Downs Link Six stage route guide



2 NORTH DOWNS WAY SOUTH DOWNS WAY Six stage route Stage 1 A The Downs Link follows the route of a 2 5 disused railway line and is enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. West Sussex County Council, Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council manage this long distance, mainly off-road route. Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 How to use this guide Welcome to the Downs Link. We have divided this 59km (37 mile) route up into 6 sections. The sections are between 6km and 11km (4 to 7 miles). So you can decide to visit the Downs Link in sections, or do Stage 5 it one go! The Downs Link is a good introduction to long distance walking over a weekend or a full day’s ride. Stage 6 Cyclists must give way to walkers and horse riders. The Downs Link is easily accessed, and the route is waymarked. While this provides a useful guide Ordance Survey maps are recommended. Crown copyright. © All rights reserved. West Sussex County Council. 100023447.

3 NORTH DOWNS WAY SOUTH DOWNS WAY Downs Link This long distance bridleway was opened in 1984. It connects the North Downs Way and South Downs Way National Trails. You can also pick up other long distance routes such as the Wey-South Path, Sussex Border Path and National Cycle Network numbers 2 and 22. The Downs Link is important for wildlife, providing shelter, food and an important corridor for wildlife to migrate along. You can join the northern end of the route at St Martha’s Hill, Guildford Surrey. For an alternative flatter route, join the Shalford Park cycle route from Guildford town centre, which is in easy reach of the train station. This will link up with the Downs Link at Broadford Road, Shalford. The southern end of the route can be found at Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. There are also plenty of opportunities to join the Downs Link somewhere in between. The Hundred Years Railway The railway line was built in two sections. The Horsham and Guildford Direct Railway Company built the northern section, which opened in 1865. This went from Guildford to Christ’s Hospital. The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway built the southern section from Itchingfield junction, near Christ’s Hospital, to the Sussex coastal town of Shoreham-by-Sea. This was opened in 1861. Local communities and industries such as Southwater Brickworks relied on this railway line, did people from the cities who wanted a trip to the coast. But in 1966 the country lost around 4,000 thousand miles of railway line. These closures were recommended by Lord Beeching in his infamous Beeching Report. 100 years after the opening of this railway line, it was closed. Blue Circle Cement near Shoreham kept a short section open to move cement to Shoreham harbour until the 1980s. This train is an M7 tank, push pull set. It is running on the Brighton to Horsham line, adjacent to the A283 Old Shoreham Road and is approaching Shoreham toll bridge from the South. Looking north from West Grinstead Station circa 1960

4 NORTH DOWNS WAY SOUTH DOWNS WAY The Wealden Landscape Christ’s Hospital Station can be found a few The Downs Link passes through a landscape miles south of Slinfold. This is the Arun Valley that took shape around 25 million years ago Line where you can pick up Southern operated when the great Wealden dome rose above the railway services between Three Bridges and Ford. sea. The dome gradually eroded to form a basin, with the North and South Downs facing each South of this train station is Southwater village. other across the Weald. As you travel across the The local community relied heavily on the Weald, the scenery changes. This is because of brickwork industry until the clay pits closed in the different layers of rock and soil types, which the 1980s. The clay pits were then transformed in support different plants. to Southwater Country Park. In the centre of the village stands a sculpture of an Iguanodon, based on a dinosaur fossil found in the Southwater clay in the 1920s. The Downs Link passes by the village of Henfield and the small country town of Steyning as it enters the River Adur flood plain. Both these communities sit on low bluffs or cliffs of upper greensand. The river cuts through the South Downs at Shoreham gap, a gap in the Downs St Martha’s Hill is made of sandstone, part of the near Botolphs. The arable fields and grasslands greensand ridge. It has acid sandy soils, so the in this area are surrounded by ‘rifes’ or drainage woodland here is dominated by oak, with hazel, ditches. holly, hawthorn and bluebells in spring. At this point the Downs Link heads on to The sand and clay of the Wealden basin supports Shoreham-by-Sea. Amazingly, the surrounding ash and oak, with hawthorn hedges. Once meadows and farm land were once part of over the Tilling Bourne near Chilworth the soil the Adur estuary until the 14th Century. Today, becomes marshy in places so marsh-loving trees they are home to a wide variety of plants and can be found, such as alder, poplar and willow. animals. These tidal waters rise and fall from 0.4 metres mid lunar cycle, to as much as 6.7 metres Further south, the land gently rises and the with the spring tides! This creates rich feeding Downs Link crosses the acid sandy soils of grounds for birds, mammals and insects. the Blackheath area. Here heather and gorse compete with birch, oak and pine. Between the County border and Slinfold in West Sussex, the route crosses the Low Weald clays, which has pockets of hard sandstone known as ‘Horsham Slab’. This used to be a popular material for roofing. You can still see it on some houses today. The woodland of the heavy clay soil is favoured by the green woodpecker and the great and lesser-spotted woodpeckers, with nightingales and many species of warbler using the scrubby undergrowth. Nightingale

