, in which a small barn/shed is visible up on the right.
(14) Passing through clumps of bracken and gorse to your left, you should reach the corner of this field and descend into the woodland. KEEP LEFT and follow the path past the lake, over a brick bridge uphill alongside the wire railing on top of an old low brick wall up gentle incline. Cross the private drive of Gravetye Manor and then cross the car park and staff quarters. Forward uphill through an anti-deer gate. Follow the track past a walled garden on the right, along to a bend by a finger post. (15) Turn right here through another tall anti-deer gate and walk up a long dark track under laurels, between banks, while the track becomes sunken. This is a steady incline. After passing a back garden, carry on past a long low brick farm building. Where the path levels out it continues between rhododendrons to reach the private drive of Moatlands, on Vowels Lane. (16) Turn right onto a bend in Vowells Lane, marked by an upright wooden house signpost at the entrance of Moatlands. Cross the road, turn left and walk approximately 50 yards on the road – KEEP WELL IN AS THIS ROAD IS NARROW AND CAR USERS ARE NOT USED TO WALKERS ON THIS ROAD. TIP – WEAR HIGH VIZ JACKET HERE. THERE IS NO FOOTPATH ON VOWELLS LANE.
The view here includes Manor Hill Farm and the embankment of the Bluebell Railway line. 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 a dedicated band of volunteers has restored and run the railway. 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.
(17) At the kissing gate just past Kingscote Kennells, follow this rough track through the woodland to a field. Walk along the straight wide grassy track across the field towards the buildings. In the distance to the left is the red brick Selsfield Water Tower c1903 and on the right is a view towards the North Downs and the distant East Grinstead St Swithens church Walk through a kissing-gate and across a private drive. Past two Wellingtonia pines and along a wide grassy path between 2 paling-and-wire fences.
Walk through a small kissing gate beside a large wooden gate (18). National trust Selsfield Common sign is immediately in front of you. This is Selsfield Common and the turning point for the return to Standen. Take some time to wander the paths and enjoy the views. If you follow the finger post in a straight line until you exit the wood, at a memorial bench facing a field, there is a view over the Weald and Turners Hill. To return to Standen reverse the route from 18 to 15, to the main entrance of Gravetye Manor car park and staff quarters.
The public footpath joins Selsfield Drive and onto the B2028 where a bus can be reached. The bus stop disappeared in 1977 but the 84 and 82 will stop if signaled clearly and in good time.
(19) From the main driveway, turn LEFT walk uphill along the road approximately 200 yards, following the High Weald Landscape Trail (HWLT) past the Garden Parking Sign ‘P’. Turn Right leading down towards ‘Home Farm’ continuing on the HWLT on the stony path pass the farm buildings. Keep ahead past the cottage. Continue ahead past the metal barrier and the fingerpost (Do not turn right down the lane). Walk past several log piles through the wood. This is called Bushey Wood. (20) Follow path until you reach a fingerpost – follow path to the right downhill past a pond on right hand side of the track in the woods. At the bottom of the hill – keep ahead (ignoring right hand track) go over wooden bridge and continue uphill with pylons overhead. At a cross-roads of footpaths and finger post, turn RIGHT leading to the main tarmac lane.
(21) Turn Right on tarmac lane. Continue ahead and pass Brookbank and Holly Tree Cottages on the left hand side. (22) Continue forward (do not turn off left to go under railway bridge but keep to tarmac road) past wooden gate.
At the fingerpost pointing left into the edge of the woods, (before Birch Farm) go through the wood cross a stile and up the steep bank of the Bluebell Railway embankment. Cross the railway line, down the embankment over a stile and follow the path through the woods to a gate towards pylons. Cross the field over a railway sleeper bridge bearing right towards the next footbridge over a river. Proceed uphill through a gap in the trees towards a gate in the top of the field. (23) Go through the gate and bear right towards the sunken path leading to the rocks on the right hand side back to the main tarmac road. Rejoin the route back to Standen at point 5 and reverse the circuit.
Main entrance, Standen, grid ref: TQ389357
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