Sussex walks // actually, a bike ride along the Forest Way
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That feeling of waking up slowly and knowing that the day is yours. There are no time pressures, no expectations, no pressing jobs to do. It's a wonderful, wonderful thing. But yet these days these type of days are few and far between, we put so much pressure on ourselves to tick something else off our to do list or to keep up with that social media day. As I have workaholic tendencies I make a point of taking Sundays off - no social media (except maybe the odd peek at Twitter in the morning and evening!), no email and sometimes I turn my phone off. And I refuse to feel guilty about it - we all need time off to refresh our brains to allow us to be our best the other 6 days of the week.

It's tempting when you take a day off to catch up on chores, 'potter' about the house, procrastinate on mowing the lawn or to catch up on Orange is the New Black but when you out all of that outside and venture out for some REAL you time you realise how much you needed it and you feel renewed.

I adore walking but there is something about cycling that is revitalising and exciting. The world passing you by and the air is fast and in abundance. I'm lucky that Jessie loves to trot alongside me on the bike and I'd vowed to take on an off road ride for ages. I avoided the Cuckoo trail because of the recent spate of poisoning so instead I loaded bike and dog in the car and headed through Ashdown Forest to Groombridge where we left the car and joined the Forest Way.

Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.

Forest Way is surfaced and runs through peaceful Sussex countryside along an old railway line so it's beautifully flat and accessible for all walkers, cyclists and horse riders. You breeze along through masses of cow parsley, the odd dragonfly crossing your path, past fields of yellow blanket and meadow accompanied by the sound of birdsong. Water is almost always present, whether it be a small brook or the snaking rivers Medway, Withy and Ham weaving underneath the path which is great news for water loving dogs. There's also picnic spots dotted along Forest Way, I adored to see so may families out and about enjoying the track.

Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.

The track passes through or near Groombridge, Withyham, Hatfield and Forest Row and it also links with Worth Way which reaches up to Three Bridges.

Though I parked at Groombridge if you don't have a bike or want to take the family you can hire bikes in Forest Row which is also served well by buses if you would rather leave the car at home. I wholeheartedly recommend a pit stop at the Crown Inn at Groombridge!

Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.
Forest Way off road bike ride. Photography by Emma Gutteridge for Retreat blog.

More information on Forest Way can be found here.

PARKING // Groombridge - use post code TN3 9QY and either park opposite the Post Office or drive down Corseley Road to park at the playing field. Forest Row - use post code RH18 5DN and park behind the row of shops (get some fish for tea from Veaseys while you're there too!) or there are bays in most parts of the way where it crosses a road.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT // Train stations at East Grinstead (for Forest Row) or Eridge (for Groombridge) and you can get a bus from there. To check bus services see the Metrobus website.

ORDNANCE SURVEY // Map 135 - Ashdown Forest

Formally Emma Gutteridge