Fox Hill Walk – January 2016
by Les Campbell
Enjoy the wild side of Haywards Heath on this 3.5 mile circular. Woodland paths, a few uphills and a little boggy area make for an exciting ramble to blow the January cobwebs away.
This 3.5 mile walk from Fox Hill on the B2112 south of Haywards Heath is along mainly woodland paths and established tracks and an attractive area of semi parkland. There is a feeling of remoteness for much of the walk which is surprising given the close proximity of the urban conurbation of Haywards Heath.
Opposite the Fox and Hounds pub, walk along Hurstwood Lane for about 300 yards then go right into Colwell Lane. Go through a metal barrier, and in about 200 yards, go right on an obvious track through woodland. This path through to Slugwash Lane, is not marked for much of the route so I advise following the instructions carefully to hopefully avoid getting lost and to carry a map!
Just before reaching a wooden gate, side step to your left and go over a stile and into a field.
Cross the middle of the field and into another short section of woodland through a gap by a fence. Leave the woodland by a stile and cross the next field on a rather thinly defined path to the third section of woodland. Go over another stile and drop down some steps and through a short boggy area then pick up the path through the wood. Cross a stream on a small footbridge, and follow the obvious path ahead uphill.
At the top of the hill turn right as indicated by a waymark attached to a post. Follow this obvious path along a wide track through the wood, and on reaching a field, follow the left hand edge out to Slugwash Lane. Turn left along Slugwash Lane shortly passing the buildings of Home Farm on your left. Look for a signed path on your left, opposite the Old Farmhouse. Follow this path uphill through woodland. Eventually, leave the wood and go over a stile and into a field. Keep close to a metal fence bearing right around the grounds of Abbots Leigh. This large country house was built in 1892 by an aide-de-camp of Queen Victoria.
At the top of the field, go over a stile and into another field and keep slightly left on a thinly defined path across pasture. Go over another stile and follow a wide path ahead through an area best described as parkland. Cross a drive and carry on ahead between trees to pick up a narrow fenced path which leads you out to the A272.
On reaching the A272, cross the road carefully to the pavement opposite and turn left. Opposite Foxglove House, turn left into Colwell Lane. The lane is initially tarmacked, with properties on either side. At a metal barrier, carry on ahead on a wide track with Hurst Wood on your left. Eventually join your outbound route and follow this back to your car and no doubt much needed refreshment!
Map: Ordnance Survey Map no. 135
Parking: Roadside parking in Hurstwood Lane
Refreshments: Fox and Hounds pub
Public Transport: Sussex Bus route 40 from Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath