This Welcome Pack is quite extensive. It has evolved from a printed version, but at the moment this is the only version that we can display so we will keep it updated whenever we can.
We trust that you have had a pleasant journey and were able to find your holiday cottage without any difficulties. Make yourselves at home. Feel free to make full use of the house and garden.
Make full use of the leaflets and maps that we have collected. Please return them to the cottage at the end of your stay, or leave a note in the house-keeping book if you have lost any so that we can replace them.
No food? No problem. All of the pubs here serve food. The Partridge Inn in the village serves food every evening and has an excellent range of beers. The nearest shop is one mile away in West Dean on the way to Chichester. This village shop also runs a thriving café.
The nearest supermarket is Sainsbury’s on the other side of the hill in Chichester. There are of course all of the other supermarkets in Chichester, but Sainsbury’s is the easiest to find.
If you have young children, please feel free to use the stair gates if you need them and the high chair in the dining room. Ball games are allowed in the garden, but take care there is no easy access to the stream that borders the garden and our neighbours are not always about if balls go over the fence you may well lose them. There is a well-equipped playground for young children by the church.
Please be aware that we live on a quiet road, but there are no gates across the drive or any barrier to Rose Cottage next door.
We have dogs who often stay at this cottage. We are fortunate that we can trust them to stay with us in the garden. They do not venture into the garden next door across the stream or onto the road. If your dog has a tendency to sneak off, the apple tree is a good place to tie them to. Our dogs tend to sleep in the utility room and do not get onto furniture or go upstairs. We would appreciate it if you could impose the same rules for your stay here. Favourite places for dogs are the front porch first thing in the morning and the conservatory, if nobody else is lying in the sun there, for the rest of the day.
We tend to use the chairs and the glass covered table from the conservatory in the garden when the weather is warm. If it gets really hot there is always some shade under the apple tree.
We keep moving the chairs around in the garden during the day to follow the sun or the shade. If you were thoughtful/lucky enough to come when there is anything edible in the garden please use it. There are still some remnants of a productive kitchen garden out there. Rhubarb, strawberries, loganberries and raspberries as well as the cooking apples from our tree all need a good home to eat here or take when you leave. Herbs grow well here and they will soon come back when you use the ones that grow by the back door.
The birds that visit our garden are bold and will often come when you are outside if you are not moving around too much. Highlights include a family of ducks, squabbling blackbirds, pheasants and at least four over-weight pigeons. Wood peckers come from time to time and red kites keep an eye on us most days, sometimes from far up in the sky.
After wet winters the river Lavant flows from the pond at East Dean down through the valley and Chichester to the sea. The river bed and the ponds will dry up in the summer. We are fairly confident that when the water flows there are water voles in our river. These are secretive animals that are difficult to spot. Usually the best you can expect is a splosh then a V shaped ripple in the water when they swim away.
What is that in the sky? Many light aircraft fly from the airfield on the other side of the hill. If it looks like a Spitfire and sounds like a Spitfire that is what it will be. After a while you will get used to the sound of the merlin engines as several Spitfires are based at the airfield at Goodwood.
Have you discovered everything about the Cottage? Feel free to use the washing machine and tumble drier in the utility room. You should be able to find an iron and clothes airer somewhere if you need them.
As well as the main lights there are lights under the units to illuminate the work surfaces either side of the cooker. Look for the switch above the cutlery drawer.
The hob works by touch. It doesn’t work so well if you have a wet finger. The hob will turn itself off in a short time when all of the rings are displaying ‘ 0 ‘.
The bathroom mirrors with lights operate by a movement sensor switch at the bottom right of the mirror. They have a shaving connection for electric shavers on the left side. These are well hidden so you will need to investigate.
The cottage is heated by electric storage radiators. In the winter these are on all of the time and you should not need to adjust them the output can be boosted on each radiator if you wish. The heating is supplemented by panel heaters in each bedroom and the towel rail in the bathroom.
The hot water comes from a large tank at the top of the stairs. Take care we keep it hot to keep you safe from Legionaires Disease. The water heats up during the night and should be sufficient unless there are a lot of people staying. If you are using lots of hot water boost the amount by pressing the switch four times at the side of the tank. Four blue lights should come on and the water will soon heat up again. Also note that the shower downstairs runs directly off the electric and will work if all of the hot water has been used up.
The extractor fans in the bathrooms are fairly quiet and are timed to come on a short period after the lights and to continue for some time when the lights are turned off.
The small patio behind the apple tree gets the sun all day and is often a good place to have breakfast and all of your other meals. The chairs in the conservatory can be used in the garden. The apple tree will provide shade for most of the lawn when it is really hot. Take care in the autumn, the apples come down when they are ripe with no warning!
The Book Shed. Before Covid there were a reasonable number of books in the cottage for reading during your stay. We have not replaced them because we cannot compete with the book shed at the village hall opposite the cottage. Open on Tuesday and Thursday 10am to 4pm it is the first shed on the right when you use the side gate at the far end of the hall. Please feel free to borrow any books that tempt you here and maybe leave one or too that you have enjoyed for others to try.
I think this is a brilliant idea as this building was constructed in 1853 as a reading room and I’m sure that the people involved will be well pleased that it still has that connection today.
The Pubs and Restaurants
You will be pleased to discover that all of the pubs in this valley stock a good range of local and regional ales and that they all have beer gardens and serve excellent food. Different pubs suit different people and it wouldn’t be right to tell you which are the best. We will leave you to discover that for yourself. All of these pubs have web sites if you want to research more up to date menus.
The Partridge Inn, Singleton. PO18 0EY 200m
This is a charming 16th century Inn with two log burners and a huge open fire to enjoy in the winter months. In the summer you may well find yourself in the walled beer garden. The menu changes to reflect the different seasons of the year and there is a strong tendency towards local dishes.
The Fox Goes Free, Charlton PO18 0HU 1 mile.
Well what can we say? This is a four hundred year-old country inn that stocks an extensive range of Ales and has a wine cellar to compliment the excellent food that they serve. They have an à la carte as well as a standard menu and it is evident that they use fresh local products and make everything themselves.
This is the pub that claims to have the best beer garden in the south east of England, if not the whole of the UK! What do you think? This is a very popular venue. Don’t worry too much they will be able to find you a table somewhere. They are noted for their Sunday roasts and always have four meats on the menu.
Star and Garter, East Dean PO18 0JG 2 Miles
This is a friendly village pub. They stock a good range of beers and serve a varied menu to suit all tastes. The beer garden is partly covered and is used throughout the year.
The Selsey Arms, West Dean PO18 0QX 2 miles.
This pub takes a pride in its beer with at least three local ales. It was in the CAMRA Guide 2016. The Head Chef sources all of his fish from local fishermen who use small boats to secure their catch. As well as traditional pub lunches they provide a more adventurous menu. There is a strong emphasis on local suppliers and an ambition to eventually grow all of the herbs and vegetables they use on the premises.
The Earl of March, Lavant PO18 0PQ 4 miles.
