Best for beautiful gardens

Balcombe to Wakehurst loop

Balcombe, West Sussex 5 miles

HIGHLIGHTS

Wakehurst Place  l Balcombe Lake l Balcombe Village

Introduction

This beautiful loop walk takes you over the rolling hills of West Sussex, through woods and fields to the botanic gardens at Wakehurst. There is a public footpath across the gardens, but if you want to head off the path or visit the house and fascinating Millennium Seed Bank, you can purchase a ticket online before you come or pay locally at the ticket office near the top of the estate.

Directions overview

An easy walk, initially though Balcombe village and then onto footpaths descending through woodland to a wooden walkway across a spring (please note, this walkway can flood in very wet weather). From here, you’ll head through peaceful countryside to the Wakehurst Estate. Coming back from Wakehurst, there’s a different, equally pretty route back to Balcombe station.

Route details

Start/End Balcombe Station Southern Railway
OS Route  WALKING POST Balcombe to Wakehurst loop
Difficulty Easy
Length 5.1 miles (8.2km)
Average time 3 hours
Total ascent 642ft
Walking Post Balcombe to wakehurst walk

Crossing the Spring near Balcombe Lake

Walking Post Balcombe to wakehurst walk

Footpath Entrance to Wakehurst

Walking Post Balcombe to wakehurst walk

Wakehurst House

Walking Post Balcombe to wakehurst walk

Wakehurst Gardens

Walking Post Balcombe to wakehurst walk

Chalk Track Down to Woodward's Farm

Walking Post Balcombe to wakehurst walk

Balcombe Lake

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WHY NOT TRY

BY CAR

BALCOMBE STATION
Car park London Road RH7 6JQ Balcombe
Park and walk from Balcombe station, free after 4pm and at weekends.

WAKEHURST
Wakehurst Selsfield Rd, Haywards Heath RH17 6TN
Plenty of parking for paying visitors.

ALSO VISIT

ARDINGLY RESERVOIR
This large reservoir near Balcombe has a pleasant footpath around two sides of the water and picnic spots on the way.

TRANSPORT

Balcombe  station is on the Brighton line  and there are frequent trains from London Blackfriars, London Bridge, East Croydon and Brighton. 

 

TOILET OPPORTUNITIES

Balcombe station has public toilets and Wakehurst has many toilets for customers.

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ALONG THE WAY

Wakehurst 
Previously known as Wakeurst Place, this estate is owned by the National Trust and managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It comprises a late 16th century mansion, 500-acre botanical gardens and the Millenium Seed Bank, plus café, shop and facilities.

 

Millenium Seed Bank
This is biggest off-site conservation programme in the world. The building has enormous underground frozen vaults which preserve a staggering 2.4 billion seeds from around the world. On the ground floor level, there is an informative visitor centre and on most weekdays  you can see scientists at work behind glass screens in the labs.

FOOD AND DRINK

The Half Moon Inn Balcombe
Haywards Heath Rd, Balcombe,  RH17 6PA
Small, but perfectly formed pub with limited tables outside. Good food and drink

Balcombe Tea Rooms
Hope Cottage, Bramble Hill, Balcombe, Haywards Heath RH17 6HR
Homemade cakes, friendly owners, and filling sandwiches.

Wakehurst
Wakehurst Selsfield Rd, Haywards Heath RH17 6TN
Stables Kitchen and Pantry
Serving a range of hot drinks and snacks to eat in or take away.

Seeds Café
A quick-stop for teas, coffee, cakes and sandwiches.