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 The Black Horse is 500 metres ahead, behind the trees.

Circular Walks in the Parish of Nuthurst
The Sussex Downs offers some of the South’s most wonderful scenery and a superb variety of walks and cycle paths. So, whether you meet at the Black Horse Inn to prepare for your walk or to wind down after a long bike ride, you are sure to relax in tranquil surroundings. Click on a link below to view and download details of each walk…

Circular Walk 1---Mannings Heath, Sedgewick and back

Circular Walk 1 Mannings Heath, Sedgewick and back

There are two options, both start and finish at the Village Shop in Mannings Heath;

1a is the shorter walk. Distance 3 miles .Time about one and a half hours. No hills, just a gentle uphill stretch along Sedgewick Lane, some stiles.

1b is the longer walk. Distance 4 to 5 miles, with just gentle slopes. Scenery is more varied and it is worth the extra time and effort.

Route 1a .... the shorter walk

  1. From the shop, walk along Pound Lane to the A281 and cross just before the Elite Garage. Walk along the tarmac path towards Horsham.
  2. Just beyond the entrance to Rickfield Farm, turn left down a public bridleway. This passes through mixed woodland. The Parish largely sits on Wealden Clay, a poor soil and in times past, much of the landscape would have looked like this. Big trees, especially oaks, gave timber for buildings and ships, whilst under-cuttings kept people warm, or could be made into fences. Does this east west bridleway look like an early “road” , one that never got tarmacked? Most of our modern roads run north south.
  3. Cross a stream, en route for a gate that leads into a field. This, like much of the land has been cleared of trees for pasture, not for growing crops. Look right. You will see St. Mary’s Church, with its very appropriate wooden spire.
  4. Continue to hug the hedge and think how old it might be. The oldest hedges have lots of different species. Look particularly to see nut bushes or trees in these hedges. They used to supply free pig food and animals would be brought from the coastal strip to fatten them up in Nuthurst.
  5. At the corner of the field, go through gate into a small finger of woodland. Cross another stream. Emerge onto stoned track. Walk to Sedgewick Lane
  6. Turn left along Sedgewick Lane, past Whytings Stud Farm and Goldfinch Cottage on the right. Just past Bull’s Farm, turn left at the footpath sign and cross a stile, into a field. Follow its left hand boundary.
  7. Keep vigilant now! Approx half way along this boundary, find a hidden footpath sign on your left. Follow it, heading diagonally across field. Again, notice the nut trees and look out for grazing deer.
  8. At far side of the field, cross one of the many streams that drain this terrain and go into the next field. Head diagonally, towards a wide metal gate. Immediately turn right to reach a stile. If you look ahead you can see the North Downs.
  9. The next bit is tricky! Whytings Farm is on your left; walk towards its right hand barn .In the corner of the field is a gap in the hedgerow and a footpath sign!
  10. Turn right for ten metres and cross another stile. Here, you will find another sign, pointing you left. Keep the barns on your left. Climb over one more stile and walk across two planks over a meandering stream. Immediately, there is another sign. Aim towards opposite hedge, where twenty metres away you will find yet another sign
  11. Go through a metal gate. Notice all the piles of wood. West Sussex is the most heavily wooded county in England. Head diagonally across a field, almost in line with some chimney stacks.
  12. Cross two stiles into the next field and head for the space between some barns and caravans. Climb another stile .Cross the track running from farm to barn. Rickfield Farm, has stood here since medieval times and was once part of St. Leonards Forest.
  13. After crossing the track, climb another stile and head straight on. This can be a muddy section if the cows are about! Further on, under an oak tree follow sign. Ignore more obvious track made by sheep. Turn left after climbing stile and follow path until it meets the A281. Facing you are the Old Post House and Heath Cottage. The latter reminds us that the Parish has some outcrops of Tunbridge Wells sandstone and this supported heathland in the past.
  14. Carefully cross the A218 . Turn left towards the Dun Horse Pub. Enter Pound Lane, retracing your steps, past the modern Whytings, and back to the village shop where, if you wish, you can sit and enjoy a coffee and cake.

