The Vanguard Way
The Vanguard Way is a North-South trail from East Croydon to the Sussex Coast keeping to quiet footpaths and country lanes the whole way. Between the two end points in London and Newhaven the biggest place it passes directly through is Forest Row, at the edge of Ashdown Forest. At this point there’s still forty miles to go, but from now on it’s almost pure Vanguard Way with only one small detour as the rural railway stations are situated close to the path for our connections to and from home.
Section 4 – 16 miles
This is the most challenging hike of the six, something to really test your fitness. It’s just under 16 miles in total, up and over the hills of the High Weald, with a mammoth 11 miles to cover before we get to a pub stop.
From East Grinstead we take some minor paths through fields and then a bit of the Forest Way, a stretch of disused railway line, to rejoin the Vanguard Way where we left it last time. Then it’s up into the wooded slopes and heathland of Ashdown Forest. Somewhere along the way we stop for our packed lunch. We eventually come out the other side for a well-earned afternoon pub stop.
Then it’s another hefty 4.85 miles through the rolling countryside to the end of the walk at Buxted.
It is essential to bring a packed lunch on this hike.
See the page about Rail Tickets for The Vanguard Way Sections 4 to 6 for your cheapest ticket option.
There is the usual £1 charge payable to the organizer on the day.
Full Itinerary with Estimated Timings
Meet Up: 8.45 to 9.10 a.m. by the ticket office at Victoria Station. I will be wearing the floppy hat and moustache for recognition.
If you paid me £6 in cash in advance on the previous trek for a Southern Rail group day save I will have your ticket.
If you've bought your own DaySave ticket online you can meet the group on the train, or travel from any station and meet at East Grinstead for the start of the walk.
Buy Ticket: Arrive at Victoria by 9.00 a.m. if you have to buy a ticket. Try to get in a group of 3 or 4 people in the same situation, if there are any.
Buy a single out to East Grinstead (£11.70) and a single back from Buxted (£10.20). Total price £21.90, down to £10.95 in a group of 4.
*** If you are left in a group of 1 or 2 then the organizer will subsidize your ticket by £5 from the fees collected on the hikes so far, reducing the price to £15.90. This offer does not apply to anyone joining the group on the train or at East Grinstead, however these people will not be charged the £1 organizer fee for this event. ***
Outward Travel: 9.23 a.m. train from Victoria platform 18 to East Grinstead platform 2. Arrive at 10.17.
Meet for Start of Hike: From 10.20 to 10.30 a.m. in or just outside the ticket office, Railway Approach.
Part 1: 11 miles. Maximum 5 hours including a half-hour stop for lunch and other short stops to regroup and look around.
You must bring your own packed lunch.
Afternoon Stop: A pub stop for up to 45 minutes.
Part 2: 4.85 miles. Maximum 2 hours 15 minutes.
End of Hike: Arrive at Buxted Station by 18.30.
Post-Hike Refreshment: For those with the stamina there is a pub just a short distance beyond the railway station.
Return Travel: 18:39 train from Buxted to East Croydon or hourly thereafter. Stay on for London Bridge. Change for London Victoria - 1hr 18 minutes journey time in total.