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Worth Way



Worth Way is a 7 mile shared-use route, from Three Bridges to East Grinstead, which is accessible for walkers, horse-riders and cyclists. It passes through the open countryside of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

What’s along Worth Way?

Speckled wood butterflyFor much of its length the Worth Way follows the old railway line which ran from East Grinstead to Three Bridges. Since the closure of the railway in the 1960's, much of its length has been colonised by trees such as ash and silver birch. Where chalk was used in the construction of the railway, chalk-loving plants such as guelder rose, common spotted orchid, twayblade and wild strawberry now flourish.

Worth Way offers a ‘green corridor’ for wildlife, connecting different habitats together. The range of habitats attracts a variety of birds, butterflies and mammals. Birdsong to listen out for include the calls of the chiffchaff and nuthatch. At Crawley Down Pond there is even the chance of a glimpse of a kingfisher.

Butterflies to look out for include brimstone, speckled wood, meadow brown, ringlet, skipper and, in June, the white admiral. Bats can sometimes be seen at dusk. Adders, grass snakes and common lizards bask in the sunny glades along the old trackside.

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How to get there

Interactive map

To find Worth Way, launch our interactive iMap (opens in a new window), select 'British National Grid' from the search menu and in the search box (top left) enter TQ388382 (for East Grinstead Station), TQ346374 (for Crawley Down) or TQ288369 (for Three Bridges Station). The Worth Way route is shown after zooming out to a smaller scale. Clicking 'Walks within 5km' in the menu highlights footpaths.

Walking

Guelder rose berriesWorth Way is accessible where it passes through Crawley, East Grinstead and Crawley Down. It meets many other footpaths along its length. For more details, see our Worth Way route leaflet under supporting documents below. Worth Way can be followed as part of the Sussex Border Path, a footpath route nearly 150 miles long around the inland boundary of the county of Sussex.

By bike

Worth Way forms part of the National Cycle Network Route 21.
Use West Sussex Cycle Journey Planner

By bus

The Worth Way can be reached on a range of bus routes. There are nearby bus stops at Three Bridges Station, East Grinstead Station and the Royal Oak pub on Burleigh Way in Crawley Down. See supporting documents for maps and further details. Use the Traveline website.

Supporting documents

By train

Worth Way is easily accessible by train at Three Bridges Station and East Grinstead Station.

For more information about routes and timetables visit Network Rail or Traveline.

By car

Parking is available at Three Bridges and East Grinstead stations, the old Station at Rowfant on Wallage Lane and in Crawley Down. Car parks are shown on the map in our Worth Way leaflet (see supporting document).

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Getting around

Worth Way is a shared-use route accessible for pedestrians, horse-riders and cyclists. Please remember:

Cyclists

  • Slow down, give way and leave plenty of room for walkers, horses and people with disabilities
  • Cycle responsibly and carefully
  • Do not surprise people - they might not have heard or seen you
  • Use a bell


Walkers

  • Do not obstruct cyclists
  • Keep dogs under proper control
  • Clear up after your dog


Horse Riders

  • Walk past other users
  • Do not canter or gallop


Facilities

Local amenities are available along Worth Way in Crawley, East Grinstead and Crawley Down.

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History

Bridge over Worth WayThe Worth Way was officially opened on 10 July 1979. For much of its length it follows the railway line which ran from East Grinstead to Three Bridges. Opened on 9 July 1855, Rowfant and subsequently Grange Road (Crawley Down) were the only stations along the route.

In 1866 the railway was extended from East Grinstead to Tunbridge Wells, most of which is now Forest Way Country Park. A century later, in the 1960's, the whole line was closed as part of the line closures proposed by the Chairman of British Rail, Dr Beeching.

Rowfant Station, although not open to the public, still survives. Grange Road station no longer exists. The site, to the west of the Royal Oak public house, is now a terrace of shops and the railway line from Grange Road to Cob Close has been built over.

Little remains of another section of the railway line between the M23 motorway and Keepers Crossing, as the cutting was used as a landfill site in the 1970's. A line of trees indicates the route of the former railway line.

How we look after the route

Common lizard baskingWorth Way passes through the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Much of the route has been designated a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI). Crawley Borough is responsible for Worth Way from Three Bridges to the M23. West Sussex County Council manages the remainder of Worth Way and this is designated Worth Way Country Park.

Our rangers patrol fortnightly. Maintenance work covers everything from benches and fences to litter picking and autumn leaf blowing to maintain path width and surface quality. Vegetation management includes annual mowing to help wildflowers thrive, bramble and rhododendron clearance, coppicing and tree safety work.

At Crawley Down, local volunteers the Pond Environmental Group meet each month to help manage the pond.

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Further information

Forest Way Country Park links to Worth Way through East Grinstead. It is a 10 mile (16km) route that ends near Groombridge, East Sussex. The route is accessible to pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders. West Sussex County Council manages Forest Way from East Grinstead to the County boundary. The rest of the route is managed by East Sussex County Council.

Supporting document

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