Ashdown Forest

Ashdown Forest
Saturday 15 March

12 miles. Moderate pace; not suitable for slow walkers.

Have you ever worried that you can’t see the wood for the trees? This circular walk solves the problem. Ashdown Forest is the wildest area of South East England. It is not a forest in the commonly-understood sense. There are wooded bits but it is mainly open heathland with tremendous views of surrounding woodland in The Weald, north to the Greensand Ridge and south to the South Downs. So it’s mostly sandy soil which in theory means it drain well. However given how much rain we’ve had, you’re recommended to wear wellies, walking boots or trainers that you don’t mind getting wet and muddy.

Ashdown Forest is away-from-it-all and difficult to reach by train which is why we rarely organise walks there. This walk takes a new approach, using the fast and frequent train service to Tunbridge Wells and then a short hop on a connecting bus to the back gate of Ashdown Forest.

In the morning we follow the Vanguard Way. Disconcertingly we drop down before climbing steeply up onto the central plateau. Kings Standing Clump is one of many clumps of trees that were planted as ornamental features; needless to say they were planted on vantage points so there are extensive views. We continue above Old Lodge Nature Reserve and past Gills Lap Clump, immortalised as Galleons Leap in the Winnie-the-Pooh books (A A Milne lived nearby). We then drop down to Newbridge before climbing up again to the often-overlooked northern ridge. We follow this to the visitor centre (loos) and then cross a valley skirting the llama park to the old Second World War airstrip. Keeping to the high ground above Chelwood Vachery we make our way back over undulating ground past Millbrook Clump, Nutley Windmill and Friends Clump to Camp Hill trig point and Crows Nest Clump before descending above Barnsgate Manor vineyard to the bus stop.

Bring a packed lunch for a picnic; we will not be passing any pubs or tea shops though there is a pub at the end if we have to wait for the bus and the possibility of tea or a drink in Tunbridge Wells before getting the train back to London.

Look out for other Cloggies about 8.45am at Charing Cross Station near the National Railways ticket office. Take the 9am train from Charing Cross to Tunbridge Wells. This train calls at Waterloo East and London Bridge. Note that I will meet you on the platform when it arrives at Tunbridge Wells at 9.57am. (If you miss this, there's another train from Charing X at 9.15am but you'll only have a few minutes to reach the bus stop opposite Platform 2 exit at Tunbridge Wells). We take the 10.15am bus to Crowborough Crow & Gate. We will be walking by about 10.45am.

Return train fare about £18 (about £12 with a Network Card or £9 with Groupsave 4). Return bus fare probably about £5. Buses back to Tunbridge Wells run at 05 and 35 minutes past each hour and trains from Tunbridge Wells back to London run every 15 minutes. Bob

Join or login to comment.

  • Julia

    Thank you, Bob, for a beautiful walk through an unusual landscape, worth going a bit out of the way for. Lovely company, superb weather, good workout, too.

    March 17, 2014

  • natalie

    Thanks a lot for a lovely day out Bob - wonderful scenery, great company... and TWO icecreams in one day - all good!

    March 17, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    can't make it as I found no one to jump start the dea battery car.

    March 15, 2014

    • natalie

      Sorry to hear that, not good at all. Take care

      March 15, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will still go but just do the walk on my own.

    March 15, 2014

  • yolinesVzla

    I won't be able to make it now. I injured my toe last night. Thanks for the info! Have a great walk!

    March 15, 2014

  • Honoria

    I'm too late to make the train.Hope to be on next walk.

    March 15, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I can make it now, so is there anyone driving or would like to share a car from South East side of London?

    March 14, 2014

  • Central London Outdoor G.

    Hi Yolines

    You can come by car but the forest doesn't have a gate - it's not a park! There's no car park so you'd just have to find somewhere safe to park at the side of the main road. The postcode and time the bus is due to arrive are in my reply to Alannah which is further down this thread. If you don't want to chance the parking, you could drive to Tunbridge Wells and park in a car park or side street then meet us at the station when the train arrives to get the bus

    Bob

    March 14, 2014

  • yolinesVzla

    Hi! I might be able to come, but I would like to do so by car. Is there a way I can meet you at the gate of the forest? Is there a place there where I could park? Any postcode I could use to get there? At what time should I meet you there? Thanks!

    March 14, 2014

  • yolinesVzla

    Hi! I might be able to come, but I would like to do so by car.

    March 14, 2014

  • yolinesVzla

    Hi!

    March 14, 2014

  • yolinesVzla

    Hi!

    March 14, 2014

  • Central London Outdoor G.

    How to find us

    most of our walks start from railway stations. We often meet near the ticket office at a London mainline station
    look out for people dressed as if they’re going on a walk (the leader may have a map!) and ask around for CLOG (Central London Outdoor Group) if you’re not sure who we are
    some members join the train at stations along the way or drive to the start of the walk. If you can’t find us, get on the train and meet us at the destination station
    if you want to contact the organiser, ring our hotline on[masked] to get their number

    March 13, 2014

  • Central London Outdoor G.

    Hi Jen

    You're welcome. But do come prepared for mud. You need a jacket that gives some protection if it rains (fingers crossed it doesn't) but most of all you need some boots, trainers or shoes that don't matter if they get very, very muddy. If you haven't worn them before then a good tip is to invest in a packet of Compeeds from Boots (these are much better than plasters if you're unlucky and get any blisters). Hope to see you all on Saturday

    Bob

    March 9, 2014

    • jen

      Hi Bob, it there a moble numberI can ring in case we cant find the group at the train station please?

      March 13, 2014

  • Central London Outdoor G.

    Hi Alannah

    You will need to find somewhere near the Crow & Gate pub, Uckfield Rd, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 3TA. This is situated on the A26 main road from Tunbridge Wells to Uckfield but is in the countryside well beyond Crowborough village if coming from the Tunbridge Wells direction. We will arrive at the nearby bus stop; it is due to arrive about 10.45am. Look out for us there

    Bob

    March 10, 2014

  • jen

    Hi this sounds great! Very new to hiking though

    March 8, 2014

10 went

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Create a Meetup Group and meet new people

Get started Learn more
Henry

I decided to start Reno Motorcycle Riders Group because I wanted to be part of a group of people who enjoyed my passion... I was excited and nervous. Our group has grown by leaps and bounds. I never thought it would be this big.

Henry, started Reno Motorcycle Riders

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy