Forest Way (Part of NCN Route 21)

UPDATE December 2009: The Forest Way is now open between Hartfield & Balls Green following bridge replacement.


A 16 mile round trip along an old railway

map Click to expand map
Location Distance (KM)
A22 000
Herontye 0.265
Brambletye Crossing 3.098
A22 Forest Row 3.746
Forest Row Station 4.376
Lane crossing 7.462
Balls Green Crossing Withyham Station 11.662
Ham Bridge B2110 13.394
B2188 Near Groombridge 14.303
Groombridge Water Works 14.905

Once again, this follows the track bed of a disused railway, this time from East Grinstead towards Tunbridge Wells skirting the Ashdown Forest for some 8 miles. The start can be found at the southern end of the High Street by the roundabout, where the main road goes into the old railway cutting, Beeching Way, now used as an inner bypass. Sustrans have developed this route as part of their Millennium project. Parking is easy in one of two large car parks behind the church.

herontye The first few hundred yards are along a path within a housing estate, but once Herontye road is crossed, you are into open country with glimpses of the old Herontye house to your right. The track has recently been resurfaced  and is very pleasant to ride on. At the Start is an NCN milepost

Shortly after going under a brick bridge, Weir Wood reservoir can be seen on the right. The next landmark is the ruins of Brambletye house, which can be seen by climbing the banks to some picnic benches about 1/2 mile further on.

You have to cross over a farm road at the old Brambletye Crossing.brambletye The track then runs behind some houses to the main road. This must be crossed but since this is the main route to the coast at Eastbourne it is busy and on a bend, however a Pegasus crossing has now been installed which makes crossing here much safer. Go straight over into a farm lane, sign posted Tablehurst farm, go up past the water works and then follow the marked way which is quite narrow behind some buildings on your right. Some of which were part of the Forest Row station. A photo can be found here You soon come out onto the track bed again and cross the river medway.
The track runs behind some gardens and allotments on the right and the River Medway on the left

  Along the forest way there are a number of Sustrans National Cycle Network (NCN)
Post Near Forest Row

then out into open country. The route now runs parallel to the River Medway on the left and there are glimpses of Ashdown Forest on your

Occasionally old railway trackside furniture can be seen. 

About 3 miles after Forest Row, the railway goes under the B2026 at Hartfield and  past a station which has been converted into a private house necessitating a short diversion off the track bed or to see it how it was with the track look here. 


Hartfield Station

Old station at Hartfield

Hartfield Station

A mile later there is another old crossing and and the old Withyham station. Beware of crossing the road!Withyham Station

Compare this recent picture with the one on Kevin Murphy's site taken when the railway was still in use.Another photo can be found here.

sign In a mile, after going under another bridge the B2110 has to be crossed close to where Ham bridge has been dismantled, there is a limited amount of parking in a lay-by here. The track continues along the old trackbed but after a few hundred yards bears away when the old track joins the existing Oxted to Uckfield line. The track bears down to cross the B2188 and then continues parallel to the railway for a while before going under a small tunnel and finishing at the Groombridge - Eridge road by the waterworks Sign at Groombridge.

Steve Metcalfe ©2002-2007

Home Updated ... 12/09/2007