The avid readers amongst you may recall that Lenny accompanied me on a walk a couple of weeks ago from West Grinstead station north to a little village called Copsale. Today we returned to West Grinstead once more but, somewhat surprisingly, we went south along the path to a village called Partridge Green.
We were shocked when we walked up and back along the old road near the house, finding ourselves at the car for the second day in a row. What was this sorcery? This was unheard of? Two trips in succession? We wondered if it was because today is a Bank Holiday and our parents felt like we needed something extra to amuse ourselves. In any case we drove a little way north and then east. We arrived at the little car park and we swiftly disembarked from our travel crates. Lenny is getting better at travelling and doesn’t seem to feel as ill as often as he did.
Heading under the road we followed our noses south along the old rail track which has been made into a path for walkers, riders, cyclists and often runners. We were swiftly into our stride of going to the grassy sides of the path as these areas held the best scents which, in turn, gave us the best chances of pulling parents this way and that. Through the old cuttings, past fields of stubble and then into little wooded areas, we strolled along with our noses 2 inches above the ground. Every now and then we were reined in as cyclists or runners went past us. After a good wander we looked up to see a little sign post confirming we were in Partridge Green. My parents of course had to find out where the pub was and we also found out that the Dark Star Brewery is located here. Dad boasted that he had been to the brewery but we weren’t particularly impressed and just wanted to continue on with our walk.
We were beginning to flag somewhat at this point and a water stop was needed. As we turned around and headed north along the track, I looked a little behind me and saw Lenny walking like a “good boy”. Apparently he was still a bit tired from yesterdays herculean efforts on Cissbury. That boy has no stamina, let me tell you. Thankfully the path is fairly flat so Lenny didn’t have too strenuous a return journey although we did have a little stop to rest his weary long legs.
We arrived at the station and were duly lifted back into our travel crates for the return home where breakfast was loudly requested by us running around the garden baying at the top of our lungs.
We have been sleeping for the rest of the day as it is apparent to some that two days of fun walks are more than enough for a senior beagle and his vampiric sidekick. I’m not sure who these dogs are, but I wouldn’t mind meeting them.
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.