This is an exceptional country pub with superb cuisine. They have a wide-ranging menu and this is definitely at the premium end of pub catering. If you prefer to eat outside there is no fence between the beer garden and the arable fields that look onto the South Downs.
The Greyhound, Midhurst Road, Cocking GU29 9QH 4 Miles
Good pub: they stock a wide range of beers from Regional, Micro and National Breweries. They serve good food at a reasonable price. They Greyhound has two well-kept beer gardens, and one has an adventure playground for younger children.
The Unicorn, Heyshott GU29 0DL 5 Miles. Situated in a quiet village this pub offers a good range of ales and a traditional menu. In past days the beer was served from the barrels in which it was brewed. Might be better to have a light lunch here if you do walk over from Singleton as the path back onto the downs is surprisingly steep.
Gateway Project, Weald and Downland Museum ¼ miles.
This is a good place to have your morning coffee and plan your day. The café is right on the edge of the lake. You can sit outside and watch the antics of the ducks and see what else is going on at the museum.
West Dean Stores and Café 1 mile PO18 0QY
This is a gem of a café: they have a cosy open fire in the winter and extensive outside seating to use in the summer. They use freshly ground coffee and always have an exciting selection of homemade cakes, much appreciated by walkers and cyclists. Please note that this is a cashless business.
West Dean Gardens Cafe 2/3 mile. PO18 0R
Pleasant Café, excellent service. They have an extensive area in the garden outside. They like you to find a table first and remember its number before you order your food at the counter. During the week you will often find small groups here who are on courses at West Dean College enjoying a coffee and discussing their work.
Gartons Coffee House Market Street Midhurst 6 miles GU29 9NJ
There are lots of cafes in Midhurst. This is one of the best where you can sit outside in the summer and watch the world go by.
Pallant House Gallery North Pallant Chichester 6 miles PO19 1TJ
Again there are lots of cafes and restaurants in Chichester, but if you are looking for something different seek out this grade one listed town house and enjoy the ambience of their courtyard café.
Please note they do not open on Mondays.
Grounds Coffee House 43 High Street Arundel 14 miles BN18 9AG
Arundel is a compact town that seems to be full of coffee shops and cafes. We particularly liked the coffee and croissants in this one on a Sunday morning. They select and roast their own coffee and have a cosy seating area upstairs where you can look out over the town.
There are many more cafes in Arundel that look interesting.
Roman Palace Cafe Fishbourne 8 miles PO19 0QR
This is the remains of the largest Roman house in Britain and it does have a good café which you might get to if you have walked the length of the Centurion Way crossed the railway and carried on for a short distance. A pleasant place to have a coffee if you are on a long walk.
Bignor Roman Villa Café 12 miles RH20 1PH
I discovered this café after a walk along the South Down’s way. They only really do coffee, afternoon teas and home-made cakes, but they do all of those things well.
Arundel is a pleasant town, there is a steep climb up to the cathedral and castle which dominate the town. The Wetlands centre is a short walk from the town centre. Take time to explore the shops and cafes in the town itself. There are a huge number of cafes and restaurants here. To escape the crowds wander along the river bank. There are two Lidos in Arundel.
Yes you are right Chichester shouldn’t be here because it is in fact a city. The magnificent cathedral is near the centre. During your visit do not forget to look up, as a pair of peregrine falcons nest on the spire and put on a wonderful flying display if you are quick enough to spot them. Chichester still has its Roman Walls. You may find that the best way to explore the city is one quadrant at a time with the help of the handy guides from the tourist information centre by the Cathedral.
The elaborate market cross at the intersection of the four main streets was built in 1477 as a place where market traders could meet and shelter from the weather. It is not quite at the intersection of the roads as North Street has been widened since it was first built. Recently restored, the cross was under threat of demolition in the early 1800’s as it was not thought to have much use at that time.
Also in the city there are always interesting things going on at the Novium Museum, Pallant House Art Gallery and the Chichester Festival and Minerva theatres. Boat trips or walking along the Chichester Canal is always popular and there is a multiscreen cinema at New Park near the railway station. There is a Farmers market on East Street and North Street by the market cross on Fridays.
This is a compact town to explore. Some people like it because it has sensible parking charges. In March 2023 the Angel Inn in the middle of the town suffered a severe fire and it will take some time for Midhust to recover from it. Take time to explore the medieval market square. Cowdray House has only been open to the public again since 2007 and is a fine example of an untouched Tudor House as it was abandoned for so long. Capability Brown was responsible for the layout of the gardens and the surrounding estate.
The Local Attractions
Weald and Downland Living Museum.
On the outskirts of the village on the way to Chichester
The Weald and Museum is a unique collection of ancient buildings which have been purchased, taken to pieces, transported to Singleton in West Sussex and reassembled. The project was started in 1967 and first opened to the public in September 1970
The purpose of the Weald and Downland Living Museum is to stimulate public interest in, and to promote and encourage the preservation of buildings of architectural or historical interest, and to stimulate public interest in ancient crafts, trades and manufactures. Several films have been made here and The Repair Shop is based on the site.
All the buildings at the museum were, at the time of their acquisition, threatened with demolition, destruction or damage in some form or other, so the Museum’s mission is one of preservation, rather than just collecting old buildings.
The Weald and Downland Museum is now a very well organized and enjoyable attraction with plenty to see or do, including activities for children. On summer evenings they stage open air plays, concerts, films and occasionally operas.
Although all the buildings at the museum are interesting in their own right, Crawley Hall and the compact market square are highlights.
Volunteer helpers are on hand to help and pass on information about the buildings where requested, and the westernmost part of the site has lovely views of Singleton Valley.
West Dean Gardens
This is a further 1/3rd of a mile further along the road to Chichester.
The gardens feature the 100 meter long Edwardian pergola, Victorian glasshouses, walled kitchen garden, spring garden and pond as well as the sunken garden. The arboretum was planted in 1830 by Edward James partly to house his collection of Golden Pheasants. It is particularly delightful in the spring as it houses the National Collection of Tulip trees and Horse Chestnut trees and has wonderful displays of bulbs and wild flowers.
West Wittering Beach PO20 8AJ 16 miles
This is one of the best Blue Flag Beaches in the country. The extensive acres of neatly mown grass close to the beach are perfect for parking, and picnics. The sea is popular with wind and kite surfers, while shallow lagoons are left on extensive sandy flats at low tide. The whole area is internationally recognised for its wildlife, birds and unique beauty.
West Wittering Beach gets very busy in the summer. They have tried several different things to manage the traffic and speed up parking. The best way is to pay for parking before you go at WestWitteringBeach.co.uk. It is considerably more expensive to pay on the gate and you will be turned away at busy periods.
Many of the other Beaches in West Sussex are mainly shingle. There are sandy beaches at Middleton on Sea and the West Beach at Littlehampton further along the coast.
Fishbourne Roman Palace
PO19 3QR 8 miles
Don’t be concerned if you decide to investigate the remains of the largest Roman Palace and earliest garden in Britain when you find yourself going past a primary school and into a housing estate, you are on the right road! Residents of Fishbourne always knew that there were Roman remains nearby, but it wasn’t until the nineteen sixties that they were properly investigated.
Built on the site of a supply depot thirty years after the Roman invasion in the 1st century AD, a rectangular palace fit for a king was constructed with, it is now thought, fifty different mosaic floors that cannot be seen anywhere else in the country. The site was occupied until AD 270 when it was destroyed by fire and abandoned.
You will learn a lot here. Better to avoid late mornings and early afternoons during term times as it is popular with school parties.
Bignor Roman Villa
RH20 1PH 13 miles.
More mosaics on a smaller scale in a beautiful downland setting. The remarkable thing about this site is that the historic remains were discovered in 1811 and the floors have been covered by thatched buildings for more than 200 years now. Because of this, disabled access is limited, but the staff are most helpful if you think this may be a problem. The next place to go if the Roman Palace has aroused your interest in Roman History. The villa is open from March to October each year.
Tangmere Military Aviation Museum
PO20 2ES 7 miles
This area of the country had a strategic significance during both world wars. As you explore the area you will discover that there were several airfields here, some permanent and some temporary where the runways and buildings were dismantled after the hostilities. Spitfires and other military aircraft are still flown from Goodwood, indeed a spitfire flew very low over my car in June this year as I was driving past the motor racing circuit at Goodwood
To discover more, visit the aviation museum which is situated in a corner of the old RAF Tangmere airfield, famed for its illustrious service from 1916 through to the post-war years.
Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit.
Like many of our motor racing circuits Goodwood was created around the perimeter of a second world-war airfield. The first race was in September 1948 when a certain Stirling moss won the 500cc event. It became famous for its nine-hour endurance races in the early nineteen fifties and the non-championship Glover Trophy featuring formula one cars.
Motor sport lives on at Goodwood. The Members Meeting, Festival of Speed and Revival Meetings gain in popularity each year. Each month during the summer there are Breakfast Club meetings where owners bring their cars for a static display. Other events take place at Goodwood including each year the finals of the electric car endurance event for schools.
Goodwood Horse Racing
This story began when the Third Duke of Richmond introduced horseracing to Goodwood for the benefit of the officers of the Sussex Militia – of which he was Colonel in 1802 – rather than any great devotion to the Turf.
The officers held their annual races in nearby Petworth Park, courtesy of the Earl of Egremont, but when the invitation was withdrawn in 1801 due to the Earl’s capricious nature, the Duke of Richmond came to the rescue, establishing a course on the Goodwood Estate known as “The Harroway”.
For many years, the course was only used for the four-day meeting in July. Now times have changed and there are 19 race days between May and October. Take a look at the calendar: you can enjoy midweek, weekend and night races as well as the five day Qatar Festival during the first week of August now.
Cowdray Park Polo Club
With a long and illustrious history, Cowdray Park is recognized worldwide as the Home of British Polo. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty within Viscount Cowdray’s 16,500 acre estate in West Sussex, the game of polo has been played at Cowdray for close on a century – the first competitive tournaments being recorded in 1910. .
Cowdray Park Polo Club’s significance in the re-establishment of polo in England following the Second World War cannot be underestimated. Cowdray Park is now one of the most famous polo clubs in the world – firmly establishing its place at the very pinnacle of the sport both nationally and internationally.
Polo is fast, furious and exciting to watch. It takes a little while to work out what is going on if you are new to it. Spectators are asked to tread down the field of play at intervals during the match as the ground quickly gets churned up.
Let’s be honest we don’t play golf , but I have put in full details from the internet of seven nearby golf courses in the cottage. If you would like full details before you come please let me know.
We hope that you will not need to use these numbers during your stay.
Nearest Doctor: Lavant Road Surgery, Chichester PO19 9RH 01243 527264
Open Mon 8am to 8 pm Tues – Fri 8am to 6.30 pm. After these hours use the NHS 111 number as they will advise you what to do and where to go.
There is a Pharmacy next to the practice. Their contact number is 01243 380185
The nearest Hospital with an Accident and Emergency department is St Richards, Spitalfield Lane, Chichester PO19 6SE 01243 788122.
Use the second entrance to the hospital site if approaching from the Northgate part of the city.
The Dentist with easy parking is in Basin Road Chichester PO19 8DU
Nearest Vet undertaking their own in house out of hour’s service is the Woodlands Veterinary Centre, Midhurst GU29 9LT. Their contact number is 01730 8143
There are lots of good walks either from or within easy reach of the cottage. Feel free to take the maps out with you. Navigation can be a little bit tricky in the forest as the bigger tracks are not always the ones that lead anywhere useful. The best policy is to decide on which direction you want to go and stick to it. Certainly get a free compass app for your phone. They are easier to use than the real thing..
If you do a lot of walking the OS app is wonderful as it will show you exactly where you are. We regularly get lost in the forest and often end up in East Dean when we thought we were heading for Charlton. That’s the good thing about walking. You never quite know where you will get to or what you will find on the way.
This is the Nature Reserve on the side of the hill that overlooks the cottage. It is a site of Special Scientific Interest managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust. It was an area of the hill with shallow soils that was too steep to plough so has been largely left alone over the years. There are fallow deer, rabbits, badgers and dormice here. It is one of the few places you will find juniper and heather in southern England. It is managed in order to restrict the scrub and encourage down-land flowers. Primroses, cowslips and pyramidal orchids thrive here and if you look closely you might be able to spot the small autumn lady’s tresses orchid. On sunny summer days it is a good place for butterflies including brown hair streaks, dingy skipper, grassland skipper, brown argus and the small blue.
Levin Down is sectioned off in to various areas and is grazed by Herdwick sheep and Exmoor Ponies that help to control the scrub. From time to time it features on Country File so you may have seen it on your television.
How to get there. Easy! Turn left out of the drive and take the foot path left at the side of the school before you get to the bus shelter. The path is well walked goes through a gate and follows the line of a hedge before crossing the top field. It is quite steep here, the boundary hedge is thick and you will soon pass through two gates before you emerge onto the hill.
There is a choice now. The shorter route follows the line of the thick hedge on your right. The more interesting way involves a little more climbing. Head upwards to the left of the bomb crater which was left after the second world war and follow the path diagonally across to the top gate of the nature reserve. There are fine views across to the Trundle and you will see the stands at the Goodwood horse racing course.
Keep your eyes towards the ground in the reserve: many of the flowers are small and difficult to spot. Whichever way you have come into Levin Down, the paths converge to take you to the information board that meets the path from Charlton. You have seen half of the reserve now.
If you have little people with you or it turns wet, you might like to return by this path that crosses a field and soon joins the Charlton road. This is usually a quiet road if you take it to return to the cottage, but take care past the parked cars that are outside the houses at Bankside, the road is narrow here.
