Forest Way

Forest Way

The Forest Way is a 10-mile traffic-free shared-use path in the heart of the beautiful East Sussex countryside, running from East Grinstead to Groombridge, via Forest Row.

The Forest Way follows the path of a disused railway line and is used for walking, cycling, horse riding and the quiet enjoyment of the countryside.

About the Forest Way

The Forest Way lies within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and passes through or close to East Grinstead, Forest Row, Hartfield, Withyham and Groombridge.

The area the Forest Way runs through is part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and provides an important habitat for wildlife.

The tree-lined path takes you through the heart of the East Sussex countryside, through small fields and farms among wooded, rolling hills. It is ideal for families, less experienced and occasional cyclists, walkers, and horse riders.

There are circular trails varying in length and difficulty. Walkers may spot swallows, badger tracks deer and foxes, amongst the fields and woodlands.

Part of the Downs and Weald cycle route, the route is flat and traffic-free, making it the perfect day out for families or less experienced cyclists.

The route also passes the village of Hartfield which was the setting for the much-loved AA Milne tale Winnie the Pooh.

Forest Way Map

Nature on the Forest Way

The Forest Way is an important habitat for wildlife as a ‘green corridor’.

As you travel along the route try and spot dragonflies, newts, toads and frogs. You might see swallows, badger tracks, deer and foxes amongst the fields and woodlands.

West of Hartfield, a restored pond has been allowed to naturally regenerate. On a hot summer’s day, the area buzzes with life, and visitors will be treated to damsel and dragonflies dancing about the water, glimpses of newts, toads and frogs, and an abundance of bird song.

How to get to the Forest Way

The map references for the site are:

  • TQ402 376 (Herontye Drive, East Grinstead) to
  • TQ528 365 (Corseley Road, Groombridge)

Forest Row, Hartfield, Withyham and Groombridge are served by regular bus services.

There are train stations at East Grinstead and Eridge.

How to access to the Forest Way

The site is easily accessed by all users. The western end of the Forest Way links up with the Worth Way which extends to Three Bridges.

A flat, surfaced track runs along the entire length of the Park, providing easy access for disabled users and a great place for young children to learn to cycle in a traffic-free environment.

The Forest Way is accessible for people with disabilities. There are seats and picnic benches along the entire route and there are toilet facilities at Forest Row.

Forest Way shared-use guidelines

As this is a shared use route, users are encouraged to be respectful of others:

  • Cyclists should always take care when passing pedestrians, especially children, older or disabled people, and allow them plenty of room. Always be prepared to slow down and stop if necessary (Highway Code Rule 62).
  • Cyclists should give way to pedestrians and horse riders (Highway Code Rule H2).
  • Keep dogs on a lead when walking on a path shared with cyclists or horse riders. (Highway Code Rule 56).
  • Always keep dogs under control and in sight (Countryside Code).
  • Horse riders should restrict themselves to a walk when passing other users.

The history of Forest Way

The Forest Row railway station opened in 1866. Although a busy commuter line, it was axed with the Beeching cuts in 1966. Ironically, Dr Beeching lived near Forest Row and regularly travelled up to London on the line when he was Chairman of British Rail.

East Sussex County Council bought the line in 1971 and it was designated as a Country Park in 1974.

In 2002, following improvements to the surfaced track Forest Way became part of the National Cycle Network.

Who manages the Forest Way?

The Park is owned by East Sussex County Council and managed by the Rights of Way & Countryside Maintenance team.

Where do you park for the Forest Way?

There is a public car park and toilets at Forest Row. There is also parking available in Groombridge (see map above).

How long is the Forest Way?

The Forest Way is approximately 10 miles long or 16 kilometres long, though there are shorter sections if you want to divide up your journey.

For example, the Forest Way from east grinstead to Forest Row is approximately 3 miles long.