Jeffers, Countrybhoy and I undertook this walk on Friday. We took Charlie along virtually, so that he could vicariously enjoy this foray into the snowy wastes (more to his liking than mine usually!). I am posting rather a lot of pics, so that he can walk the route with us; I hope you don't mind.
The exit from Gatwick Airport was oddly unmarked; but the signpost is just visible.
Here are Jeffers and Countrybhoy at the start of the walk.
The airport didn't let us stray far from the path.
Even the graffiti on the bridge seemed somehow to mock our endeavours.
When we eventually left the airport complex, it was unexpectedly muddy.
But there was wildlife, surprisingly close to human habitation.
Behind the houses on the main road, the Coppingham Arms is now Jai Ho.
We turned off here to follow Peeks Brook.
But we were never very far from either airport or motorway.
In fact these were the sounds of the first hour or so of the walk.
But we followed the track, passing through an industrial area,
behind Gatwick Manor, with its frozen streams and ponds,
and onto farmland,
leading to the village of Burston. This is me in front of Burston Church.
The road from Burston entered open country at last
with animals managing to graze in the snow.
The next stretch was pretty uninteresting photographically. You can just see the path.
So I concentrated on the footprints. This is a chicken.
And this is a pheasant. You can see where the trailing toe has scraped.
This is Jeffers' and Countrybhoy's footprints.
And this is clearly a velociraptor. Or an ostrich. I'm not that sure.
But this is definitely a panther.
You can see that many people have walked this way before us.
Maybe because it leads to The Cherry Tree - the place to be on Valentine's Eve.
We turned off this path onto Clayhill Lane, which leads to an old farmhouse.
But we then had to turn off the drive through this . . .
In fact the path here had become a river,
probably an overflow, since the houses had bridges to their gardens.
There was a short delay at Copthorne Common, as we tried to cross the A264.
Safely across the road, Jeffers was suddenly unsure which direction to go.
If you look closely, you can see the sign warning of deer and panthers, Aha!
The hunters enjoy other pursuits these days. This is a polo horsebox.
At the end of this track, there was a nice view,
before it led into the beautiful 16th century Rowfont House,
now a restaurant and wedding venue.
At the end of the drive was a stump, continually splashed by passing vehicles.
We crossed over here into the Rowfont Sawmills,
onto the old Crawley to East Grinstead railway track,
eventually passing under one of the old road bridges,
to the Royal Oak at Crawley Down for lunch and a welcome pint of Sussex.
Satiated and warmed, we walked past newer houses, built on the old railway,
and into some spectacular open country.
Maybe it was the break, or just the open space, but it was suddenly colder here
Even the flood waters were frozen.
We were pleased to return to the shelter of the railway cutting.
An interesting signpost, indictating the Crawley Down/East Grinstead walk.
But could this be the station car park?
We crossed the bridge . . .
and there indeed, suddenly, was our destination, East Grinstead station.
I hope you enjoyed that, Charlie. The walk was just over 18 kms.