A better way back when you get to the road is to go left for Charlton, then head right at the crossroads towards the Trundle. After a short distance, you will cross the river, although this is often dry and not very obvious, and there is a style and gate on your right. This footpath follows the line of the fence back to Singleton. It is a good field to run in if you are a dog. At the far end there are two water troughs for the cattle and a wicket gate that takes you onto the small housing estate at the Leys. Take care here, as it can be quite muddy getting out of this field when the weather is wet. You will need to keep right to go past the village hall and back to the cottage.
If you are still standing at the Charlton entrance to the reserve reading the notice there are two choices to explore further. Facing up-hill, find the wicket gate on your right. Here you can either continue along the hedge-line or take the path that I prefer that slowly climbs the hill again. This is where the conservation sheep are. They are used to walkers and dogs and will take no notice of you. The four Exmoor ponies, who came from the Cotswold Farm Park, are timid and tend to keep out of the way. They are not here for all of the year as they go to another nature reserve for part of the year.
As you gradually climb the hill you will emerge onto the downs in an open field. I had a close sighting of a fallow deer here early one morning. I was expecting it; camera in hand I emerged from the reserve and took the picture with the animal right in the centre of the shot. Could have been brilliant! I got a good picture of the field but no deer that time. They disappear in a flash. Deer are happy to stare at you if you keep moving, they don’t like to be photographed.
Head out across the field and you will soon meet up with a path that takes you down to a metal field gate. There is a large badger set on your right. I think it is still used, but I haven’t seen any badgers by it lately.
You have now reached the wooden signpost put up by the Goodwood Hunt. It is now time to head back to Singleton. Take the chalk road down the slope. This is Yorkhurst Hill and it will soon meet up with the lower path from the nature reserve before it joins the stoney North Lane that leads back to Charlton.
Once you get to the road in the village, if you don’t want to visit the beer garden at The Fox goes Free , cross over the road to Singleton and take the field path on your right after the river bridge as described earlier.
This time we are going up onto the hill, but when you go through the two gates at the top hedge, keep to the left of the bomb crater and you will see a curved path that takes you past a wooden signpost, up to a gate-way in the fence at the crest of the hill. This is a steady climb, the best views are behind you.
This is the place where three fields meet. You are heading for a small gate into the field on the right. When you enter the field leave the line of the fence and start to go diagonally across the field until you gain the crest of the hill and can see the track down to the signpost erected by the Goodwood Hunt. The group of trees at the top of the hill on your right is known as the Clump. Some of them were harvested recently. This is a local landmark and they will be allowed to grow back again.
Several paths meet at the signpost. Look out for the path that leads towards the forest between the fields in the direction of Heyshott. This is a good place for orchids and butterflies in the summer. After a short distance you will go through a wet patch and find yourself at Burnt Oak Gate: you are now in the forest. The best way for a short walk is to take the right hand path, there is a choice of three.
At first, this path is not too far from the boundary of a field. After a while it is crossed by another path. Ignore that. If you go right here, you will be back in the field and have to follow its boundary to the Hunt signpost. Better to continue up hill and take the second track that crosses your path. Going to your right this is a little overgrown in places before it joins up with a bigger track, North Lane, at Forest House. This is the path that will take you back to Charlton.
The extra bit to East Dean.
If it’s still going well when you join North Lane at the edge of the forest, why don’t you go a bit further and have a look at East Dean?
To get there, facing the forest at the locked barrier to keep vehicles out , follow the footpath on your right that goes up the bank between the trees. Soon you will be at the edge of a field. The direction is set now so keep following this path ignoring the tracks that cross it. After a while, there is a Beech tree that came down in the spring. This path is well-walked and you will find a way between the branches to get round it.
You will soon find that you have come out of the forest and that you are walking at the edge of a field on Court Hill. This year, the field was put down to grass and silage was taken from it. The field margin has been allowed to grow long which is good for the flowers, but not the best after rain if you are trying to keep your legs dry. You can keep to the field margin or take the main path which cuts across the field half-way down.
Next the path takes you through the hedge on the lower side of the arable field to come out above East Dean. Above the village there is a sunken track. Many feet, both animal and human must have passed this way over the years but the tendency now is to walk by the side of it and then down sharp to the left through a metal gate that takes you onto a well maintained farm track leading to the church.
East Dean is a quiet village. Follow the road down the hill and cut the corner off by crossing the village green in front of the pond.
There have always been ducks on this pond for as long as I can remember.
The floating island didn’t cost much to build and the ducks think it is a wonderful place to go when there are dogs or too many people about. It is now two miles back down this quiet road to the cottage. I tend to take the lane left in front of the Fox goes free in Charlton as it leads past some delightful flint cottages to the start of the field path back to Singleton.
South Downs Way
We are going further now. This will be able to get you there, but it could be one of those days when you get a bit lost on the way back. Make sure you take a map for this one, better still use the OS App on your phone.
We are going up over Levin Down, past the Goodwood hunt signpost and into the forest where the path divides three ways at Burnt Oak gate. We will take the middle path this time. It gradually climbs and goes across a wide track that is used to take the logs out. Keep going in a northerly direction It is a steady climb. There are other paths towards the top, but the South Downs Way goes along the ridge of the downs here so you will meet up with it at some point.
Walking through the forest, there are several tracks that cross the path. Be sure to look left and right. There are fallow deer here. They are very quiet, you will not usually hear them, but you should get a glimpse of them sometimes. My dogs soon pick up the scent of a rabbit or pheasant, but for some reason they will not pick up on the scent of deer even when I have seen that they have crossed the path. You will get to see more of them if you can keep moving, they seem to see us as more of a threat when you are still.
Also, and lots of people who come here do not know this. There is an oil field under the downs here and for many years it has been pumped to the surface by nodding donkeys and taken away in road tankers. To divert to the oil field take the left track from Burnt Oak Gate. After a while it takes you along the boundary fence. There are lights and some noise and little else to disturb the forest. They are probably right, if we are going to use oil best to take it from under our feet than get it from under the sea or transport it half way around the world. The wells are drilled down at an angle. It could be extracted from under the forest or under our village. When it has all gone this area will be planted with trees again and it will be even more difficult to find where it was.
After the oilfield , to get back to the path to the South Downs Way , go around the locked barrier on the wide new road and take the path left up the hill after a quarter of a mile or so alongside an area of newly planted trees.
The South Downs Way goes from Winchester to Eastbourne. It is well way-marked and well-used by both walkers and cyclists. We are turning right along it. Look out for the old milestones. Tthis has been an important route in times gone by. You might find that you walk faster on this part of the walk. It is like getting onto a motorway after a slower road. After a mile or so, the official road goes to the left, there is a better track if you keep on closer to the trees ; most people seem to take that path now. There is interesting archaeology and fauna on Heyshott down and you will pass a fenced-off area on your left. Eventually one of the forest tracks comes close to the South Downs Way. The national path moves off to the left and it is possible to get through into the forest again on your right. There is no signpost here as you continue along one of the bigger forest roads.
