High Weald towards Weir Wood Reservoir - walk
PUBLISHED: 10:26 06 January 2011 | UPDATED: 10:19 09 October 2012
In this first of a series of three pub walks Jonny Young takes us on a gentle outing passes through the undulating fields and woodland of the High Weald towards Weir Wood Reservoir, which was formed by damming the river Medway...
4. On meeting the reservoir and joining the Sussex Border Path (TQ398352), turn right, following the contours of the waters edge and passing an information board for Standen Rocks, sandstone outcrops in the hillside. On reaching a second information board, turn right by a signed stile (TQ387349) and climb a well-trodden path to the left of telegraph poles to pass one such sandstone outcrop before heading into fern-covered woodland. Continue up a steep slope, curving to the left to meet a Y-junction and taking the right fork over a stile to climb through the edge of a woodland which is carpeted with bluebells in spring.
In this first of a series of three pub walks Jonny Young takes us on a gentle outing passes through the undulating fields and woodland of the High Weald towards Weir Wood Reservoir, which was formed by damming the river Medway. The route follows the Sussex Border Path alongside the reservoir before ascending by the attractive country house of Standen and following a section of the High Weald Landscape Trail back to The Old Mill.
Start: The Old Mill,
Dunnings Mill, Dunnings Road
East Grinstead, West Sussex
Sat Nav: RH19 4AT
Tel: 01342 326341
1. Outside The Old Mill, turn right onto Dunnings Road and then almost immediately left into Sunnyside Recreation Ground, soon heading into woodland to walk beside a small stream. When the path forks, take the right-hand option and closely follow the woodlands right-hand edge. At a signed junction a few yards later (TQ395366), turn right through a wooden gate out of the woodland into a field, taking the right-hand option again towards a gate in the opposite boundary.
2. Head uphill alongside the left-hand edge of the sloping field beyond, passing a small concealed pond. Follow a clearly marked path ahead through a strip of fenced woodland before keeping along the left-hand edge of the adjacent field beside Rushetts Shaw. In the far left corner, head through a gate into Jenkins Wood, almost immediately descending to cross a stream.
3. On emerging from the woodland, cross a stile at a footpath junction and continue directly ahead over a small field towards a metal kissing gate halfway along the opposite boundary. Head through a patch of light woodland to reach a stile in the corner of a field with the ridge of Ashdown Forest now in view on the horizon and Weir Wood reservoir just visible ahead. Follow the right-hand edge of the field, ignoring a turning on the right, and head over a stile in the far corner marked by a High Weald Circular Walk sign. This leads directly into two gently sloping fields and through a gap between hedgerows to reach Weir Wood Reservoir itself.
Weir Wood Reservoir was formed by damming the River Medway in 1954. Primarily used as a source of the South Easts water supply, a variety of watersports are practised on the reservoir and the western end is a local nature reserve and SSSI, home to great crested grebe and migrating osprey. Just before turning away from the reservoir it is possible to discern an old road which was flooded to make way for the reservoir.
5. Emerging at a footpath junction, take the opportunity to look back over Weir Wood Reservoir before continuing uphill and following the High Weald Landscape Trail alongside the right-hand edge of a field with the National Trust property of Standen to the right.
Both a showpiece of the Arts & Crafts movement and a spectacular example of the 1890s country house, Standen was designed by architect Philip Webb and decorated inside with William Morris fabrics, carpets and wallpapers. Now owned by the National Trust, it is open to the public from Easter until the end of October, Weds-Sun, plus Mondays in August (Tel: 01342 323029)
At the top of the field, follow the path around the perimeter of Standen toreveal a view over Saint Hill House and a glimpse of the North Downs to the left. Continue ahead to reach a drive leading to Standen and bear left shortly to reach West Hoathly Road (TQ388361).
The grandiose 18th century manor of Saint Hill House was bought by Scientologys founder and science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1959 and was the religions world headquarters throughout the 1960s and 1970s; it remains the headquarters of the Church of Scientology in the UK today.
6. Turn left and almost immediately right into woodland, signposted High
Weald Landscape Trail and Standen Trail. At a Y-junction, take the left fork to walk alongside the right-hand edge of large playing fields. Halfway along, take a signposted right turning (TQ384361) which follows the Landscape Trail through a mixture of woodland and rough grassland to emerge eventually onto a small lane (Medway Drive). At the end of this, turn right for 100 yards to return to West Hoathly Road (TQ391367), with The Old Mill a few yards away on the left.
EAST GRINSTEAD AT A GLANCE
Already a bustling market town by the Middle Ages, East Grinstead has held a market charter since 1221. Today, the High Street contains the longest continuous run of 14th-century timber-framed buildings in England.
During the Second World War, the town was a secondary target for German bombers who failed to make their primary target in London. During the evening of 9 July 1943, a German bomb fell on the Whitehall Cinema in the High Street. 108 people were killed, the largest loss of life of any single air raid in Sussex.
John Mason Neale, who wrote the popular Christmas Carol Good King Wenceslas in the early 19th century, was once warden of East Grinsteads Sackville College, a sandstone almshouse built in 1609.
Sir Patrick Moore, Neil Gaiman, Jane Leeves and Louise Redknapp have all also lived in the town.
The Bluebell Railway operates a preserved heritage steam railway along a nine-mile stretch of the Lewes-East Grinstead line between Kingscote (two miles south of East Grinstead) and Sheffield Park. At present Metrobus service 473 links East Grinstead station to Kingscote, although the Bluebell Railway will soon be connected to the town.