About the Place is a public art project that aims to encourage residents and visitors to go outdoors and enjoy walking in the scenic Mid Sussex countryside. The project has been funded through Section 106 developer contributions received by the Council in respect of new housing developments in the District. 

Mid Sussex District Council has worked with local partners to map a 40-mile walking trail in 7 sections and 7 circular walks. The walking trail follows a clockwise direction and passes through the picturesque towns and villages across Mid Sussex.

The route map

For further trail information and directions please the walking routes below.

About the Place - Route Map

The walking routes

Each walking trail has been given a grading easy, moderate or difficult. The easy walks are fairly flat and less strenuous than those graded moderate. Difficult walks will include some steep hills. Halfway points and resting places on the trail have been suggested for people who want to do ‘out and back’ or shorter and more leisurely walks. 

The routes may be uneven and muddy in places so you should wear sensible walking shoes, a waterproof, hat and sunscreen (depending on the weather), take a map, compass and a mobile phone although you may not get full coverage on all of the walks.

Walks in Balcombe and East Grinstead, all start from a railway station. Other walking routes are accessible by bus. There are car parking places at the start and end points of most walks, identified by carved oak Waymarkers. 

Please enjoy the walks and follow the Countryside Code


If you prefer you can download all walking directions for all walks to your phone. 

Download the full walking guide

Please note: The distances given in the PDF are approximate and the directions are only intended as a guide. The paths are all on public rights of way and can be followed by using an Ordnance Survey map

Community projects

About the Place aims to stimulate local knowledge and pride of place through the creative arts.  In addition to the waymarker commission, the Council is also delivering a series of community arts projects to engage local residents in creative activities which celebrate local themes and places on the route.

View the Community Projects


Routes start and finish at a series of oak waymarkers, hand carved by local artist Janine Creaye.

Each waymarker has a wyvern/dragon symbol to represent the circular routes and options to continue in either direction.  Each mythical beast points towards the natural things you may find, but also represents nature regenerating itself alongside development and industry through the ages in each place.

More details about waymarkers


References: woods, stage coach wheel, Nymans bird motif, High Beeches gentians, Japanese lantern top, flames

Zoar Baptist chapel was built around 1782 because of established local need from ‘woodmen and labourers’.  The village developed further because it was a stagecoach stop on the London to Brighton route. Handcross has some very significant gardens close by to spend time in. One is Nymans which was developed by the Messel family and the other High Beeches which was established by a branch of the Loder family, (the family that also established Wakehurst and Leonards Lee). 

Gentian asclepiadia is a special species that has naturalised at High Beeches and is depicted here with its very sculptural trumpet shaped flowers and spear shaped leaves.  The bird motif used is from the pot in the sunken garden at Nymans and is familiar from many visits over the years.  The lantern top is a reference to the fashion for all things Japanese that swept through garden design after the 1903 London exhibition.  This top is a composite of the stone lanterns on display at both of these local gardens.


References: sheep, bee, lime flower, lime leaf, lime buds

A market charter was granted in 1343 for this village to hold sheep fairs and it became one of the most important in the county, so sheep are very important to Lindfield being a significant place with so much history. Pollinators was the requested focus of marker by the Parish Council as they were working on a new meadow by the footpath and the bee represents this. 

The lime tree is a reference to the village name. In Saxon times it was called Lindefeldia meaning ‘open land with lime trees’.  Limes line the High Street currently and there is a lime tree at the location of the Waymarker.  When you look closely at the lime flowers and buds, they are extraordinary and sculptural too.  The carving is intended to draw attention to these qualities of the actual plants.


References: woods, furnace, deer, mill wheel, equal cross, sports (darts, cricket, football, snooker), ivy

The iron industry has left its mark on this village in the names nearby of Old Furnace, Furnace Wood and there are mill cottages at Highbridge and on the edge of Cuckfield Park.  Watermills also supplied the power for the furnaces in 16th century. The ivy symbolises how this industrial time has passed and the sites have often been reclaimed by plants.  The deer represents the medieval Cuckfield Deer Park (disparked in the 16th century) which came right up to the location of the marker and wild deer can still be seen across the playing fields. 

The equal cross represents the Hussey family that commissioned the nearby Legh Manor. The cross is at the centre of their coat of arms and has been used extensively by Ansty village. The village pub name was once the Green Cross then Ansty Cross, and the symbol was depicted on the pub sign up until very recently when it was demolished and redeveloped. The sports represent the local successes and broad range played at this location.