The plan is to stay on this road for a mile or more; eventually it goes down a slope. At the bottom of the dip there is a small track that turns sharply back up hill on the right. This leads to a gate onto the camping field at New House Farm. You will need to climb over this gate. Once you have, go down the valley until you find the track that leads past a flint barn, eventually some more farm buildings and then the farm house itself where there will be a sign about the camping. You will be able to follow this road to East Dean so you will know the way back to the cottage from there.
Don’t worry if you miss the camping field. As long as you keep going away from the South Downs Way which is on the high ground in the forest you will end up eventually in East Dean.
When you first get onto the South Downs Way there is a sign giving directions to the Unicorn Pub advertising their meals. Twenty minutes it says. Recently the old sign was getting a bit difficult to read. I could read it because I knew what it said, but you might not make it out first time so a new sign appeared, same words.
I must admit I had never gone this way before. It’s a good walk. The north side of the downs is quite steep, but I have never seen so many orchids as there were on the path to Heyshott. There are several areas fenced off because they are a nature reserve, the best orchids were just by the side of the path. When you get down off the hill there are still two fields to cross before the path takes you between some houses and you get to a minor road.
There is still more walking yet. Turn right by the church and you will eventually get to the pub. This is a good place to eat. The explanation about the twenty minutes was that in the distant past there was a bar maid who was very keen on running. She must have been good, most fell runners would take far longer than that to get to the village.
If you are still adventurous, after the Pub continue along the road for a while and you will find yourself on a track that runs below the hill. There are several paths up it, all of them are steep. We eventually found ourselves on Graffham Down near Tegleaze farm. There is a track here that heads towards East Dean. When we followed it, there are several choices to make. It followed a lovely path that skirted New House farm and joined up with the path from North Lane over the hill that I described earlier. If you don’t come out by the church you might get to the village at North End which is a little bit further along.
This is an easier walk. You won’t get lost on this one.
Turn right this time from the cottage. Keep straight on at the triangle in the road then left by the cottages towards the church. There is a footpath that runs around the right side of the church. Behind the church there is a new gate that invites you to proceed along a wide track onto the hill. This is a steady climb that is two fields away from Town Lane that takes the cars to the same place that we are going.
Keep in contact with the hedge row on your left. After a time the footpath goes through a gate and you will be at a field boundary heading for the communications masts on Trundle hill. It’s not an obvious path and eventually you will merge with the minor road that comes up from
Charlton, continue on up the hill. There is a wide verge here if you do meet any cars. This is Knights Hill and it is often a good place to watch the red kites that patrol the valley and will give you an excellent flying display. That is why you will need to watch out for the cars.
Before you cross over the Singleton road, there is a triangular car park. It’s not right to use it if you really want to appreciate the Trundle, it is better approached on foot. There is often an ice cream van here which might help with the hill if you have little people with you. Go into the carpark as you will need to cross the road onto some concrete steps at its entrance. Take care here. It is on a bend and some drivers use it as a continuation of the motor racing circuit.
Start to climb the steps, they were put here as they once led to a public enclosure for the horse-racing. When you are a third of the way up, take the path that goes to the right through a wicket gate onto the hill. There is a hill fort on Trundle Hill, with views across Chichester (look out for the cathedral) and the coast. It is a good place to watch the horse-racing, if you are only casually interested, as you can see the whole of the circuit from here. You can either approach it direct, straight up is a fairly steep climb, or take the path to the right that is a more gentle approach. In the spring there are cowslips and orchids to be seen on this side of the hill. I am quite sure that most visitors to the Trundle are not aware of these flowers.
When you reach the top you can either go round at the foot of the hill fort, in the ditch, or on the top of the ramparts. Most people seem to do the anti-clockwise circuit of the Trundle. If you go the other way you will have to keep getting out of the way of walkers coming in the other direction.
When you have had time to look at the views from the hill you can either retrace your steps. Perhaps continue down Knight’s hill on the road to Charlton and walk back through the wide flat field to the cottage or go a bit further.
When you look towards Chichester there is a grass field in front of you. As you move around the hill there is a field gate and a wooded area. You will notice a stile into these trees. It is easier to get down the bank if you go a bit further round as there is a cattle track here and then double back. The stile takes you onto a woodland path that comes out opposite the race stands. Don’t cross the road yet, keep to the grassed car park that follows it down the hill. At the end of the race car park there is a road junction opposite, that goes behind the stands and follows the line of the race course. We are going to follow this road past the playground. It is easier to walk in the carpark on the other side of the road and there is a further path that follows the road in a wood.
Eventually you will have to walk along the course side of the road by a flint wall. The verge is wide here and the grass is usually short. Ahead of you the road goes to the right at a sharp bend. We are going left at this corner to follow the perimeter of the race track at the edge of the forest. After a time, the track on the left discourages you to go any further so we need to take the fork to the right that goes through the woods down past the saw mill to Charlton. There are fine views across the valley to Court Hill here.
As you approach the village on your left there is an impressive brick building with nothing to indicate what it might be. This is a property now owned by the Landmark trust. This is Fox Hall.
‘Once known by every sportsman in England’ Charlton is just a small village but at one time, when the Charlton Hunt was famous and fashionable, its name was familiar and dear to every sportsman in England. Even Goodwood was described as ‘near Charlton’. The hunt was founded in the 1670s by the Duke of Monmouth and was continued after his death by his son-in-law the Duke of Bolton and then by the Duke of Richmond. Apart from the sport, the high spirited noblemen were surely attracted by living in lodgings away from the constraints of home. They clubbed together and built a dining-room for themselves, which they christened ‘Fox Hall,’ designed by Lord Burlington and here ‘these votaries of Diana feasted after the chase and recounted the feats of the day.’ Not to miss such affairs and to be in good time for the meets, the Duke of Richmond commissioned this small Palladian building that is now a charming Landmark.
A gilded sitting-room fit for a Duke
This hunting lodge consists of a plain brick box with a small stylish hall and staircase leading to one magnificent room above, undoubtedly Britain’s premier bedsit. There is a gilded alcove, originally for the Duke of Richmond’s bed and in the pediment over the fireplace an indicator shows the direction of the wind, important information for the fox hunter. The front door to all this grandeur leads straight to the stable yard. Apart from Fox Hall, and a detail or two in some of the houses, no visible trace remains at Charlton of the famous Hunt but the pub is called The Fox Goes Free, a modest clue to past activities.’
There is more. If the course of history went a different way things could have been so different for Charlton.In 1675 in the turbulent closing years of the reign of Charles II, a fox hunt was established in Charlton. Although hunting with hounds is ancient, the Charlton Hunt appears to be the first documented pack of hounds to be entered to chase only the fox. Within the space of a few years, it attained a popularity amongst the nobility and gentry never since equalled. Almost all the sons of Charles II and every noble family in the land had a representative at Charlton. The Duke of Monmouth even arrogantly claimed that when he was king he should have his court at Charlton!