5 NORTH DOWNS WAY SOUTH DOWNS WAY Maps and Distances Ordnance Survey Maps These maps cover the Downs Link route: Landranger Series 1:50,000 Sheet Numbers: 186, 187, 198 Explorer Series 1:25,000 Sheet Numbers: 122, 134, 145 Conversion 1 kilometre = 0.63 mile: 1 mile = 1.6 kilometres Kilometres Southwater Shoreham Christ’s Hospital Botolphs Slinfold Bramber Rudgwick Henfield Baynards Partridge Green Cranleigh West Grinstead Run Common Copsale Bramley Chinthurst Hill St.Martha’s 29.9 St.Martha’s 53.6 52.2 44.5 40.8 37.3 34.6 33.1 58.7 24.8 21.1 19.2 14.4 10.4 6.6 4.6 25.3 39.9 47.6 49 54.1 16.5 14.6 9.8 5.8 2.0 4.6 Chinthurst Hill 20.2 32.7 28.5 36.2 50 18.2 52.1 6.6 2.0 3.8 7.8 12.6 14.5 Bramley 23.3 26.5 28 30.7 34.2 37.9 45.6 47 10.7 30.4 34.1 41.8 43.2 48.3 22.7 19.5 14.4 24.2 8.8 4 3.8 5.8 10.4 Run Common 26.9 10.4 44.3 37.8 30.1 26.4 22.9 20.2 18.7 15.5 39.2 6.7 4.8 4 7.8 9.8 Cranleigh 14.4 10.7 13.9 15.4 18.1 21.6 25.3 33 34.4 39.5 Baynards 19.2 14.6 12.6 8.8 4.8 1.9 5.6 8.8 Rudgwick 16.5 14.5 10.7 6.7 1.9 3.7 21.1 12 13.5 16.2 19.7 23.4 31.1 32.5 37.6 9.8 12.5 16 19.7 27.4 28.8 33.9 5.1 Slinfold 8.3 3.7 5.6 10.4 14.4 18.2 20.2 24.8 28.8 22.3 14.6 10.9 7.4 4.7 3.2 23.7 8.8 10.7 15.5 19.5 23.3 25.3 29.9 Christ’s Hospital 5.1 8.3 3.2 1.5 4.2 7.7 11.4 19.1 20.5 25.6 Southwater 33.1 28.5 26.5 22.7 18.7 13.9 12 9.8 24.1 17.6 9.9 6.2 2.7 1.5 4.7 19 13.5 15.4 20.2 24.2 28 30 34.6 Copsale 2.7 3.5 7.2 14.9 16.3 21.4 West Grinstead 37.3 32.7 30.7 26.9 22.9 18.1 16.2 12.5 7.4 4.2 16 17.9 40.8 36.2 34.2 30.4 26.4 21.6 19.7 Partridge Green 10.9 7.7 6.2 3.5 3.7 11.4 12.8 23.4 14.6 9.9 7.2 3.7 7.7 9.1 14.2 11.4 25.3 30.1 34.1 37.9 39.9 44.5 Henfield 19.7 27.4 6.5 7.7 11.4 14.9 17.6 19.1 22.3 1.4 31.1 33 37.8 41.8 45.6 47.6 52.2 Bramber 28.8 23.7 20.5 19 16.3 12.8 9.1 1.4 5.1 Botolphs 53.6 49 47 43.2 39.2 34.4 32.5 54.1 5.1 17.9 21.4 24.1 25.6 28.8 33.9 37.6 39.5 44.3 48.3 52.1 14.2 58.7 Shoreham 6.5 For further information about the Downs Link, the countryside, or how to become a Volunteer Ranger please contact: West Sussex Waverley Borough Council, Surrey County Council, County Council The Burys, County Hall, Penryhyn Road, Sustainable Development, Godalming, Kingston-upon-Thames, The Grange, Tower Street Surrey Surrey Chichester GU7 1HR KT1 2DN West Sussex Tel: 01483 523392 Tel: 03456 009009 PO19 1RH Tel: 01243 777620

