An easy circular walk in Sussex with a number of options to increase or decrease the distance using a variety of footpaths.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
The walk starts at Balcombe Station on the London bound platform.
(D/A) Exit to the car park and follow this down to the road. The footpath leads off down to the right and can be difficult to see as the sign can be obscured by trees. At the bottom of the footpath, turn left on to Rowhill Lane and follow this. The lane is not very busy but keep a careful eye out for traffic.
(1) On your right, there is a handy footpath which adds some variety and cuts a corner. Follow this all the way to the junction with the main road.
(2) By the main road, the route joins the Sussex Ouse Valley Way. Look out for the footpath sign on the other side of the main road. This is a much busier road so care is required. Once across the road, follow this footpath all the way to the viaduct. There are plenty of opportunities to admire this magnificent structure from a variety of angles.
(3) Continue along the Sussex Ouse Valley Way, which turns right along the road for a short distance before heading off across country again. Stay on this path until the Ardingly Reservoir visitor centre
(4) From here, follow the footpath around the edge of the water, using the road for a short distance from (5) to (6)
Note that although the path follows the water's edge for some distance it is not possible to walk all the walk around the reservoir.
(7) The route rejoins the road with a left turn to Balcombe Mill. Follow the road around a twisty section.
(8) Turn right at the junction and follow the route that continues along this path past Balcombe Lake.
(9) Turn left at Forest Farm. Stay on this path bearing left at the first junction.
(10) Turn left at the junction.
(11) Look for a left turn into the trees and follow this path straight up to Balcombe House, passing through a field possibly with cows in it. Turn right on leaving the field and into the centre of Balcombe, where you can either stop for refreshments or continue straight on along the main roads back to the station (D/A).
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0 - Balcombe Station
1 : mi 1.29 - alt. mi 1.29
2 : mi 1.82 - alt. mi 1.82
3 : mi 2.94 - alt. mi 2.94 - Viaduct
4 : mi 3.96 - alt. mi 3.96
5 : mi 4.86 - alt. mi 4.86 - Balcombe Lane
6 : mi 5.03 - alt. mi 5.03 - Balcombe Lane
7 : mi 6.27 - alt. mi 6.27
8 : mi 6.7 - alt. mi 6.7
9 : mi 7.57 - alt. mi 7.57 - Forest Farm
10 : mi 8.17 - alt. mi 8.17 - Junction
11 : mi 8.59 - alt. mi 8.59
D/A : mi 9.34 - alt. mi 9.34 - Balcombe Station
Refreshments are available in Balcombe and also at the reservoir, check the opening times for the visitor centre when planning your walk.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
There's a variety of outdoor activities at Ardingly Reservoir, and the route passes a path to a bird hide at the water's edge.
It's worth spending some time at the viaduct, although most sections are fenced off, the route passes under it and there is an additional path under it at the centre in the field.
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