Haywards Heath X

Like Haywards Heath, Balcombe gained fame through the London-Brighton railway which required a viaduct to cross the River Ouse Valley. The viaduct, completed 1841 in Italianate style, has 11 million bricks which were carried by barge along the Ouse from Scaynes Hill. Dan Foden and I enjoyed our visit which took in the dizzying sequence of support arches. What a surprise - a railway carriage stranded in the woods! It is at West Grinstead on the Downs Link, a long distance path open to walkers, horse riders and cyclists following an old railway line that closed in the 1960's. The path links the North Downs Way in Surrey to the South Downs Way north of Shoreham-by-sea. We found it a great place to walk just 20min drive from Haywards Heath to the free car park on the A272 past Cowfold.

Haywards Heath IX

  Regularly enjoying walks - even in rain and snow - through the water gardens at Wakehurst Place where, for a price, you can be guaranteed foot hold on flat solid paths. An early 20th century creation, including woodland and wetland conservation areas, the extensive gardens are owned by the National Trust but managed by Kew who run Wakehurst’s Millennium Seed Bank (2000). The Bank collects and conserves seeds from all of the UK's native flora and much of the world's flora to save species from extinction in the wild. The gardens, among the largest in the UK at 490 acres, thankfully continue to welcome visitors taking the exercise allowed in lockdown.   A short drive or bus journey from Haywards Heath, Wakehurst Place contains exciting items like this Australian ‘dinosaur tree’ alias Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis) seen in 200 million year old fossils but believed to be extinct. In 1994 a ranger came across the pine abseiling 600 metres down into a gorge in Australia’s Wollemi N

Haywards Heath VIII (walks)

  Abbots Leigh house (1892) built by an aide of Queen Victoria recalls a village near Bristol and a hymn tune composed there in 1942 by villager Cyril Taylor for ‘Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken‘ to replace use of the German national anthem. It is a hidden treasure of Haywards Heath with a facade visible only from the footpath which circles the estate. That footpath descends from Lewes Road to the right of North Colwell Barn opposite the path up from Lyoth Lane via Cobbetts Mead. The woodland path past the Barn opens into a large well mown meadow. Follow the path down through the fields as it curves round Abbots Leigh revealed in all its splendour to viewers on the path in the bottom field. After enjoying the view enter the wood and continue through to enter Slugwash Lane opposite Cottage of Content. Turn left to walk up Slugwash Lane to Lewes Road. Turn left again to walk along the verge before crossing the road into Snowdrop Lane then left back down to Lyoth Lane. At the bottom of


Whilst the purpose of this blog is to celebrate and engage people online with the life and history of Haywards Heath and its surrounds the author has no commercial interest. In broadcasting previous work to that of his own his aim is to celebrate that work whilst drawing out corrections to the town’s history from those more informed than himself.  Since October 2018 the author has published six collections of blog posts, pictures with 100-150 word captions, roughly one post a week on Instagram, Twitter and the following Facebook Groups: Haywards Heath Gossip, NEW Haywards Heath Gossip, Memories of Haywards Heath, Haywards Heath in days gone by and Bentswood Community Partnership (BCPHH). The author serves on BCPHH and on Haywards Heath Town Team. The latter team has been instrumental in raising the profile of town history linked to a forthcoming September 2020 celebration though the views expressed on this blog are his alone. The author recognises the substantive inspiration t