6 NORTH DOWNS WAY SOUTH DOWNS WAY Downs Link - Stage 1 Grid Ref: TQ 032 484 to TQ 031 420 St Martha’s Hill – Bramley – Run Common – 10.5km (6.5 miles) near Guildford is St Martha’s Hill 175m above sea level. It is named after the original Norman Parish Church built on this site. Many paths cross here so look closely for the Downs Link signs. Chinthurst Hill has a folly, which can be visited by the public. In Tannery Lane the modern bridge was built over the railway, on top of a bridge that crosses the Wey and Arun Canal. The Downs Link joins the old railway line here. Blackheath – 85% of Surrey heathland has been lost since 1762. Careful removal of some trees has restored much of the heather. Parts of the area are now designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest to protect the animals and plants that live there. – The Canal was in The Wey and Arun Canal operation from 1816 to 1868. Traffic moved to rail then road. The route shares the Wey South Path here. Bramley – A pleasant village with shops and buses. The Old Railway Station provides parking and tourist information. Getting Started By Rail – the nearest railway station to St Martha’s is Chilworth. You can check train times with National Rail Enquiries: 08457 484950 By Bus – call 0871 200 22 33 - 7am - 10pm, everyday. Please check bus times before setting off as some buses stop running early. By Car – From Guildford or Horsham follow the A281 to Shalford, then follow the A248. Then 1.5 km after Chilworth Railway Station, turn left into the narrow Guildford Lane. There is a car park about 1.2 km along the lane. Crown copyright. © All rights reserved. West Sussex County Council. 100023447.

7 NORTH DOWNS WAY SOUTH DOWNS WAY Downs Link - Stage 2 Grid Ref: TQ 031 420 to TQ 087 333 Run Common – Cranleigh – Baynards – Rudgwick 10.8km (6.7 miles) When the railway closed in 1966, the cleared banks started to return to woodland. Railway lines can be rich in wildlife, acting as corridors linking different wildlife areas, or habitat together. Between Bramley and Slinfold, Waverley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council have been actively managing the banks. Small areas of trees are periodically cut back, a system called coppicing, to diversify the woodland structure. This encourages more wildflowers to grow, and in turn benefits animals like butterflies, small mammals and bird life. Baynards Station – The last train ran through here on 14th June 1965. Now privately owned, it is the only restored station on the route. Rudgwick – 13th Century church, Wealden cottages, shops and pubs. The Medical Centre stands on the site of the old station. Getting Started By Rail – There are railway stations at Guildford, Shalford and Christ’s Hospital: 0845 7484950 By Bus – call 0871 200 22 33 - 7am - 10pm, everyday. Please check bus times before setting off as some buses stop running early. – From Guildford or Horsham take the A281 to the By Car turn-off between Grafham and Birtley Green to Rowly and Cranleigh. After 1.2km park in the lay-by just after the bridge over the Downs Link. Crown copyright. © All rights reserved. West Sussex County Council. 100023447.

