A number of our members have very kindly taken the time to provide us with detailed information about some of their favourite walks which we are delighted to be able to share with you.
For each walks that we list below, we provided a PDF download for you to take with you and use as general information and guidance.
Angmering Loop – provided by Glynn Jones (Trustee & Vice Chairman)
A 6½ mile walk with a total ascent of 488 feet mostly long gentle climbs.
We did this walk at the end of April and the weather was delightful, however the path surface showed signs of having been very muddy in some places so be careful following spells of wet weather. You can start or join the walk anywhere, it is a loop that takes in woodland, scrub, downland and agricultural landscapes. There are some excellent views and a range of seasonal wildlife, We saw masses of dancing cowslips and May blossom on the downland slopes and patches of Early Purple Orchids in the woodland together with the late bluebells and other woodland flowers. There are also a range of archaeological features and stunning 360 degree views in the North East section.
Between mile markers 2 and 3 on the map there are several seats and view points over a steep downland slope across to the top of the escarpment and the South Downs Way with the occasional glint of sunlight from the car parks there. Below you the buildings at Lower Barpham Farm are evident and the adjoining field has some historic earthworks, all that remains of a Deserted Mediaeval Village (DMV), presumably Lower Barpham. There are over 3000 known sites of deserted medieval towns and villages in England. Some villages were depopulated gradually by disease, enclosure or depleted local resources, others destroyed for aesthetic reasons by landowners, and others swept away by the effects of a changing climate. As we experience the effects of a global pandemic we can, perhaps, empathise with those peasant communities living in fear of the Black Death in the mid 14th century. It may have been the population decline that caused the abandonment of this, more marginal, settlement or simply the changes in land use away from arable farming towards sheep grazing as in the Scottish Highlands.
Parking is off road/unsurfaced Car park.
You can read more about some of the places mentioned above at the following:
Chanctonbury Ring and Cissbury Ring – Provided by Andrew Lovett (Trustee)
A 10½ mile walk with a steady climb reaching a high point of 791 at Chanctonbury Ring.
This exhilarating walk follows high routes across the Downs, visits two significant historical sites and provides excellent views in all directions.
The walk starts at the car park at the top of the hill above Washington on the eastern side of the A24 at TQ 1202 1206, but could equally commence at other car parks near either ring.
Wherever you start, a steady climb is required to reach Chanctonbury Ring. The ring is one of the high points of the Downs at 791 feet. It sits on the edge of the northern escarpment and provides excellent views across the Weald to Back Mount, Leith Hill and the North Downs. Seen from the north, it is one of the most visible features of the South Downs ridge.
Human activity at Chanctonbury dates back to the late Bronze Age when barrows were constructed. After disuse it was reoccupied in the Roman period when two temples were built on the site.
The plantation of beech trees for which the ring is now well known was started in the mid 18th century, but largely destroyed in the storm of 1987. The current trees have grown subsequently.
Visiting the ring on a sunny day, it is difficult to imagine that it is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in Sussex. In his book The Old Ways Robert Macfarlane recounts an uncomfortable night spent there.
There are various routes to Cissbury Ring. Ours follows the South Downs Way before heading westwards to the ring.
Cissbury Ring has an even older history than Chanctonbury. Its earth ramparts indicate a hill fort, in fact the largest in Sussex and one of the largest in Europe. Building started around 250 BC. But 2,000 years before that the ring was the site of one of the first Neolithic flint mines in Britain. When you reach the ring take the path up to the higher rampart and walk the circumference. Chanctonbury Ring may have better views to the north, but Cissbury provides outstanding views along the coast from the Seven Sisters in the east to the Isle of Wight in the west.
Parking is off road a few yards along the South Downs Way and is accessed from the oild Washington Road.
You can read more about Chanctonbury Ring and Cissbury Ring at the following:
Hilaire Belloc Loop – Provided by Paul Wilkinson (Trustee)
A 15 mile circular walk over gentle terrain, visiting locations associated with writer Hilaire Belloc.
It starts at the graveside of Belloc in the churchyard behind the RC Shrine Church of Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead (not to be confused with the nearby CofE St George’s).
After 1.3 miles the busy A24 dual carriageway has to be crossed with great care. However, this challenge is rewarded by walking through Knepp Park, the scene of an internationally famous ‘rewilding’ experiment. Don’t worry about the longhorn cattle, which are quite passive and used to walkers.
The striking Shipley Windmill (owned by Belloc for almost 50 years) is reached after a total of 3 miles. Less than a mile on is a good place for a mid-morning coffee stop, at the eastern end of Hammer Pond (indicated on map), where birdlife is often visible on and around the water. 5 miles into the walk the A24 has to be re-crossed, again with care. After a long morning (10 miles) the walker will be ready to stop for lunch in Ashurst (indicated on map).
The Fountain Inn features in The Four Men, Belloc’s pilgrimage across Sussex: ‘The Fountain of Ashhurst runs, with God’s grace, with better stuff than water.’ And the ideal Bellocian choice is bread, cheese and pickles, washed down by Sussex beer. The afternoon is much shorter (5 miles), and involves walking along the River Adur, and then taking the Downs Link almost all the way back to West Grinstead.
Parking is either on the roadside of Park Lane, or in the car park of the church of Our Lady of Consolation. In both cases same post code (RH13 8LT) and OS map ref (OL34 / TQ177212).
Permission needs to be obtained before the church CP is used – contact details via website: www.consolation.org.uk/
You can read more about Hilaire Belloc and the Fountain Inn at the following:
Walks from railway stations or bus stops
We have a series of walks that start from and end at railway stations or bus stops within the National Park. These stations all have regular services from outside the park and are ideal for those who don’t have a car or who just want to leave it at home.
Sussex Life Weekend Walks
We have a series of walks that we are publishing in Sussex Life magazine throughout 2022. We are making these available to members and non-members alike. You can download and print these below. We will be adding a new walk each month throughout the year.