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View from the Top Terrace acros the High Weald, Standen House and Garden, West Sussex
View from top terrace across High Weald, Standen House and Garden | © National Trust Images/Roger J Bloxham

Standen to Selsfield Common walk

Starting at Standen House, this 8.5-mile walk is ideal for experienced walkers. The route takes you around Selsfield Common, a heathland habitat of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along country paths and through wildlife-rich woodlands.

Shortening the walk

If you wish to shorten the walk, there are bus stops near Step 8 and Step 12 with regular buses that will take you back to Standen.

Total steps: 23

Total steps: 23

Start point

Main entrance, Standen, grid ref: TQ389357

Step 1

From Standen main gate, walk up the drive to the cottages on the left. Take the footpath to the left of the cottages, next to the footpath fingerpost. This path follows part of the High Weald Landscape Trail. Follow the path, keeping the barbed-wire fence on the right.

Step 2

Go through a metal gate and continue downhill, with a hedge on your left-hand side. Continue down a sunken path until you reach a fingerpost and information board. Keep walking ahead, don't turn right.

Step 3

Continue down the slope and bear left at the fingerpost. Go down a steep slope through the scrub, through a 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 and continue following the High Weald Landscape Trail. Continue along the right-hand edge of the field to a metal gate in the bottom corner.

Step 4

Continue along this path, with the reservoir and chainlink fence on your left, until you reach a tarred lane. This is the old road which was submerged by the water to create the reservoir. It now leads nowhere and is and blocked by a padlocked double iron gate. Turn right at this gate and go uphill for a few hundred yards, before it turns left and levels off.

Step 5

Turn right at the junction with the road. Please take care here as cars are often driving very fast and your visibility to them is poor. Continue for 50 yards (46 metres) uphill to the fingerpost. Opposite Stone Hill House, cross the road and proceed slightly uphill along a rough track. Follow the path above the rocks and continue until you reach a fingerpost and metal gate at the top of the hill. The track takes a bend to the right – follow it down to Mill Place Farm, past a fishing lake on the right-hand side.

Step 6

Go past the fishing lake, over a brick bridge and continue ahead.

Step 7

Follow the track under the Bluebell Railway bridge, ignoring the footpath to the left. Enter the woods and turn left onto a footpath. This leads across an asphalt road, through a kissing gate and into a field.

Step 8

Walk beside the left-hand edge of the field and cross a bridge made from wooden railway sleepers. Follow the path (which is notoriously often muddy) between sedges in a woodland.

Step 9

Cross a wide track (another notoriously muddy one) and keep going straight ahead. The footpath becomes very small and overgrown and can be easily missed. Eventually you will pass through an old broken metal kissing gate into another field.

Step 10

Follow the left-hand edge of the field and turn immediately left when you reach a stony drive. You will see farm cottages up to the right. This deeply-rutted farm track leads past the end of the Gravetye Lake.

Step 11

Follow the track out into a grassy field. Stay parallel to the right-hand woodland edge and go slightly uphill. When you reach a gap in the trees, enter another field and continue ahead to a fingerpost at the top of the field, passing a clump of oak trees in the middle of the field on your way. Here you can skip straight to Step 13 if you wish to miss the viewpoint.

Step 12

Go through the gap in the hedge and up to the next field. You'll find a stile and sweeping views across to the distant North Downs and the grey square tower of East Grinstead church. After you've had your fill of the view, head back the way you came, towards the last fingerpost and the clump of oak trees halfway down the slope.

Step 13

Keep to the left-hand edge of the field (with a clump of oak trees in the middle), and head towards the corner (you will see the grey buildings of Gravetye Manor in the distance). Leave the field and descend some basic stone steps, over two wooden planks and along the rough path down to another stile into another field. This area may be muddy and slippery downhill. The indistinct path follows the left-hand edge of the field, in which a small barn is visible up on the right.

Step 14

Passing through clumps of bracken and gorse to your left, enter the woodland in the corner of this field. Keep left and follow the path past the lake, over a brick bridge and uphill alongside the wire railing on top of a low brick wall. Cross the private drive of Gravetye Manor and then cross the car park and staff quarters. Continue uphill through an anti-deer gate. Follow the track past a walled garden on the right to a bend by a fingerpost.

Step 15

Turn right through another tall anti-deer gate and walk up a long, dark track under laurel bushes, between banks. 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.

Step 16

Turn right onto a bend in Vowels Lane, marked by an upright wooden house signpost at the entrance of Moatlands. Cross the road, turn left and walk approximately 50 yards (46 metres) on the road.

Step 17

At the kissing gate, just past Kingscote Kennels, follow a rough track through the woodland to a field. Walk along the straight, wide grassy track across the field towards the buildings. Walk through a kissing gate and across a private drive. You will pass two Wellingtonia pines as you go along a wide grassy path between two wood-and-wire fences. Walk through a small kissing gate beside a large wooden gate. You will see the National Trust Selsfield Common sign immediately in front of you.

Step 18

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 fingerposts in a straight line until you exit the wood, you see a memorial bench facing a field and a rewarding view over the Weald and Turners Hill. To return to Standen reverse the route from 17 to 15 until you reach the main entrance of Gravetye Manor car park and staff quarters.

Step 19

From the main driveway, turn left and walk uphill along the road for approximately 200 yards (183 metres), following the High Weald Landscape Trail (HWLT) signs past the Garden parking sign 'P'. Turn right, head down towards Home Farm and continue on the High Weald Landscape Trail. Pass the farm buildings and keep going ahead. You'll pass a cottage, a metal barrier and a fingerpost (do not turn right down the lane). Go past several log piles and on through Bushey Wood.

Step 20

Follow the path until you reach a fingerpost. Take the path to the right which goes downhill past a pond on the right-hand side of the woodland track. At the bottom of the hill, keep ahead (ignoring right-hand track), go over a wooden bridge and continue uphill with pylons overhead. At a crossroads of footpaths and fingerpost, turn right and follow the path to to the main tarmac lane.

Step 21

Turn right on the tarmac lane. Continue ahead and pass Brookbank and Holly Tree Cottages on the left-hand side.

Step 22

Continue forward and keep on the tarmac road, past a wooden gate. At the fingerpost pointing left into the edge of the woods, (before Birch Farm) go through the wood, cross a stile and go 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. Carry on uphill through a gap in the trees towards a gate at the top of the field.

Step 23

Go through the gate and bear right towards the sunken path. It will lead you to the rocks on the right-hand side and back to the main tarmac road. Rejoin the route back to Standen at Step 5 and reverse the circuit.

End point

Main entrance, Standen, grid ref: TQ389357

Trail map

Standen to Selsfield Common walk route map
Standen to Selsfield Common walk route map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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