8 NORTH DOWNS WAY SOUTH DOWNS WAY Downs Link - Stage 3 Grid Ref: TQ 087 333 to TQ 161 259 Rudgwick – Slinfold – Christ’s Hospital – Southwater 12km (7.5 miles) Getting Started By Rail – Railway stations are at Horsham and Christ’s Hospital 08457 484950 – call 0871 200 22 33 - 7am - 10pm, By Bus everyday. Please check bus times before setting off as some buses stop running early. – Follow the A281 from Guildford By Car or Horsham to Bucks Green. Then take the B2128 to Rudgwick. Take the first turn left Shortly after leaving after the bridge into Station Road. Access Rudgwick the trail crosses to the Downs Link is via Station Road or the the busy A281 (please take Medical Centre car park care). 500m after this road crossing you will reach the Double Bridge, the emblem of the Downs Link. view point There is a on the east side of the path. The bridge was built in 1865 to take the trains across the River Arun. The upper span was added because the Board of Trade decided the gradient was too steep to reach Rudgwick station. The embankments were raised and the iron girder bridge was built over the brick arch. Slinfold Village has a pub and a shop which can be reached by turning left along Spring Lane (400m beyond the A29 road bridge). To avoid back tracking rejoin the trail via Hayes Lane. 2km south of Hayes Lane the route passes under the A264 road. Leave the old railway at the next bridge. The trail first heads right, over the bridge, and then left on to the road (take care as there is a sharp bend here). After Weston’s Farm Shop take the next left 1km further on lies the along Christ’s Hospital Road. On crossing the working Bax Castle, 15th Century railway line turn immediately right towards Christ’s pub. Access to the garden Hospital School. Before you reach the gates turn right is on the left after you have so you are parallel to the working train line. At the end passed under the road bridge. of the playing field look for a sign to the right, to bring you back on to the route. Southwater is another 1km south. Pass under the road Christ’s Hospital School – The ‘Bluecoat’ school bridge and turn right for came to West Sussex in 1902. The school provides the bus stop in Worthing Road or go straight over the education for children from all walks of life. Parents crossing towards the shops. pay according to means. The buildings were designed by Aston Webb and Ingress Bell. This school also has In 2006, Southwater village underwent a £25 million a theatre, which has frequent performances of music redevelopment. It now has more shops and facilities to and drama. Crown copyright. © All rights reserved. West Sussex County Council. 100023447. serve the local community and its visitors.

9 NORTH DOWNS WAY SOUTH DOWNS WAY Downs Link - Stage 4 Grid Ref: TQ 161 259 to TQ 206 162 Southwater – Partridge Green – Henfield 11.4km (7.1 miles) Southwater Country Getting Started covers 36 hectares Park – Railway stations are at Christ’s By Rail (90 acres) and was Hospital or Horsham 08457 484950 opened in 1985. The land – call 0871 200 22 33 - 7am - By Bus was farmed until 1889 when the underlying clay was used to 10pm, everyday. Please check bus times make bricks. When the clay pit before setting off as some buses stop was exhausted, Horsham District running early. Council developed the park to – From Horsham or Worthing via By Car provide a range of amenities. A24. Follow the signs for Southwater Country Park. Access to the country park The visitor centre has information, car park is from Station Road South. displays, changing rooms and toilet facilities. There is also a café, which is open at weekends, school holidays and at limited times in the winter. Please take care crossing Cripplegate Lane (road southeast of Southwater Country Park). Cars go deceptively fast. Join the Downs Link at Stakers Lane. The route to West Grinstead passes under the A24, and through Copsale. West Grinstead Station yard is now a car park and picnic site. Original railway houses remain, but the bridge carrying the A272 has been replaced. The railway carriage information centre is open some Sundays. There is an orchard to the south west of the car park where you will also find The Orchard Family Restaurant. At Partridge Green the trail joins the B2135. Turn left for the pub and shops or right to continue. Follow the B2135 for 500m before turning left to Homelands Farm. After 100m turn right to rejoin the track. The Downs Link moves on to Henfield across the open plains. Chanctonbury Ring can be seen to the southwest and there are good views of the South Downs. The route leaves the track by the Cat and Canary pub. To reach the village turn left on to Upper Station Road which becomes Church Street. After 900m you will reach the High Street. The Downs Link however, continues south from the car park down Station Road. Turn right at the bottom of the hill into Hollands Lane and then left on to the Downs Link. Crown copyright. © All rights reserved. West Sussex County Council. 100023447.

