Category: Walking

Lords Piece Walk Near Pulborough 

Lord’s Piece is a lovely hidden walk near the South Downs Way in the tiny Hamlet of Coates, in Fittleworth. The largest village nearby is Pulborough, about 3 miles away and there is also a train station in Pulborough with links to London. 

Lord’s Piece is privately owned & is well known for having reintroduced field crickets to boost their near-extinct population. You can very often hear them chirping away! 

This beautiful area of heathland is also briefly part of the 64 mile Serpent trail, which starts in Haslemere and ends in Petersfield. 

There are 2 car parks to the site, one at the top and one at the bottom. Both of which have restricted height barriers and can be particularly bumpy, so not ideal for low vehicles. There is a little bit of off-road parking by both car parks, on the road. 

Lords Piece is completely edged & fenced in so once through the entrance gates, it’s very safe for dogs. For this walk, we’ll be starting at the top car park and walking around the outer perimeter. You can also adjust your walk to take in the woods near the top path should you wish. It’s near impossible to get lost here, so just wander around as you please! 

Through the gate and head left along the obvious path, walking parallel to the road.  You’ll see areas of heathland on your right before you’re hidden by the woods. Carry on along the path and as you get to the house on your left, take a tiny right by the rhododendron bushes and then carry on left which allows you a view to the right of further heathland.  

Soon you’ll reach a crossing point and the path either carries on forwards or heads right, through the middle of the heath and along a ridge. Take either, but this time we’ll be continuing straight on, around the perimeter. 

Just as the path starts to head right, you’ll come across a small clearing, ideal for a picnic, under some beautiful and very old trees. Kids love it here as they can climb on some of the lower branches! In summer, it’s a lovely cover from the sun.  

Continue along the path and you’re now at the lower area of the walk which runs parallel to another barely used road. There’s a short, steep climb up to the top and then a short descent towards open ground. From here, you’ll be able to see the small lake near the lower car park. Dogs love a dip in the lake but beware of algae in the summer months. Quite often, in very dry summers, the lake is more of a large muddy puddle! 

Cross over just to the right of the lake, and head left, again parallel to the road. A gentle ascent will take you back up to the top car park.   

It only takes about 45 minutes of easy continuous walking to cover the whole perimeter, but there are so many options for taking different paths and crisscrossing the heathland. The woods at the top are great for kids and a welcome bit of shade on a hot day.  

3 or 4 times a year, you’ll also be able to wander around with the company of some local cows! These lovely animals are very friendly and mostly pay you no attention, but it’s worth noting that they can often have their newborns and young with them, so please keep dogs on leads when walking nearby and try to give them as much space as possible.  

If you enjoy bird watching, there are many types here, some of which nest in the heathers. We’ve spotted numerous birds of prey including buzzards, kites and kestrels. Other birds we’ve seen are bright green woodpeckers & we’ve also heard cuckoos!  

There are no facilities here, including dog poop bins, and there are some very careless owners who don’t pick up their dog’s messes, especially on the paths close to the car parks. Please, please take bags with you and clear up after your dog. You’ll have to take the bags back home with you, but it’s worth it to help keep this lovely area clean for everyone and healthier for grazing animals. 

 

Circular and Linear Walks On The South Downs Way

  1. Bignor Hill

This is a fairly easy 2-3 hour walk starting and finishing at Whiteways Cafe near Arundel and about 8-9km in length. The paths through the forest are wide and fairly accessible, the route ascends up to Bignor Hill and at the top is a free car park and information board and a good place to stop and have some lunch.

 

2. Amberley and Arundel

Only a short amount of the walk passes on the South Downs Way, but this walk is a fairly intermediate route that includes a short stretch of South Downs Way in Amberley and takes in some wonderful river scenery and a good pub at Arundel, the Black Rabbit. You also pass the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust in Arundel and Swanbourne lake, where you can go rowing and also get ice cream.

 

3. Birling Gap

If you are looking for a walk with spectacular cliffs, sea air and views then the walk from Birling Gap, past Beachy Head and over to the viewpoint looking down at Eastbourne is a perfect choice. This is a nice easy walk, with a few steep inclines and declines, but suitable for all skill levels. It’s about an hour and a half walk to the viewpoint overlooking Eastbourne and then you can turn around and walk back to the car, which you can park at Birling Gap. There is also a National Trust cafe here should you need refreshments. Parking is a little hectic here and make sure you only park where you are allowed.

 

4. Harting Down

Harting Down boasts some of the best views from the South Downs Way. This route is a fairly easy and short route of about 4 miles and starts and ends at the car park at Harting Down.

Best Views on The South Downs Way

The peaks of the South Downs boast some of the best views in the South East. With a landscape that stretches for miles around, it’s not hard to see why people flock to the South Coast for relaxation and stunning views. If you’re looking for the best photography spots on the South Downs Way, then we’ve rounded up some of the ideal locations for you to visit.

Harting Down, West Sussex

Probably one of the most beautiful stretches on the South Downs Way, Harting Down boasts some panoramic views of Sussex. You can get here by parking at Harting Down car park (bear in mind this car park is incredibly busy). If you are struggling to find a space, you can always park in the village and walk up or park at Cocking car park and walk westwards to Harting Down. If you are lucky enough to go on a nice sunny day then the views will be even better!

Butser Hill, Hampshire

At 271 metres high, Butser Hill is guaranteed to give you spectacular views. There is a large car park at the top, or you can walk up from the bottom if you prefer more of a challenge. This is a popular spot for paragliders and there are plenty of benches where you can sit and enjoy the view. Only Fools and Horses was also filmed here on the western side, in a scene featuring a hand glider!

Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex

Ditchling Beacon is the second highest point on the South Downs Way and is another great location for some of the best views in Sussex. The National Trust car park is very busy here also, but if you can’t find a space, you can park at the Jack and Jill windmills and walk from there. On weekends, there is usually a coffee truck which sells snacks as well. Ditchling Beacon gives great views of Brighton and the Weald, but make sure to wrap up warm as it gets very windy!

Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex

You can’t think about great views and not include the Seven Sisters! If you are wanting a lovely walk, why not park at Birling Gap car park and walk east up the cliffs with views of Beachy Head and Eastbourne. You can get refreshments at the National Trust cafe and is the perfect spot to walk your dog. Keep well away from the edge as the cliff edge may be unstable.

Black Down, West Sussex

Black Down is the highest point in the South Downs National Park and stands at 280 metres. The views stretch for miles over the heather and is a wonderful place to visit at sunset. Black Down is home to some Belted Galloways and there are also deer and bats here too. The walk around Black Down makes for a very leisurely walk – don’t forget to visit the Temple of the Winds for a different viewpoint! You can park at any of the car parks on Tennyson’s Lane, but they can get very busy as they are only small.

Devils Dyke, East Sussex

Devils Dyke is a 100m V-shaped valley and another great walking spot. You can do a nice 7-mile walk from Ditchling Beacon to Devil’s Dyke as seen here or there are a great many other walks you can do. If you don’t want to follow a specific route, just follow the footpaths along the top of the downs – you can always turn around when you’ve had enough! It’s also a popular spot for mountain bikers, kiting, paragliders and picnickers and is perfect for kids to cycle along due to the flat nature of the trail!

5 Autumn Walks to Enjoy In the South Downs

The cool crisp days and plethora of trees bursting with autumnal glory make it the perfect time to grab those walking boots and enjoy a leisurely ramble. If you want to experience a day out walking near the South Downs and are looking for some autumnal beauty spots near Hampshire and Sussex, then look no further. Whether it’s a dog-friendly walk, scenic National Trust location or peaceful garden you are after, these locations will be sure to give you some inspiration.

We have compiled a list of some of the best walks in the South Downs that should be on your list to visit this year and are guaranteed to give you some Autumnal photos.

1. Ebernoe Common

For a lovely woodland circular walk, why not visit Ebernoe Common near Petworth, a site of special scientific interest. You can park at the church and follow the footpaths, see the 2-mile route for more information. Ebernoe Common boasts a variety of rich wildlife, funghi, streams, ponds, bridges and meadows. While it makes a lovely walk in Autumn, make sure you visit in Spring to view the bluebells, butterflies and flowers.

 

 

2. Nymans

Nymans is a picturesque National Trust garden, created by the Messel family, and is a lovely location to admire views, manicured gardens and the ruins. A handy kiosk serving hot drinks will allow you to warm your hands as you stroll through the gardens and admire the ever-changing landscape. Dogs are allowed in the woodland accessible through the car park but not in the gardens. There are different routes available depending on how far you want to walk, but they range from less than a mile to 2.5 miles. If you are looking for a walk with a whole lot of variety – Nymans has it all.

 

3. Leonardslee Gardens

Leonardslee Gardens has an amazing collection of trees displaying their autumnal colours, creating a beautiful display of reds, pinks, oranges and yellows. There are numerous walks to enjoy through the 240 acres of gardens, parkland and forest areas and you can bring your dog on a short lead, although not in the café. There is also a rock garden to explore its twisting paths and vibrant trees. In addition, Leonardslee Gardens boasts a huge range of wildlife, including foxes, squirrels, rabbits, voles, badgers and even wallabies!

 

4. Petworth Park

Petworth is a 17th-century Grade I listed country house and deer park. For those wanting to run off some steam for both you and the dog, this is a perfect location with fantastic views. It is a great place for photographers wanting to capture stunning photos of the deer, runners to enjoy the wide paths and for walkers to enjoy the fresh air. The car park can be very busy so bear that in mind when you are deciding what time to enjoy a walk (earlier is usually better!).

