Come on, hurry up you two, Lenny and I want to go out exploring. A well placed nose on dads leg makes sure that our parents are out of bed and making ready to go and explore.
We were out sharply and expecting to have an hour or so exploring the local area. Instead we were turned left and strolled down the little lane before being turned around and found ourselves being led back towards the house. We knew this would mean that we were off for a ride in the car and, as expected, we were loaded into our travel crates and we turned left up the main road. This was different and when we turned right and then sharp left, Lenny and I looked at each other quizzically. We were indeed somewhere we had never been.
Welcome to West Grinstead Train Station read the sign. Ooh great, we are getting a train ride. As we were shackled and released from our crates we heard our parents mumble something about “This might be a bit boring as it will be flat and shingle covered”. We looked up and saw that there was no train and no track so what sort of train station is this? Not that it mattered as Lenny and I were quickly into our strides with our noses to the ground pulling and yanking on our leads as we scented all sorts of wildlife. We saw horses, other dogs, runners and more dogs. Walkers strolled toward us and smiled as we were pulling our parents one way and another. We met a spaniel who was having great fun in and out of the ditch at the side of the track. After a few miles we reached a place called Copsale whereupon we were turned around and headed back toward the start. More horses strolled past us, more walkers wandered towards us still smiling at our shenanigans and we saw the spaniel who was even dirtier than before. We even managed not to eat the field food which was on offer on so many different parts of the route. Back to the car and Lenny managed to leap in straightaway which means he was tired and had had fun. I was lifted in as my legs were so tired from all the exertions. When we got back home it was as much as we could do to eat our breakfasts and then fall asleep.
It turns out that there used to be a train line through West Grinstead but a man called Dr Beeching carried out a review of the UK rail network in 1963 under the direction of the government. As a result of his report, there were a large number of smaller rail lines which were closed and never re-opened. Most of the track and ballast were lifted and removed on the West Grinstead line between 1965-1970 and the area was left generally untended until part of the line was sold to the County Council in 1970. The scrub was cleared and a path was made linking the North Downs at St Martha’s Hill to the South Downs at Steyning and thence on to the coast at Shoreham, a total of 37 miles.
We pulled and messed about so much that no photos were taken on the walk, only a couple of Lenny and I snoozing at home afterwards. There was nothing boring about this walk, and I can say for sure we are going back. If you get the chance try a stroll along the Downs Link, we can vouch for it being fun.