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The Stanmer Skyline Walk

Summary

 A grand circuit of the skyline above Stanmer village, with woodlands and varied far reaching views, on a route originally designed for wheelchair users and so mostly firm underfoot in all seasons and with no stiles.  A few gates. 

Distance, Terrain and Time

 8.68 Km / 5.39 Miles. 2 hours,  The route climbs steadily to High Park Corner and then descends steadily.

 Obstacles

This route was designed by Brighton Council a few years ago as an ambitious wheelchair accessible route.  Quite a lot of work was put into ensuring that the surface was suitable but, to preserve the character of the area, the route was not tarmacked. Instead compacted earth was placed over hardcore  Maintenance has not been sufficient and after wet weather there can be problems.  The most serious problems were around waypoint 4, where the surface was left as grass rather than being reinforced.

 You should be aware that you will be climbing about 150 metres and that there are about 6 gates which are designed for horseriders rather than wheelchair users.  You need to be happy travelling across grass.

 Before setting out in a wheelchair contact the Parks Department for advice on the current state of the route. The contact centre is on 01273 292929.  Their opening hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: 9am - 5pm. Wednesdays: 10am - 5pm. Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays: closed

 There are other wheelchair accessible routes in Stanmer Park and they may be able to suggest an alternative route if there are problems.

 Start and finish points

 Falmer Railway station, or the bus stop at Falmer station or in Sussex University

 Getting there

 Trains run to Falmer from Brighton, Lewes, Eastbourne and Hastings.  You can catch a train to Brighton from London and many points on the south coast.

 The 28 from Lewes and Ringmer and the 29 from Tunbridge Wells and Lewes stop outside Falmer railway station.

 The 28 and 29 from Brighton stop about 100 metres after the underpass.  Walk back to join the walk.

 The 25 from Brighton and other buses running to the universities stop on the route just after the underpass.  Get off at the first stop on the campus.

 Falmer station is wheelchair accessible.  From the westbound platform you must go up a long ramp.  Buses to the start of the walk are wheelchair accessible, but the buses will not take large electric wheelchairs.

 For bus and train times see Traveline South East

 Date researched

 18/2/15

 Ordnance Survey maps

 Explorer series 122 Landranger 198  Brighton council also has its own leaflet and map which you can download.

 Refreshments

 There are numerous cafes and refectories on the university campus, most of which are wheelchair accessible.  The café in Stanmer village is off route.  The outside areas are wheelchair accessible.

 Public toilets

 Opposite the café in Stanmer village.  Wheelchair accessible.  Sometimes unexpectedly closed because of vandalism.    Lots of toilets on the university campus, many wheelchair accessible.  Toilets at Falmer station

 Route instructions

 1). If starting from Falmer station exit via the main exit on the side of the station served by trains from Brighton. Turn left and go under the underpass.  If starting from the bus stop servicing buses from Lewes go down the ramp or steps and under the underpass.

 Emerge out the underpass.  You come to a road on the Sussex university campus. (If you come by 28 or 29 bus from Brighton get off at Falmer station stop and walk back the way you came until you reach this point.)

 Turn left on the road. The road kinks to the left.  Follow it.  Pass a bus stop on the right (If you come on the 25 bus from Brighton or other buses to the universities join the walk here)

 Just after the bus stop come to a metal gate on your right.  Go round it.  You find yourself on a playing field.  Go diagonally across the field, aiming for a path that heads uphill into a wood.

 2) Enter the wood and bear slightly right, following a path with a rather rough surface.  Someone has painted the occasional yellow arrow on trees to show you the way.  The path becomes better surfaced and bears further right.

A path comes in from your right.  Bear left here and continue steadily uphill.  Pass through a gate (possible puddles after rain) and cross an open field with views on either side.  Enter the wood straight ahead.

 Continue to climb through the woods, passing a dew pond on your right.

 3) Come to a four way junction.  If you feel that you have had enough you can turn left here and head for Stanmer tea room (route normally wheelchair accessible) but to continue on the main route go straight on, gradually ascending again.

There are a couple of paths off to the right and to the left, but keep ahead on the main path as it curves left. At Highpark Corner you reach the summit of the route.  Do not exit the woods onto Ditchling Road, but keep straight ahead through the woods with the road on your right.

 You now begin to descend.  From here on your route is entirely downhill or level. Leave the woods and enter a grassy field.  When I researched the route in February 2015 this part of the route had been heavily churned up by cattle.  I have reported this to the council but you should ask them what its current state is.  The route runs along the right hand side of the field and then, by a dew pond, runs between a wood and the road.  If the main route is muddy it is possible to walk through the wood via a gate, but this way is not well surfaced.

 4) After the wood the route goes by the side of an old hedgerow.  You can go on either side.  At the end of the hedgerow you enter a wood via a gate.

 Come to a tarmac road at Upper Lodges.  You can turn left here to go down to Stanmer village for a cup of tea.  Otherwise keep straight ahead through the woods.  There is a junction.  Keep straight ahead. Do not take the path slightly to the right or the one which goes left.  Come to a car park.

 5) You need to take a bit of care leaving the car park.  Walk to the other side of it.  There are three paths.  You want the middle one.  This is a wide track that descends slowly and steadily in a straight line.  Do not take the one on the left which descends more steeply or the one on the right, which hardly descends at all.

 Finally the main path turns sharp left, just before the end of the wood.  Keep going straight ahead to emerge onto the grass of Stanmer Park.  There is no path here but you should be able to see the route that you started out on, slightly to your left.  Go across the grass aiming for the university buildings.  Regain your outward route.  You pass the 25 bus stop again. You can wait here for a bus to Brighton, but buses from here go right round both universities before returning.  If you want a bus to Lewes or beyond, turn left just before the underpass and travel about 100 metres along the side of the main road to reach the bus stop. Otherwise go under the underpass to reach Falmer railway station and the bus stop for Brighton served by all Brighton-bound buses.

 © Copyright Chris Smith except where otherwise stated and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence