With November upon us, we asked Robert Veitch to find an interesting walk in a new location and upon mostly solid ground; he set out from Crawley Down with a skip in his stride and returned to the office beaming from ear to ear after a memorable ramble
From the car park walk east along Burleigh Way, then turn right into Copse Close, then follow the footpath at the end to the next road. Cross over into Hazel Way and continue for 400m before turning right into Cob Close, at the end of which, is the entrance to the Worth Way.
Crawley Down Pond on the left was once an ornamental feature, these days it’s home to squawking wildfowl. Continue along the wide and easy walking of the Worth Way, beneath the beech, ash and oak canopy for 3/4 mile to the cross-paths.
Turn left onto the bridleway, passing the Felbridge Primary School Millennium Wood along the way – but who resides in the oak tree? At the junction by the 3-way fingerpost turn right, then 20m later by another 3-way fingerpost turn left. The route continues very gently downhill through the avenue of oak, over Felbridge Water and gently up the slope to the junction with Crawley Down Road.
Turn left and follow the pavement, past the West Sussex sign, and then across the short section of ‘private land’ to emerge back at the road soon after. Turn left and walk along the road, towards the traffic and the bend. After 150m, behind a black and white chevron sign, take the footpath on the right.
Behind the metal gate the route continues across the next two fields, between receding ferns, past the eye-pleasingly shaped oak and silver birch, and past the bungalow, before turning right by the fingerpost and joining Furnace Farm Road by the rusty gate.
Turn left, and walk for just over a quarter of a mile to the sharp right hand bend. Bear left by the 3-way fingerpost, downhill beside the post and rail fence. On the left is Furnace Pond, but the view does not open up until the bridge over the spillway. Though the bridge is narrow and the drop is dramatic, the view and therapeutic sound of falling water is a memorable spectacle all of it’s own.
Past the pointless kissing gate, and the necessary kissing gate, the path snakes through the landscape and across a pair of 2-sleeper bridges to a gate, preceding the junction with the A264 at Snow Hill.
Cross with care, and follow the footpath alongside the lapped fence, through two kissing gates, then along the drive to the junction with the B2037 on the other side of Snow Hill.
Turn left, then 100m later turn left again. Walk along the entirety of Chapel Lane, past a trio of posts and then a quintet of posts along the way. Not far away, the sound of aircraft rising into the skies can be heard with a near normal regularity.
At the end, cross over into Mill Lane and continue as far as the school. Turn left and take the footpath immediately on the right, alongside the post and rail fence. The myriad of paths lead through wooded glades, meeting circles and Scots pines, towards the sound of traffic and the busy A264 of Copthorne Common Road.
When a break in the traffic occurs, cross with care to the green 2-way public footpath sign. Head south along the track, across Copthorne Upper Common and away from the noise.
After 200m, by the 3-way fingerpost, turn left along the West Sussex Border Path and follow the track to the metal 7-bar gate. Keep going along the track towards the fishery, before taking the footpath by the solitary fingerpost as the track runs out.
Continue past the slices of beech trunk, strange metal barrier and solitary stile of the day to join the drive. Continue in the same general direction, for 300m before heading into the woods beside telegraph pole DP 546.
The path slips downhill, then veers right, then left and past a redundant gate to emerge in a courtyard at Rowfant. Turn right then shortly after, turn left and walk under the castellated archway along the drive to the junction with Wallage Lane.
Turn left and walk along the road, towards the oncoming traffic for 250m, before turning right by the fingerpost, adjacent to the business centre entrance. Follow the path, over the 2-sleeper bridge to the driveway, then immediately left on to the Worth Way.
Walk west for a mile along the old railway line, noting the impressive brick bridge that the trains of yesteryear would have passed beneath. The track emerges into Old Station Close, built on the site of the Grange Road Station, which closed in 1967. From here it’s a short stroll back to the car park.
The 5:15 from Three Bridges to Royal Tunbridge Wells would stop here and although the train would continue, this journey is over. Surely it’s time to let off steam.
Distance: 7.75 miles
Walk Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Footwear: Stout footwear suitable for autumnal weather is recommended
Elevation Gain: 102m (335 feet)
Calorie Burn: Approximately 710kcal
Map: Explorer 135
Parking: Free parking in the Burleigh Way and Kiln Road car parks
Robert has tested the route personally, making sure it is suitable for walking. However, even he cannot guarantee the effects of the weather, or roadworks, or any other factors outside of his control. If you would like to send your feedback about a local walk, please email email@example.com