Route for the longer walk, 1b

  1. Follow the route for walk 1a up to number 6 but continue walking along Sedgewick Lane until you reach Sedgewick Park’s North entrance. Do not walk further down the road but

further on, down Broadwater Lane is the site of Sedgewick Castle. It is not open, but

dates back to the 11th. Century.( Thought! Did the pigs come from farms in Broadwater?

  1. Left of entrance is a hidden footpath. Take it and notice Heritage Trail info post on right, before climbing stile. If you have children with you, ask if the hedge on your left is old or new and how they know.
  2. Go over stile and stream into woodland. Notice the old coppicing where stems were cut at the bottom to yield stout posts for fences .
  3. Exit wood over stile. Walk on and over another stile, by conifers. Walk through some mixed woodland. Go straight ahead to emerge onto a stoned trackway by a three pronged footpath sign. Turn left. (Straight ahead leads to Nuthurst village.)
  4. Walk past two white houses on left. You are now on the ridge and in Finches Wood. Through the trees on the right, on a clear day, you may glimpse the sea through Goring Gap. The wood is largely coniferous, which is not a native species and does not support the wealth of wildlife that an old mixed woodland will.
  5. Walk downhill and at the footpath sign with three fingers, turn left over two stiles and keep to the lefthand side of the field.
  6. Go over stile and along a fenced off path. A house called Woolmers is on your right. This was once an old medieval farmhouse, one of eleven medieval houses in the Parish.
  7. Pass through a kissing gate. Note the big oak trees along this stretch. They are rich in wildlife and grow especially well on our Wealden clay.
  8. Walk straight on but to your left is the stile leading to Rickfields Farm, another medieval building. You will come out onto the A281, opposite Heath Cottage, which reminds us why Mannings Heath is so named. Part of the heathland was presumably here, on an outcrop of Tunbridge Wells sandstone.
  9. Turn left towards the Dun Horse. Cross carefully and retrace your steps along Pound Lane, back to the Village Shop.

Submitted by Carol Hyde of Mannings Heath – 9th January, 2009

Circular Walk 2---Mannings Heath to Monks Gate and back

Circular walk 2 Mannings Heath to Monks Gate and back

Distance.....3 miles and can be muddy after rain.

  1. Park near Mannings Heath Village shop and walk east, along Winterpit Lane. This used to be part of the old road to Cuckfield. Walk past the riding stables and down the hill. Turn off right down the tarmac track to Holme Farm.
  2. At the fork, keep straight ahead. Notice the coppiced hazels on your left and the beehives, just before the ponds. Currently, bees are seriously under threat from disease. In Spring the next field on your right is yellow with daffodils.
  3. Just before the first of the three houses, turn left down a bridleway and head up hill. This bit can be well churned up by horses’ hooves, but bear with it! Watch out for kestrels on the wires. The pond on the right is worth a look as you may see moorhens.
  4. Enter the woods and continue up hill. When you reach the gate, look left to see Lower Beeding Church and the deer. Further on, you’ll see Old Camp Farm. In World War 2, I think this was used to house Italian troops.
  5. Cross the A281 with great care and walk right, towards Monks Gate. This is a narrow footpath and dogs and children will need close supervision.
  6. Just before the bend there is a 40mph sign and public footpath sign. Cross here and take the gravel track to Monks Gate House. At its gate, take the right hand path to Mara Cottage and go straight ahead and over a stile into a coppiced wood. In Spring you can see bluebells here. In the Middle Ages, archers boiled up bluebell bulbs to use as glue to stick feathers into their arrows.
  7. Walk through two fields. To your left, you can see mauve orchids in May or June. Through the trees you may catch sight of Swallowfield House. Miss Biggs, who lived here, paid for the Church of the Good Shepherd to be built.
  8. Enter another bluebell wood, and then cross the stile to take a path riddled with rabbit holes. Take care!
  9. Continue downhill, through a couple of gates towards the ponds. The causeway between them can get muddy! If you approach quietly, you may be rewarded with sightings of a heron or cormorant fishing. It is a pretty spot and once I even saw baby badgers here, in daylight.
  10. Walk straight up the hill, with horses on your right and Lower Beeding Church once again in view.
  11. Cross the stile and walk alongside the riding school, and emerge onto Winterpit Lane. Turn left and walk downhill towards the village shop.
Circular Walk 3---A 3 mile walk around Nuthurst

Circular Walks in the Parish Number 3

Around Nuthurst (approx 3 miles)

This walk follows bridleways and can be muddy after rain. However, it is a lovely walk in the spring when the wild daffodils are out and later, when bluebells carpet the woods.