10 NORTH DOWNS WAY SOUTH DOWNS WAY Downs Link - Stage 5 Grid Ref: TQ 206 162 to TQ 185 105 Henfield – Steyning – Bramber 7.7km (4.8 miles) was once the Henfield The Cat and Canary Pub is a delightful country town nestling Steyning Station Hotel. Just south of here the station site is beneath the South Downs. Its Norman Church, now a small housing estate known as ‘Beechings’, timber framed 15th Century houses, shops, pubs an ironic reference to Dr Beeching the (Minister and museum are well worth a visit. It is 1km from responsible for closing 4,000 miles of railway in the Downs Link. 1966). is the ruins of a Norman Fortress Bramber Castle The route rolls out onto the flood plains of the built around year 1070 by William De Braose to River Adur, with more fine views of the South protect an important port on the River Adur. It is Downs. After crossing the Adur near Stratham thought to have been destroyed during the Civil War. Manor, walkers have the option of following the river bank south to Botolphs. Those on horse or bicycle must follow the waymarked route as it joins Kingsbarn Lane and then Kingstone Avenue through the Steyning suburbs. At the junction with Castle Lane you have a choice of continuing straight on along the narrow road to Bramber Castle or turning right towards De Braose Way, where the route comes out next to the A283. Follow this off-road designated path which also leads to Bramber Castle. The original railway ran through Steyning and Bramber but the track is now part of the Steyning Bypass (A283). The last passenger train left Steyning in 1966 carrying a wreath on its buffers reading: “In loving memory of the faithful”. Getting Started By Rail – Railway stations are at Horsham, Christ’s Hospital and Shoreham-by-Sea 08457 484950 By Bus – call 0871 200 22 33 - 7am - 10pm, everyday. Please check bus times before setting off as some buses stop running early. By Car – From Horsham follow the A281 to Henfield. At the White Hart turn right into Church Street, leading to Upper Station Road. Park next to the Cat and Canary Pub. Crown copyright. © All rights reserved. West Sussex County Council. 100023447.

11 NORTH DOWNS WAY SOUTH DOWNS WAY Downs Link - Stage 6 Grid Ref: TQ 185 105 to TQ 208 060 Bramber – Botolphs – Shoreham-by-Sea 6.6km (4.1 miles) River Adur valley Follow the trail south along the help raise money to renovate the bridge. It was as it cuts through the South Downs. You will be officially re-opened on 23rd October 2008 by the greeted by the smell of the sea. Take care crossing Duke of York. the busy A283. Carry on past the toll bridge until you reach the In Saxon times the estuary was navigable as far as end of the Downs Link. which also brings you out Steyning, where there was a at Shoreham High Street, from where you can pick busy port and ship building up the National Cycle Network number 2. East industry. During the 14th leads to Brighton and West to Worthing. For more Century the river began information go to www. to silt up, the port moved Getting Started south to Botolphs – the nearest railway station By Rail and then Shoreham. The church at Botolphs shows to Bramber is Shoreham-by-Sea 08457 Saxon work and is worth a visit. 484950 – call 0871 200 22 33 - 7am - By Bus The trains crossed the Adur at 10pm, everyday. Please check bus Coombes . The railway company had times before setting off as some to display a light at night on the bridge buses stop running early. for ships. The penalty for not doing so By Car – From Horsham follow the was £10 per night! This section of the A281 to Henfield, the A2037 and A283 railway was used by the cement works to Steyning and Bramber. Turn right to carry freight to Shoreham and was into Bramberand park opposite the not closed until 1981. Castle Hotel. There is also some parking dominates Lancing College Chapel at Bramber Castle. Walk back to the the landscape to the west. The roundabout to pick up the Downs Link college was founded in 1848 by the Revd Nathaniel Woodard. In 1978 the Rose Window was installed in the chapel. It spans 9.75m with 30,000 pieces of stained glass. The land to the south, once salt marsh, is now the site of Shoreham Airport . is the meeting point of the South Downs Botolphs Way and the Downs Link. Cross the bridge to complete the journey to Shoreham. escaped to France from Shoreham King Charles II in 1642 aboard the “Surprise” after his defeat at Worcester. He was just 21 years old. Shoreham Airport was built in 1910, the very first civil airport in the world! was originally built in 1781 to The Old Toll Bridge replace the ferry, which was a flat raft! Then in 1847 a new toll bridge was built to carry trains. It even became the A27 and had double deckers driving across until it was closed to traffic in 1968. In 2001, The Old Shoreham Community Trust was set up in partnership with West Sussex County Council to Crown copyright. © All rights reserved. West Sussex County Council. 100023447.

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