That’s enough history for you to think about. At the triangle in the road bear left and you will come to the path that follows the field to Singleton. I wonder what it was like here when the Charlton hunt was first established.
It is a bit of a shame that you have to get to West Dean before you can start this walk proper. It’s not too bad walking along beside the main road to Chichester, at the moment there is no sensible alternative route. Early in the morning and mid-morning there is little traffic here. There is a footpath. Narrow for the first bit, as it borders the beech hedge of the open air museum, wider after the river crosses the road and we walk on the other side. Near Singleton you will hear the ducks on the Mill Pond at the museum. As you cross over the road there are more ducks and geese in the field by the river.
Continue along and on your right is a wide drive lined by trees that leads to the Old Singleton station, recently the site of a vineyard now gone. Opened in 1881 the station here had four platforms and a sub way for passengers attending the Goodwood Horse races. At the time of King Edward V11, it was the place most visited by the royal train as the monarch liked to spend his weekends here.
There are some wonderful flint walls in West Dean. The best ones are at the entrance to West Dean House, now a college. There are some good ones in the village a bit further on and we will follow a flint wall up onto the hill that borders the arboretum. Look more closely at these walls. They are perfectly straight and the flints are all the same size and shape. Sadly these skills have been lost. The craftsmen that built them would not tolerate the ones that are thrown together today.
As you go further into the village, cross over the road and take the first of the four roads that lead to the river. Like Singleton, many of the cottages in West Dean are listed buildings. They tend to have large gardens and there is a substantial field in the middle of the village where, in most villages, there would be more cottages.
Follow the river as it emerges from the wall that surrounds West Dean House. Ducks are resident here and I have seen a heron hunting from the bank in the spring so there must be fish here. We will need to cross the river at some point either by the narrow footbridge or the wider farm track further along, so we can keep close to this wall.
The path leads up onto the hill and eventually to the Trundle. At first, there are some horse fields on your right. When you enter a small wood, you will see a bank of trees that were cut down last year still not collected. There is an option to take the path right through the wood and keep right to skirt around the boundary of the field. Eventually this path climbs the hill and joins the wall further up. There are usually arable crops in this field and I have seen hares here before the cereals have grown too high.
The path levels off and you will find yourself walking in fine woodland again. There is only one place where you can get a tantalising glimpse at what is on the other side of the wall. To get a proper look one day you will have to go to West Dean Gardens and investigate the Arboretum.
Eventually the wall becomes a fence and you are more deeply into the woodland now. Near the top, the path takes a slight detour round the Rubbing House. This is a substantial building which looks like a Georgian House. It was where the horses pulling the carts of wool from Chichester to Midhurst were rested and rubbed down before continuing their journey.
The original name was Rubbin House. Surprisingly the property here was not listed. It was destroyed by fire and completely rebuilt further back from this footpath in 1992.
As you continue you will pass the carparks at the top of Chalk Pit Lane that leads to Chichester and will be mentioned in the running section. Cross over. There is a gravel path that leads to the Trundle. A better alternative is to take the small gate on your left into the field and follow the fence line to the top of the hill. Now you know why most people walk anti clockwise around the Trundle. The temptation is to look at the view when you reach the top of the hill.
I will leave you here to find your own way back to Singleton. Down across the fields, following the road and watching the red kites in the valley to Charlton perhaps or if you are really energetic follow the road round the back of the stands and have another look at Fox Hall.
This walk is fairly short. It does tend to get overgrown later in the year. Make sure your legs are covered and you might be better to avoid it when the grass is wet or when there is a cricket match on in the village.
The start of this walk is not obvious. We need to go past the Partridge Inn to the main road then cross over and take the lane by the river to the cricket field. The cricket field is always immaculately kept. Enter by a small gate and make your way round the back of the pavilion. There are two stiles and sometimes a stream to cross, mostly this will be dry, but it can be muddy here as the milking cows use this lane to get to their fields.
There is a National Trust sign telling you about Drovers which was established as a deer park in the distant past. We climb the hill to cross the railway by a substantial bridge. There is a path that follows the railway, ignore that and go up the steps over a high style into the field. You will continue to climb. There are always lots of pheasants here and soon there will be proper views of the buildings at the Open Air Museum. The fields to your right are sown with arable crops, but there are wide field margins with wild flowers that get more and more overgrown as the year progresses.
At the top of the second field there is woodland. The main path disappears through a hedge to follow the field margin of an adjoining field. In the spring it is better to follow the less distinct path in the woodland as the bluebells are wonderful here.
At the end of the field there is a step down onto a farm track. Go left here to pass near Colworth Farm then join the quiet road that takes you back under the railway to West Dean Village. This is a grand road with views of the downs and no houses, there is woodland and steep banks as it descends to the village.
You have come out near West Dean College. The choice is to either go left and return to Singleton. The Café at West Dean Gardens is tempting if you go this way. Going right will lead you into the previous walk, but you might want more than a cup of tea when you finally get back to the cottage.
I quite like walking along canals. They are after all flat ; there is always lots to see on the water and surrounding countryside; it is difficult to get lost and they do take you to interesting places. This one has the added benefit of a good café at either end of it.
A canal from Chichester to the coast was long talked about. It was finally started in 1819, constructed with two locks and six bridges. It was designed to carry vessels of 100 ton capacity. The main traffic was coal to the gas works and it was used to transport gravel for construction purposes. It is four and a half miles to the coast. The tow path is generally good, it can be a bit busy with joggers and cyclists for the first part. It can be a bit muddy after Hunston, half way, but that has improved considerably in recent years
Best way to start is to park in Chichester and make your way to the Canal Basin which is just beyond the railway station. There are boat trips from here, but they do not go very far and do not get to the better parts of the canal. The canal has water in it throughout but is bisected by several roads so boat traffic is limited.
Go past the Café and follow the far bank. There are information boards and sculptures to start with. Ducks and swans are at home here. You will be watching the water hoping to see a flash of colour from the promised Kingfisher, please let me know if you see one. They have always eluded me here. You will be aware of the traffic on the by-pass, but fortunately the canal goes under this road and the traffic noise is soon left behind. After a while you will see the restored Padwick Swing Bridge on the far bank. This used to be in Hunston, further on, but was moved here because there was nowhere for it on its original site.
As you walk on you will start to here traffic noise again. At Hunston we cross a bridge and walk beside the Selsey road for a few yards before getting back to the tranquillity of the canal. Along this stretch there is an Elm tree that was planted because it was known to be resistant to Dutch elm disease. There are known to be water voles here and you might be lucky to get a glimpse of one in the water.
Two more roads are crossed. After the A286, take care here the cars race past, we return to the right bank once more. Now we enter a different world as we approach the Chichester Marina. Here the grass is neatly mowed and there are regular speed bumps as the people who come here drive cars that are not built to go slow. You will find that you are walking a bit distant from the side of the canal now as the tow path is overgrown.
