We met at 8.30am at Horsted Keynes and travelled north to East Grinstead. As it was a Saturday the parking at the station was not free, but we found a slightly cheaper long stay car park nearer to the town centre, which was actually closer to our official start point.
My day started off badly, as I had trouble working the ticket machine (it was one of those that requires the car registration, and the sun was shining on the screen so I couldn’t read the instructions properly). Then, when I had finally extracted the ticket from the machine, I couldn’t locate my car keys. After emptying everything out of my coat pockets and rucksack, I eventually found them in my sleeveless fleece pocket, that I was wearing under my coat. I must say that Anne remained remarkably patient during my ‘senior moment’!
Finally we were ready to start our walk, initially though a very festive East Grinstead town centre. It is really quite an attractive town, with many magnificent old buildings, including Sackville College. This is a Jacobean almshouse and was founded in 1609 with money left by Robert Sackville, 2nd Sackville, 2nd Earl of Dorset. Throughout its history it has provided sheltered accommodation for the elderly.
Reaching a large roundabout junction with the A22, we turned off the road onto the Forest Way cycle path, formally an old railway line. We are more familiar with this path at its other end, near Groombridge, where we sometimes meet for walks. The going was flat and straight, and we quickly covered the 1.5km to an attractive stone bridge.
After crossing a footbridge we walked along the edge of two fields, which were a bit wet underfoot. The dogs had a mad moment chasing each other around – over 3km into our walk and this was the first time we had enjoyed grass under our feet.
Walking through the village