  1. Drive through the village of Nuthurst towards Maplehurst, past St Andrews School on the right and up the hill. At the top there is a parking place on your right, opposite Woodlands Farm, but please do not block the gate into the field.
  2. Walk back down the hill and just before the white cottage,turn left onto a bridleway. Follow the well worn path that hugs the right hand side of the field. Listen to the sounds around you. I heard a lot of birdsong in March.
  3. Go through the gate and follow the path to the left. In May, this wood should be covered with bluebells. If you’ve read the notes for walk 2, you’ll know that the bulbs used to be boiled into glue and used to stick feathers into arrows. Look at the coppicing of trees to your right. Nearby, you’ll find a notice explaining it.
  4. Bear left through the gate into a field for a very shortway,then go through another gate to re-enter the wood. Turn left and cross a stream into another field. Hug the right hand side, go through a gate and when you come to a three way junction, go straight ahead.
  5. Follow the right hand side of the field.Look at the dark green conifer trees to your left. They are probably a hundred years old and planted when Gaveston Hall was built. It was one of several large houses fashionably built within parklands in the parish, towards the end of the Victorian era. Later, it became a school and is now an outdoors activity centre. Always look at telephone wires to see if there’s a bird of prey, such as a kestrel , sitting surveying the field for small mammals for lunch or tea. There are an increasing number of buzzards around. These are big birds, often soaring high on the thermals. Up there, they can see prey in the fields over a distance of three miles. They can be mercilessly mobbed by crows and will usually give up and go! It is interesting to watch.
  6. Bear right and go through another gate into a field.Hug the right hand edge, go through another gate and cross a stream. You could play pooh sticks here. Follow the path onwards and cross the racing gallops,heading towards the farm.
  7. Turn right along a tarmac path,passing the stables and a small pond. In March, small wild daffodils, called Lenten Lilies up north, were flowering in various places along this walk. They seem much nicer than the large King Alfreds I planted at home! On your right, there are a number of fine oak trees in the field. These are precious trees as they support a myriad of insects and birds. In the woodpiles, look out for rabbits! I’ve never seen any hares but you may be luckier. Did you know that only the females “ box” ?
  8. Cross the gallop and go straight ahead,despite the signpost not being immediately apparent. Enter the woodland. Can you spot lichens and moss here and do you know the differences between them? I’m afraid I only know that lichens are a sign of good air quality and a healthy environment! Go over the bridge and up the hill. You might look out to see if the farmer has planted a field of blue flax around here.
  9. At the crossroad,turn right and admire the views of the Downs to your right. Can you imagine what it must have been like as an Iron Age tribesman living up there in winter, hunkered up against Chanctonbury Ring?
  10. Go over the stile and hug the left hand side of the field. On entering woodland, turn right downhill and use the footbridge to cross the stream. These streams provide a valuable function, draining the fields of surplus water but also providing drinking water for the deer and badgers and other creatures who live in this part of our parish.
  11. Walk uphill, across a field and turn right towards the Church of St. Andrew. Go over another stream and out into the graveyard. This site has been sacred for a thousand years but a cornerstone in the building tells you this Church is Victorian. Pause under the lych gate to see the names of the servicemen who died in the First World War. It is a distressing number. The lych gate was used at burials to shelter the coffin before the clergyman arrived and the name is derived from the Old English word “lic”, which means” body “.
  12. Turn right and walk past the church school and up the hill to your parked car. Please take care as there is only a limited pavement and the road can be very busy in term time just before school opens and closes to pupils.
Circular Walk 4---Around Copsale and Nuthurst

Distance: 8 miles
Map: OS Explorer 134 Crawley and Horsham
Starting point: The Downs Link car park at Copsale.
G R: 170249
How to get there: Copsale can be approached either from the southbound carriageway of the A24 about a mile south of Southwater or northwards from the A272 about halfway between Cowfold and the A24/A272 junction, turning left at Maplehurst. The car park is on the south side of the lane opposite the Bridge House Inn.