Look out for the first of two locks. The first one is not operational and is used to maintain the water level in the canal. After the lock on the canal side there is an interesting assortment of house boats of all shapes and sizes. As you get further into the marina the yachts get bigger and you will wonder how they manage to get them out of the water to work on them. Amid the complex of building on the left is the Boathouse Café, which is a most welcome sight on this part of the walk.
Before you go there keep on to the end of the canal, there are two footpaths that cross it. The second one does it at the Salterns Loch that leads to the sea. There is a big drop when the tide is out. The landward gates are of cast iron and the seaward gates have a wooden construction. Last time I went I had a good look at this loch because, remarkably, it is still in working order and is used occasionally when house boats enter or leave the half mile or so of this end of the canal that is still navigable.
Going back there is a path that goes through the marina to Appledram. This is a good walk, but it is not possible to get back to Chichester without walking alongside a busy main road, so it is better to return the way that you have come. Like many cathedrals, Chichester is visible for a long distance before you reach it. It draws your attention on the return journey and guides you back to the start of this walk.
Itchenor and West Wittering
Chichester Harbour is well worth exploring on foot. Particularly in the winter when the visiting seabirds are here. This walk starts at the pay and display carpark in Itchenor. You will find it by keeping on the A286 through Chichester, across the by-pass heading towards West Wittering. After Birdham there is a road to your right, when you get to Itchenor the car park is o your left.
The Coastal Path is fairly easy to follow. Find the harbour in the village and continue left along the coast. There are many expensive houses here. Sometimes the path comes away from the coast, perhaps the home owners have paid for private access to the shoreline. Most of the time you have good Views of Chichester Harbour and the things that are going on there on this walk.
The path makes its way to East Head beyond West Wittering. This is the first opportunity to explore the beach. You can walk around East Head or cut across it. If the tide is out there will be a temptation to walk across the sands as other people seem to do this. Be a bit careful though. There are areas of soft sand here and you may find that you are sinking in more than you are comfortable with. Better to keep closer to the shore line especially if you are on your own.
As you walk further round you get to the extensive sands of West Wittering Beach. It gets very busy here on summer days. Amongst the holiday complex there is a café. A better option is to follow the road away from the beach. I can recommend the coffee and cakes at the café at the end of this road in the village.
To get back you may be tempted to stay inland and use the footpaths across the fields. There are some good footpaths here, but the roads are busy and for the most part have no pavement or usable verge. There is always something different to see along the shore line and it will look completely different going back so I would tend to take the quiet road right as you leave the café in West Wittering. This lane takes you past some houses and back to the coast path.
There are of course longer walks that you could do from Bramley Cottage. If you get yourself organised, it is a good base to do the South Downs Way. There is a good Bus Service to Chichester and Midhurst for return journeys and there is a bus that comes back through the village from Bignor if you follow the South Downs Way in that direction. The Roman Palace at Fishbourne is readily accessible along the Centurion Way, take a glance at the running section for more details of that. If you are keen on walking and want details of other routes please get in touch.
The Running Bit
These are a few suggestions if you are used to running and want to keep up with your training when you are staying at the cottage. The routes should be fairly easy to follow, avoid stiles wherever possible and I have indicated where you might come across muddy sections after periods of wet weather.
I do tend to go out early before breakfast and appreciate the road to West Dean and through East Lavant may annoy you a bit later in the day when there is more traffic about and maybe others using the pavement.
The routes are good for walking as well, but here I will describe them more for someone moving at a faster pace not looking so much at what you are passing.
We are heading down the main road towards West Dean.
I tend to walk through the village and start after crossing the road to the Trundle as cars tend to speed through this junction and you will need to take care here.
The pavement is narrow to start with but it gets better when you cross over at the river bridge half way to West Dean. Continue past the entrance to West Dean College up a slight rise then down the hill towards the Dean public house. Take the minor road right past the entrance to the school. Before the railway bridge across the road there is a path up some steps onto the Centurion Way which follows the line of a redundant railway.
This is a good surface to run on as it has only recently been restored. You may come across some cyclists so it is better to run on one side or the other so they have a chance to pass if you do not hear them. Also if you are a keen runner you will be pleased with your times going this way. There is a steady decline all of the way to Chichester. The gradient is not obvious at first unless you decide to return by the same route.
I’ll try not to distract you too much, but you should be able to admire the curves in the walls of the short tunnel that carries the main road above us. After a short distance there is a sharp detour around Preston farm. When you return to the course of the railway there is a short section where the rabbits have protested about the intrusion and have been digging into the pathway. Watch out for this, it may have been repaired now.
The next bridge we go under carries a farm track over the line. Immediately after this, there is a path to the right that crosses the river leading to Binderton Cottages on the main road. This is a perfectly usable path; it returns to West Dean alongside the A286 and can be used to return if you want a short route.
Continuing towards Lavant there is an open section then a mild distraction as the path meanders amidst some trees and you pass a log pile left here as a sculpture perhaps for some reason.
In Lavant you will find yourself in a housing estate. Continue in the direction you have been following as if the houses were not there. It is a no through route for cars so it tends to be quiet. Look out for the road to the playground on the left and then there is a further sign left directing you onto the Centurion way once more. Before you go under the road bridge you pass Lavant Station, but it has been converted for housing now so is not obvious what it was.
The old line now passes through a wooded area before emerging onto the edge of a field. There are sculptures of Roman Soldiers here which look real from a distance. The field is artificial as it was the site of a gravel pit. It has been well restored and the cowslips that were planted here still thrive in the spring.
The path continues to Summersdale which is on the outskirts of Chichester. We go under a road bridge at Brandy Hole Lane. Turn sharp left here past a pond and eventually join the lane that takes you to the A286. Cross this road, go left then straight on past a shop down Broadway. Turn left along Summersdale Road and look out for the Fordwater lane which is the fork to the right.
Fordwater lane takes us out of the town. Continue along it until it crosses the river Lavant. There is a wicket gate on the left which takes you alongside the river until you join up with the lane again at the water works. At the road junction , continue left along the minor road to East Lavant. (There is a path behind the hedge here but it is narrow and not a good surface to run on).
Take care with the traffic on this road as cars tend to speed past here. In the village cross over and go left until you find yourself on the other side of the river again. Now you will see the village green in front of you. Turn right to follow the road at the side of the river. There are several driveways that cross the river, take the third one, the one with the fingerpost, and you will soon be out in the countryside again.
This path runs parallel to the Centurion way across open fields. It can be muddy for a short section and there is always the option to re-join the other path if it is too slippery. This is good running across the fields and you will soon see the flint wall that is the boundary to West Dean Gardens. Head for this wall and take the path left to the village. Join the road that follows the line of the river. It will lead you past the church and up a rise before you see the main road once more. There is now one more mile before you get back to Singleton.
Variations to make it longer.
There is more to the Centurion Way. It continues with more dog walkers, cyclist and pedestrians to join the main railway line in Chichester.
