Sloop Inn, Bluebell Line, Sussex Border Path Figure-of-Eight

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Sloop Inn, Scaynes Hill, Bluebell Railway, Sussex Border Path Figure-of-Eight

The walk starts at the Sloop Inn and crosses farmland and woodland, with seasonal wildflowers. The first loop of the figure-of-eight crosses the River Ouse, then follows the Sussex Border Path, passing under the Bluebell Line railway, crossing Ketches Lane and continuing to Northland Farm. We then loop off to return to Ketches Lane at Town Place and cross a striking bridge on the Bluebell Line to return to the Sloop Inn. After refreshment, if you like, the walk continues to the south, crossing the Sussex Ouse Valley Way and proceeding to Butterbox Farm and towards Hammonds Farm. When we meet the Sussex Border Path again we follow it east, then north to Massetts and across Butterbox Lane to Kitt's Camp, Hammer Wood and back to the Sloop Inn. If you check the Bluebell Railway timetable you can get to see a train. The walk is flat or gently undulating. There are about ten stiles, although you can get round some.

The walk is based around the Sloop Inn, which has a good local reputation as a 'gastro-pub'. It is a proper pub, with a busy public bar, a dining-room, an open fire in winter and a beautiful garden for the summer. They serve real ales and their menu offers British Pub Classics, simple starters for snacks as well as children's meals.

The nautical names around the area such as the Sloop Inn and Bacon Wish (the name of a lock) come from the fact that the Ouse River was made navigable from the sea at Lewes to Balcombe, starting in 1787 and finished in 1812. In 1801 there were 51 registered barges. The navigation was used to transport the thousands of bricks used to construct the Balcombe railway viaduct. It was the arrival of this railway in the 1840s to Brighton, Lewes and Newhaven and later to Uckfield, which struck the final blow to the fortunes of the navigation company. By 1868 all trade above Lewes had ceased (see www.sxouse.org.uk).

The Bluebell Railway was built in about 1877, sponsored by local landowners including the Earl of Sheffield. As stations were built near the line's sponsors rather than near villages, the line was never very profitable. It was closed in 1955 but reopened in 1959 as a tourist attraction and museum (see www.bluebell-railway.com).

The Sussex Border Path is a footpath route nearly 150 miles long around the inland boundary of the county of Sussex, first devised and published in 1983 by Ben Perkins and Aeneas Mackintosh.

Town Place is a 17th Century or earlier timber-framed farmhouse, much restored, with modern redbrick infilling, west wall refaced with weather-boarding. The private garden, created in about 1990, is open for charity as part of the National Gardens Scheme (Yellow Book). It covers three acres with over 600 roses, a 45-metre herbaceous border, potager, herb garden and a ruined Romanesque church.

England - South England - West Sussex - Countryside

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Great Views, Mostly Flat, Pub, Restaurant, River, Woodland

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