1: From the car park turn right and shortly left along Broadwater Lane. At a road junction go ahead, sign posted to Sedgwick and Horsham. After 100 yards, just short of a bungalow called Komani, turn right along a left field edge and continue for a while within the right-hand margin of a wood before emerging to follow the right wood edge. At the end of the wood go left through a bridle gate and follow a path northwards along the left edge of two paddocks and through more woodland, ignoring the first signed path off to the right. After crossing two footbridges leave the wood and veer half right across a field, aiming for a prominent tree at a corner of woodland protruding into the field from the right. From the corner of woodland, continue across the field veering slightly right to reach the far right corner. (If this path is blocked by a growing crop, after leaving the wood you may find it easier to use the zigzag right field edge to reach the same point.)

At the corner bear right along a dirt track which follows the left edge of a large field generally eastwards. Ignoring a crossing bridleway, follow the track along the left edge of several fields. It finally narrows to a path, passing through a belt of woodland. Leave the wood through a makeshift gate and cross a field to pass through a similar gate. Bare half right across pasture to enter a short woodland path. This leads you out through Nuthurst churchyard to join a road.Turn left. The Black Horse pub is now in sight ahead. (1.75 miles) a good place to stop for rest and refreshment

2: To continue the walk, about 100yards south of the pub, turn off along the drive to Cook's Farm and 'Architectural Plants', a garden centre selling exotic trees and shrubs. Follow the drive as it curves round to the left and. where it divides, fork right. Pass to the right of a large barn with two wings and, after a few yards, keep straight on, ignoring a left fork. A few yards short of an isolated cottage in a woodland clearing, fork right along a path into woodland, well trodden by horses. Follow this clear track through Lodgesale Wood for over 1/2 mile to join a road past a house called Hop Gardens. (0.75 mile)

3: Go left for a few yards only before turning right along a wide woodland track into Newells Rough. Where the track bears left towards a gate, fork right along a narrower woodland path, which eventually dips to cross a stream. Disregard, in turn, a signed bridleway off to the left and footpath off to the right. After another 50 yards turn left along a second signed bridleway which winds up through the wood, soon between banks.

Just short of a row of cottages on the left, turn sharply right along a narrow signed path. On reaching a bungalow on your right, go ahead along a tarmac drive. At a T- junction, turn right, still on a hard track. Pass to the right of the buildings at Old Woldringfold Cottage and follow the drive round to the left and uphill. Go straight over a crossing drive. At the top of the rise where the continuing drive curves right towards another property, go through a gap at the left end of a post and rail fence and across grass. Cross another drive and go ahead for a few yards soon bearing right to a stile beside a gate. A faint unfenced track continues, skirting to the left of a plantation.

This path offers views southwards between trees to a long stretch of the northern Downs escarpment between Ditchling Beacon and the Adur valley. You should be able to pick out the rounded shape of Wolstonbury Hill and further west, the radio masts on Truleigh Hill. The firm but grass covered track continues out to a lane past a house called West Lodge. Turn left. (1.5 miles)

4: After about 300 yards turn right between brick gateposts and along a metal led drive. Go forward between buildings, ignoring a signed crossing footpath. Continue along the drive, passing to the right of a large storage shed, and shortly go ahead along a drive labelled as a private drive to Ivory's Farm.

After another 100 yards fork leftover a stile and continue ahead, joining and following the right edge of a meadow while skirting to the left of the house and garden of the farm. In the field corner go over a stile beside a gate and turn left along a left field edge. Cross a drive and continue along the left edge of the field beyond. Go into the next field and veer half right across the field, aiming for a fingerpost a few yards to the right of the far corner. If ploughed or planted without reinstatement of the path, you may have to resort to the right field edge.