When you get to the end follow the wide road left as it takes you past the cathedral to the market cross at the centre of town. There is only one road of any size to cross and there are pedestrian lights here if it is busy. At the Cross , go left down North Street and use the underpass at the end of it. Go into the carpark at North Gate and cross it to go up the side of the Festival Theatre. There is no path to follow now but continue up the playing fields and aim for the rugby clubhouse at the far end. When you come out of the small carpark go right for a short while, then left onto Summersdale Road. There are some new houses partly behind a wall on your left as this road leads past the Broadway and onto the junction with Fordwater Road which you found last time.
To take in the Trundle Hill Challenging Route.
This run is OK. Chalk Pit lane from East Lavant up to the trundle is a gravel track at first then chalk with deep gullies towards the top. Try this on a dry day as it does get slippery when wet.
This time, when you reach East Lavant either from Brandy Hole lane or the end of the Centurion Way take the first road on the right, Back Lane. This passes some houses and brings you out onto a minor road at the stables that are used when there is horse racing at Goodwood. You will only be on the minor road for a short time, till the pavement runs out. There is a sign about caution with race horses, when the road goes round a bend to the right,take the lane on your left towards the hill.
This is a steady climb that gets steeper towards the top. When you reach the car parks at the top, to get to the Trundle its better to go past the gravel lane as it is difficult to find a firm surface here. Go through the gate that runs parallel with it. Continue past the trig point and you will see the steepish path down the other side.
Towards the bottom you will go through a small gate and down the steps leading to the road crossing. Care here as it is on a bend and you will not be able to see what is coming. Across this road you will be in the triangular car park that encourages you to take the road down the hill to Charlton.
From here you can continue left back to the cottage. I tend to run with one of my dogs and would take the path through the field before the river is crossed. There is a style here, but my dog loves this field and she would not forgive me if we left it out.
Trundle Hill easier route.
This is the way to have the glory of running on the Trundle without the difficult climb. It is longer though.
You will need to take the field route back that runs parallel to the Centurion Way and gets you to the field before that magnificent wall around West Dean Gardens. After the wicket gate, take to path to your right that follows the field margin and eventually meets up with the main path alongside the wall. You have done most of the climbing now, so keep going steadily through the trees until the carparks at the top of chalk pit lane come into view. The last bit up the field is the worst now as your legs will be thinking they had finished the climbing for the day.
If it is going really well and you want to try the marathon distance try this.
You might find that this works for you as it is easy running to start with and there are various changes in terrain which helps to pass the time. It does go over the Trundle I must say, but there are three shorter ways back towards the end and the last part is easy running again.
Every step counts so I press the button on my wrist band just outside the drive. This time it is main road to West Dean, Centurion Way to the end, Past the Cathedral and Market Cross, Fordwater lane, East Lavant and the path over the river that takes you back to West Dean. Skirt the field, steady to the Trundle, this time go around the hill fort and take the path that goes through the trees to the Race stands (there is a stile to cross to get there). Next we are taking the road behind the stands to follow the line of the race course. Where the road turns sharp right, there is a path that follows it just inside the forest to keep you off the road. Well done! You rejected the path down to Charlton which is a shorter way back. The path we are on ends at the road junction of the road down to East Dean. We will take this road. Hopefully when you have come down the hill to East Dean you will be able to do a few more miles yet.
Look at your wrist band. From the pond in the village it is two miles back to the cottage. Wrist bands vary as to the distance they have recorded. When I did this I was three miles short so I turned left and continued up the valley until I reached the dairy farm and retraced my steps. Keep going . It is downhill all of the way now!
If you do miscalculate. You cannot tell people that you nearly did a marathon after all, there is the option of doing a few circuits of Singleton, best not to do too many of those as people will start to stare after a while.
Myself I climbed over the stile and came back home through the long field. I have no idea just how many miles my dog covered that day. She was still running circuits round the field on our way back. If only I could do that!
Running in the forest.
I have from time to time run through the forest, usually getting a bit lost on the way. It can be annoying. Took the lane at the far end of East Dean to Northside. There is loose gravel most of the way ; some steep hills down and then up . Take care with tree roots on the smaller paths.
It has long been realised that the chalk soils of West Sussex are very similar to the Champagne area of France. Grapes were grown here in Roman Times. Some claim that our area is the sunniest spot in the UK thinking that most of our rain falls on the Isle of White! I hope that works for you when you come to stay with us. I was hoping by now that I could direct you to the Vineyard at Singleton Station. Some fifty years ago when the Station House changed hands an extensive vineyard was planted with much ambition for its success. Some of the older villagers will still remember how they were involved with the harvest each October. Its what the village did at that time. Sadly it never really prospered and there is little trace of it now.
Some of the new vineyard owners are thinking that hotter summers in France will work in their favour as they think the crop will ripen too early on the other side of the channel. They still have to cope with sleepless nights in the spring when there is a danger of late frosts and wet summers when mildew is difficult to control.
Here is a list of our local Vineyards that welcome visitors in the summer. Many are well established hospitality venues.
Tinwood Vineyard. Halnaker PO18 0NE
Since the first planting in 2007,Tinwood has quickly established a reputation for producing the very finest English sparkling wines. They have planted wild flowers and roses amongst their vines so the best time to visit is June and July.
Nyetimber Vineyard Petworth RH12 2HH
Eric Heerema became the Owner and Custodian of Nyetimber in 2006, believing that the estate, with its ideal soil and location, had yet to achieve its full potential. Eric recruited Head Winemaker Cherie Spriggs and Winemaker Brad Greatrix, who both shared his vision of crafting the finest English sparkling wines. And since then, Nyetimber wines have gone on to achieve global acclaim, winning international awards and blind-tasting competitions, as well as being recognised by some of the world’s most celebrated wine experts.
They have various open days in the summer and the use of a 15c timber framed barn to taste their wines.
Nutbourne Vineyard Pulborogh RH12 2HH
This is a family run boutique vineyard and winery that was established thirty years ago. They produce a wide range of award winning still and sparkling wines. As well as their tours they have alpacas, lakes, wildflower meadows and places to picnic. Every aspect of their wine production takes place onsite. They have pre bookable tours in the summer.
Ashling Park Vineyard PO19 9DH
This is one of the newer vineyards, growing year by year they are strong on hospitality with trophy winning wines and delicious food.
They are now open for vineyard tours and tastings Thursday – Sunday and offer tours at 10.30am and 2pm. Lunch is available between 12pm and 2.45pm on those days too. So you can enjoy lunch before or after a tour. They also offer early suppers between 6pm and 7.45pm Thursday – Saturdays.
Upperton Vineyard Petworth GU28 0RD
Andy Rogers first planted Upperton in 2005 with 800 trial vines initially intended for the production of still wine. Through chance encounters, numerous vineyard visits and wine tastings it became clear to Andy he should produce high quality sparkling English wine. Numerous plantings ensued with the vineyard totalling 32,000 vines. In 2015 Andy went into semi-retirement and some of the vineyard was sold off. Upperton now comprises of 6,000 vines producing between 6,000 and 10,000 bottles per year.
They are happy to arrange private tours and tastings.