This is the third walk in a quartet of walks around Slindon and Eartham, in the South Downs National Park, in West Sussex, UK. Today we will start in a lay-by outside the Spur Pub, BN18 0NE. The Spur is a good place to finish your walk, offering great food and a range of drinks. There is also the nearby “Village Forge” in Slindon, which serves food and offers a delicatessen selling local produce.
As before I recommend taking an Ordnance survey map OL10 with you on this walk, so you can note alternative routes for future walks. There are no styles on this walk and it is is also very dog friendly. Just watch out for sheep on the Great Down.
We begin by walking towards Pulborough on the A29. Please keep to the footpath on the right hand side of the road and as you head down the hill towards the bend you will see a gatehouse with a white “5 bar” gate on the opposite side of the road.
Walk through the gate and onto the tarmac road leading down the hill. You are now in Dale Park. The estate was established in the late 1700’s. The original, imposing estate house was demolished in 1960 and a smaller house built in its place. You should be able to see the white building and imagine the imposing views it has from its aerie in the downs. You should also see some vary impressive mature trees in the park in front of you – Oaks, Copper Beeches and Chestnuts to name a few.
As you follow this path, keep an eye out for an old barn nestled beneath a Copper Beech. This scene always reminds me of another old barn – that of the “Moulton Barn” in Grand Teton NP, Wyoming USA. Am I the only person to see this? Ah well, you carry on whilst I linger here and plan a return to Wyoming.
Soon you will start to walk up hill, and as you pass the wood to your right, there will be a well sign posted footpath running along the edge of the wood and field. Take this path.
Soon you will “dog leg” left then right across a farm track onto a well signed footpath. This time the wood will be on your left.
After half a mile or so you will enter a wide, tree lined, avenue with views of the village of Madehurst to your right and in front, on top of the hill, the impressive Madehurst Lodge.
At the end of this avenue you will come to a cross roads. For future reference you can take the left path allowing you a shorter route back to the start via Dencher Wood, or you can take the right hand turn for a longer route back via Madehurst and, yew Tree gate and Rewell Wood, but today lets walk straight on through New Barn farm and up the road past Oak Barn and past the house called “Stammers”. As you walk this part of the route, take time to look through the hedges to your left and right and the landscape of the Downs as well as turn around and take in the view as behind you.
100metres or so passed Stammers you will find another cross roads offering more choice of walking. If you were to turn right you head towards “Whiteways”, by keeping straight you will eventually meet the South Downs way and walk up Bignor Hill. We will turn left and walk past Stammers Wood. In June/July you will often see Meadow Butterflies in their hundreds on this part of the walk
Follow the path up the hill across a field and into a wood. You will now come to a T junction. Take the left hand path and shortly you will come out onto the top of the Great Down with its’ superb view over the Sussex coast. There is a wooden seat carved into a fallen tree on your left as you pass through the gate. This is a great spot to have a breather and take in the view. You should be able to see the English channel and sea-side towns of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton. The White “tent” like structure on the coast straight in front of you is Butlins Holiday Resort.
To your right looking over Eartham Woods on the horizon you can see the restored windmill at Halnaker. We can take a walk here in the future. The attached picture shows the windmill and if you look closely to the right you can make out the top of the Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth, some 20 miles away.
If you have a dog with you, please check this area for grazing sheep and cattle and, if present, put your dog on a lead.
Follow the well defined path down hill. Pausing now and then to take in the ever changing views. You should be able to see Chichester, its harbour, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.
On your descent you will pass through 2 gates, keep straight ahead each time
Eventually you will come to a gate with a four fingered sign post. Take the left path and after 30 metres or so take the right path. You should now be walking slightly uphill with a wood to your left shoulder.
Keep straight on this path when you meet a cross roads. Continue ahead until you meet a second cross roads. Turn left here. After a 200 metres you will emerge from the wood with Dale Park in front of you, turn right and you will walk out at the white 5 bar gate.