At the fingerpost go through a gateway and follow a right field edge. Pass to the right of the buildings at Little Champions Farm to join a road and turn left. Just short of the next house on the left, turn right through a gateway, go over a stile and along the right edge of a paddock to another stile. The path now squeezes to the right of a large building not yet marked on O/S maps. Beyond the building. Go ahead for a few yards to find a hidden stile and footbridge and then continue along a left field edge.
After about 300 yards, side-step to the left through a gap in the Hedge and immediately go right over a stile to resume your previous direction, now along a right field edge. In the field corner join a drive. (2.25 miles)

5: Turn right along the drive to Smallham farmhouse. Soon ignoring a left fork. Approaching another group of farm buildings, fork left to go through a gate in a high deer-proof fence. Walk along the left edge of this enclosure to another tall gate in the corner, which provides access onto the old railway track.

A modest diversion to the left along the track bed brings you to the West Grinstead Station site, now developed as a picnic area. A restored railway coach houses a small information display. It is occasionally open at weekends, manned by volunteers. The railway was built in 1861 and closed 100 years later. It has now become the ‘Downs Link', a 30 mile route for walkers, horse-riders and cyclists, linking the South Downs Way at Shoreham with the North Downs Way at St Martha's Hill, near Guildford.

To complete the walk, turn right along the Downs Link and follow it for a little over a mile back to the start at Copsale. (1.75 miles)

 

Circular Walk 5---Around Maplehurst

Circular Walk 5 Around Maplehurst

This walk is around two miles and gives you some lovely, far reaching views of the South Downs. “Hurst” in Old English means a wooded hill, and on this walk you will understand why early settlers gave the land this name. A thousand years ago the whole area would have been heavily wooded but now, much of it has been cleared for pasture for horses. Notice how the trees though support wildlife. You could even keep a count of the numbers of different wild flowers that you see in the woods, especially in spring before the leaves on the trees burst out.

During this walk, on a late, sunny March day, I had six sightings of buzzards, so keep an eye on the sky for these raptors soaring on the thermals. Listen too, and you may hear one “mew”.

  1. Drive through Nuthurst and at the crossroads in the centre of Maplehurst, turn left into Park Lane for a short distance. Park on the right, near the entrance to Heathtolt Farm. Take the public footpath downhill and look at the trees to your left. Why did someone plant the Scots Firs and can you see the black rooks in the rookery, high in the trees?
  2. Go through the farm yard and glance at the middens. You may see some small black and white birds that wag their tails. Their name is a very obvious “Pied Wagtails”. Leave by the grassy track, that heads towards a copse.
  3. As you enter it, turn left and head uphill. In March, it was a picture with violets and white wood anemones. Bluebells will come later.
  4. Emerge into a field,though unfortunately the view is spoilt by pylons. Turn left along side of the field and when you come to a footpath, turn right and head across the field, under the pylons. Face the Downs: on the right, in the distance, you will see a hill with a pylon on its summit. This is Bignor Hill, famous for its footpath sign in Latin! The Roman Stane Street, and Bignor Villa nearby would once have been very busy. How odd when the Romans left our shores and these villas fell into disrepair. The Saxons simply ignored them!
  5. Go over the stile and into another copse with a small pond to the right. Walk down past a woven fence, over a stream, then over a stile and turn left. Almost immediately at a cross-road, cross another stile and head towards a large oak in the field. There is a large house called Ivory’s to your right. Head towards the left hand corner of the field and by a telegraph pole, you will find another stile. Climb over it and turn right, along a tarmac drive.
  6. Walk straight on, past a riding school on the left and through a stable area. Head towards two semi- detached houses with black doors. At the footpath sign, turn left up another tarmac drive towards High Hurst Manor.
  7. Walk uphill and turn to face the Downs. At the weekend, with binoculars, you can see the car park at Devils Dyke and hang gliders. Pan left along the Downs and you can see the white windmills called Jack and Jill. Pan right for Lancing College.
  8. Continue up the hill now and enter High Hurst copse, carpeted with white anemones and violets. Go straight ahead and then bear left into an area that is coppiced and thick with bluebells.
  9. Climb over another stile into a field and head diagonally left across it, towards a metal gate. Notice the route of the road ahead, along the ridge of the high land where it’s drier. This will be an old routeway.

10.Cross the stile and go through a gate by a pond. Go straight ahead, up a hill, where primroses grow and wild strawberries. After climbing two more stiles you will reach Park Lane. Turn left to where you parked at the start of your walk.

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