East Grinstead

References: railway, steam train wheel, valve control wheel, ounce (snow leopard), bluebell, primrose, sycamore leaf

The Waymarker is located at a strategic site between old and new functioning railways but is also near to a marked change of atmosphere if you leave the railway stations and start down the Worth Way on the walk.  The first obvious tree on the worth way behind the car park is a sycamore, so represents the start of nature maintaining its place here. The ounce (heraldic snow leopard) is from the Duke of Dorset’s coat of arms. 

The Sackville family were the Dukes of Dorset and they owned a lot of property in the area. Sackville College was established in the town in 1609 by Robert Sackville as an alms house, and it is still in use.  It has a flagpole-carrying ounce on the roof, there was also a pub called The Cat on East Grinstead High Street because of the ounce image, and now Weatherspoons has adopted the name Ounce and Ivy Bush for their premises further along the street (an ivy bush was displayed outside to denote a pub open for business).  The historic Bluebell Railway line that has its end point here was once nicknamed the bluebell and primrose line because that is what you could see as a passenger. The historic railway is represented by steam from the dragon’s mouth, a valve wheel and an engine wheel. 

Crawley Down

References: railway, water, kingfisher, fish (roach) tadpoles

This site is located on the edge of the Worth Way path which is in the cutting of the ex-railway line and where there was once a grand garden to be viewed from the train.  The Crawley Down pond was one of three fishponds that were part of the Tiltwood estate which was bought in 1873 by George Scaramanga and developed over the following decades. The fish in the sculpture represents this history.  The fragment of the original garden space that is now in public hands has been reclaimed to an extent by wildlife.  Roach fry have been found recently and kingfishers can be seen.  Despite the many ducks that live here other wildlife like frogs and tadpoles also share the space.


References: woods, railway, viaduct, furnace, half moon, hill site trees

This hilltop site was a small village with woods around.  Furnaces and ironworks developed this small site as a focus but with the coming of the railway and the construction of the Balcombe viaduct the population numbers more than doubled in 10 years (1831 – 1841).  The name Balcombe is thought to have originated from Old English for ‘lush vallery’ and it currently has attractive views over Wier Wood reservoir and Balcombe Pond – the hill site trees are a reference to this.  The half-moon refers to the community owned pub which is still in the heart of the village.

West Hoathly 

References: beech mast, acorns, pigs, toposcope view lines, Tudor rose healing plants – acanthus, mallow, fern.

In Medieval times the village became an important location for fattening pigs on beech mast and acorns for 6 weeks in Autumn (pannage).  This brought prosperity to the village as a whole. The Priest House was built in 1496 by Lewes Priory and was probably an estate office for the lands the Priory owned in the area.  The Priest House garden is planted with healing plants and culinary herbs as the Priory gardens would also have been in this period. 

The current curator picked out two significant plants of acanthus and fern. The fern being mentioned in a Shakespeare play (Henry IV) as a magic plant where the seeds can be held in your hand to make you ‘walk invisible’.  The Tudor Rose is a reference to the Priest House and other local lands being reclaimed from the Cluniac church at the reformation and then being owned by Henry VIII, Cromwell, Anne of Cleves, Mary and Elizabeth I.  The carving also has a reference to the hill site and the far-reaching views of the toposcope, symbolised by the landscape and view lines. 

About the sculptor

The 8 waymarkers sited at the start and finish points of the walks, were designed and carved by local West Sussex artist Janine Creaye. The waymarkers are all unique and individually designed to reflect local history and themes.

Janine trained in Fine Art Sculpture at the University of Northumbria and the Chelsea School of Art. She has exhibited widely and her sculptures can be seen in public sites in Guildford town centre; Tilgate Park, Sussex, Bedelands Nature Reserve, Buchan Country Park, Horsham Park, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Arundel. She has drawings in the collections of Lady Antonia Fraser, Stephen Berkoff and the V&A Museum.


Mid Sussex District Council has worked with the following project partners and landowners to develop the project: Ansty Village Centre, Balcombe Parish Council, East Grinstead Town Council, Lindfield Parish Council, Slaugham Parish Council, West Hoathly Parish Council, Worth Parish Council, West Sussex County Council, and Mid Sussex Ramblers.


If you enjoy walking these trails, there are lots of groups and online resources which can provide further support and inspiration such as


These walks are entirely on public rights of way and route descriptions are intended to be used in conjunction with the relevant maps. Mid Sussex District Council is not responsible for the safety or wellbeing of anyone who chooses to follow these routes and has no responsibility for maintenance of the paths. If you experience any problems with signage, blocked paths, broken stiles and bridges you can report them online to West Sussex County Council.

© Crown Copyright and database rights 2023 Ordnance Survey100021794. You are not permitted to copy, sub license, distribute or sell any of this data to third parties in any form.

Last updated: 07 June 2024