The Worth Way

The Worth Way follows a seven mile disused railway line from Three Bridges, near Crawley, to East Grinstead. The original railway was opened in 1855, closed in 1967, and transformed again in 1979 into The Worth Way. One of the stations, Rowfant Station, although not open to the public, still survives, along with the platform, stationmaster's house and the gate posts of the adjoining level crossing. 

The route is notable for its wildife - many of the trees along Worth Way have colonised the cuttings and embankments since closure of the line. If not managed, the former track bed would become a dense thicket of Silver Birch and Sallow, the familiar 'pussy willow'. These two trees attract a variety of wildlife, with over two hundred species of insect feed on the Sallow. 

The steep cuttings and embankments have been allowed too mature into woodland, and 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.

Watch out for the butterflies in good weather. The most notable is the White Admiral which flies in June. In early Spring, Brimstones fly through the bare woodland, Speckled Wood butterflies can often be seen defending their territories in sunny glades, while Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Skippers are common in high summer.

Mammals and reptiles are elusive but a quiet approach can provide a glimpse of Roe Deer or Fox on surrounding farmland, while Adder, Grass Snake and Common Lizard regularly bask in sunny glades by the former railway track.

Information West Sussex County Council

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