The Forest Way terrain is mostly flat, consisting of hard packed gravel. All types of bike can be used, but a road bike would not be advisable unless it has survived Paris-Roubaix or the Tuscan Strade Bianche!
Initially, you are in open terrain and can see across the arable fields in the shadow of the Ashdown Forest and the High Weald.
Although it is traffic free, Forest Way crosses a few minor roads, and towards the end, the main A22 where a pedestrian crossing is in place.
After a couple of miles the scenery then lives up to its name and you find yourself in forest which gives enough tree coverage to keep you sheltered from blazing sun in summer, or from rain.
Along the way are picnic tables and benches roughly every mile and a half, and some of these stop-off points have bike racks, which is great for an afternoon family bike ride where you may need to give the younger ones a rest.
10 Ways to Get Your Kids into Cycling
Forest Way passes through a number of small villages, notably Hartfield, the former home of Winnie the Pooh creator AA Milne, where there is a real “House at Pooh corner” in the village.
Further along, Forest Row has a farm shop and cafe for those wanting one last tea stop before tackling the most challenging part of the trail in the final three miles, where the trail kicks steeply upwards a couple of times.
The trail ends rather unceremoniously at a roundabout on Beeching Way, but it is only a short ride to the quaint town centre of East Grinstead where you can either get on a train back home – thank heavens Beeching didn’t close that line down! Alternatively, more traffic-free cycling can be done on the Worth Way, which continues to Three Bridges.
We’ll be bringing you more railway rides in the coming weeks. In the mean time, if you’re looking for more traffic free rides, check out some of these…
10 Beautiful UK Bridleway Routes
10 Best Coastal Rides in the UK
10 of the UK’s Best Forests for Cycling