THE Vanguard Way

Please note: this route was created by the Vanguard Way Association, we have adapted it into sections linking to transport and accommodation.

Part 3  Lingfield to Forest Row

Weekend hike: Day 1 9.1 miles


You can follow this walking route on a weekend away or join it up with other sections of the Vanguard Way National Trail. Starting from sleepy Lingfield station, head along pavements and quickly out of town along fairly well-marked paths through dappled woods (more bluebells, when in season!) and fields to Forest Row. Overnight accommodation and food suggestions below.


The route is fairly flat at first, following footpaths through fields, then it climbs gently uphill and continues a long roughly straight track before descending towards Forest Row. If you want to return via East Grinstead station at this point, turn right along the Sussex Border Path which transects the Vanguard Way just before Forest Row, and walk 3 miles along a disused railway line to the station.

Route details

Start Lingfield Station
End Forest Row
OS Route   Vanguard way Lingfield to Forest Row
Difficulty Easy
Length 9.1 miles (14.6km)
Average time 4-5 hours
Total ascent 918ft


Accommodation & food

The Swan
1 Lewes Rd, Forest Row, East Sussex RH18 5CR
We didn’t stay here as we were at the cheaper (but none too salubrious) Chequers Inn. The Swan has 6 boutique guestrooms and the staff are extremely welcoming. The traditional pub food is also recommended.

Hop Yard Brewing Co
Forest Row, East Sussex RH18 5AA
Great place for cocktails, stone baked pizzas,  pool and music. A lot of fun and very friendly.

Part 3  Forest Row to Buxted

Day 2 11.77 miles


The route climbs steadily to the stunning heathland of Ashdown Forest with East Croydon (the start of the trail) feeling a very long way in the rearview mirror. The open gorse heathland of Ashdown Forest covers the majority of the route. Clear paths and tracks then meander down gently towards Buxted.


There’s a steep climb at the start of the route out of Forest Row. Leaving the town,  the path skirts around the edge of a large golf course before climbing up into Ashdown Forest with a steep ascent up to Gills Lap. You then follow a ridge which crosses the B2026 twice and heads back onto heathland. After that, the path descends over the A26 and back into quiet woods and fields.

Route details

Start Forest Row
End Buxted Station
OS Route   Vanguard way  Forest Row to Buxted
Difficulty Hard
Length 11.77 miles (22.5km)
Average time 6 hours
Total ascent 1420ft