 

5. Sheffield Park

Sheffield Park is another National Trust location and has to be one of the top locations for an autumnal walk in Sussex. There is an abundance of trees changing colour creating stunning reflections in the four beautiful lakes. The gardens provide a place to sit and enjoy the space and admire the multitude of colours that come out during Autumn. There is even an Autumn Colour Watch page that updates you on the colours of the trees so you can see how the park is transforming and ensure you get the most out of your experience. Once you have wandered around the gardens, you can visit the surrounding parkland which does not need to be pre-booked. It is a perfect wildlife haven and home to a natural woodland play trail – perfect for the kids. You can also follow a 3-mile walk around the parkland and can bring dogs on short leads.

 

This is just a selection of our favourite locations, but there are many more lovely Autumnal walks to enjoy near the South Downs. Let us know your favourite ones – we would love to know. If you are looking for things to do in Sussex and the South Downs then take a look at our other suggestions.

Keeping Warm While Walking the South Downs Way

As the saying goes ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing! This is especially true when walking during the colder and wetter Autumn and Winter months. The South Downs Way passes through areas of woodland and by stunning coastal views, many of which are best seen during the latter months of the year; with the leaves either changing colour or having dropped off the trees providing a clearer view of the area.

Items we advise packing for a long walk –

1 – a lightweight rucksack

2 – packable waterproof jacket & waterproof over trousers

3 – a torch if walking on dark winter days

4 – map

5 – high-calorie snack bars

6 – flask with a warm drink

7 – mobile phone

8 – gloves and hats on very cold days

Experienced walkers should know that a sunny walk can suddenly turn into a cold, wet one and automatically have the above packed just in case. It’s always better to be prepared and not use something rather than be in desperate need of a rain mac in a sudden downpour and not have one available!

The key to a comfortable and safe walk in more adverse weather conditions is layering. Quite simply, the more layers you wear, the warmer you’ll be. You can wear as many layers as you like, but we tend to think of them as in 3 parts – base layers, mid-layers and outer layers. Air gets trapped in between each layer which then acts as insulation and keeps you warm.

The base layer goes against your skin and is usually made from something stretchy and figure-hugging yet also breathable. T-shirts are not a good base layer as they are more likely to retain moisture and make you cold. We tend to stick with a wool base layer as they are soft and comfortable and provide good warmth. Wool is also very good at wicking moisture away from your body, again helping you keep warm.

Exactly as it says, a mid-layer goes over the top of your base layer and underneath the outer layer! A breathable fleece or softshell jacket is an excellent choice. On slightly warmer days or a dry day where you’ve heated up through exertion, you can also wear these as your outer layer.

The outer layer is where you get what you pay for and the most important layer! A waterproof jacket is recommended as it’ll keep you both warm and dry. A breathable material such as GORE-TEX is perfect and ideally as lightweight as possible in case you want to take it off and pack it away. Many jackets also feature windproofing which helps prevent the warm air from being replaced by colder air. Check that your jacket is still breathable though for the most comfort.

Getting wet on a walk is the most serious threat to your wellbeing and enjoyment. Always carry a good waterproof jacket, even if you don’t need to use it, just in case. On days where you are expecting some rain, I’d advise taking a pair of waterproof overtrousers too. If you don’t like overtrousers, consider a pair of gaitors which do help provide a bit of protection to your lower legs and help stop water running into your boots.

Keeping a wool hat and thin yet warm gloves in your rucksack is also a good idea on very cold days. The hat will obviously help keep your head warm and you’d be surprised at how cold your hands can get when swinging back and forwards!

You burn more calories when walking in colder weather, so make sure you have a reasonable breakfast before setting off and have a high-calorie oaty type bar or two packed away just in case. You might not fancy a full pub lunch stop midway through your walk, so something light to keep you going is a good back up.

So, we’ve talked about keeping your body warm and fuelled, but what about the part of you that does all the hard work – your feet!

Nothing is going to cause you more discomfort during a long winter walk than having the wrong footwear on! It’s essential to keep them as warm and dry as possible so take time when choosing which ones to buy. From October onwards, our personal choice is to wear a boot as opposed to a shoe because it provides more stability for your ankles and does help to keep more of your foot warm. Make sure you find a type with good grip, especially for hill walking.

Try on lots of different types and learn what suits you best. Before embarking on a long walk, always use new footwear on smaller walks to make sure they’re comfortable enough for longer distances. Again, gaitors are worth considering when you know you might be walking through muddy puddles as they can help stop water from entering the tops of your shoes or boots and provide a bit of protection for your lower legs.

And finally, if walking alone or in a small group, always let someone know your route and roughly what time you’re expected to finish. Mobile phones don’t often work in more remote areas so having that back up is advisable.