1 - From the centre of the village, close to the village shop, walk south on the west side of the main road and as the last houses are passed, branch right onto the unsigned Crypt Lane, bearing right, then left after a few yards.

Walk along the quiet lane for a quarter of a mile, with a deep, watery gully on the left, and pass beneath a bridge that once carried the railway from Chichester to Midhurst. Continue on the lane, arriving beside the farmhouse and buildings of Crypt Farm.

With a triple garage ahead, turn right on the main drive between farm buildings, climbing a short rise for about 50 yards and, with Crypt Farm Cottage ahead, take the left bridleway turning (blue arrow), climbing into close woodland.

2 - The path soon broadens, climbing the wooded scarp slope, where huge root plates of fallen trees can be seen, to clear the woodland after 300 yards and arrive at a rising field corner.

Climb the left field edge for 200 yards to a marker post, where the hedgeline turns left. The blue arrow on the post can be misleading and the true line from this point is quarter-right, across the field on a bridleway that had not been reinstated when this walk was surveyed.

Take the quarter-right line up the field and in a short distance a marker post comes into view on the skyline – head for this. Pass through an opening, continuing for 125 yards to a wider crossing track and path junction on the South Downs Way (SDW).

3 - Turn right on the SDW passing a large lump of chalk on the left, apparently a sculpture. The walk follows the SDW for a little over a mile, passing south of Linch Ball, a tumuli site and at 814ft, the highest point of the walk. There are distant views to the Isle of Wight, out onto the Weald and along the line of the Downs.

Eventually the track begins a gradual descent and, just before a lone tree on the right of the SDW track, take the signposted right turn (Restricted Byway – maroon arrow), up a bank and through a bridle gate.

Cross the western flank of Linch Down, bearing slightly left, to enter woodland. The path bears right, following a steep, and in places rough, descent through the woodland hanger, to a wider track at the foot of the incline. Do not be confused by various paths leading from the track junction, take a few paces right then join the northward track, walking for nearly half a mile to arrive opposite Linch Farm.

4 - Go left along Bugshill Lane for 75 yards and beside cottages on the right, turn almost full right onto a descending track that bears left and then right, heading north on a rougher surface.

Keep to the track, a restricted byway, passing an isolated cottage and New Barn. Pass around a gate, continuing along an overgrown section to arrive beside a left turn in 175 yards – ignore this turning.

Keep direction ahead, passing through an opening and crossing fields for one third of a mile, keeping generally to the left field edge. On coming to a right branching track (marker sign in hedgerow, left) take this, heading across the field towards woodland. Follow the enclosed path ahead for ten yards, turning left into the woodland on Minching Lane. In a short distance, at a path junction amongst scrub, a choice has to be made.

5 - Either take a few paces right and then go left (yellow arrow), this footpath follows left field edges for half a mile, crossing a midway plank bridge, to a field corner. Alternatively, keep to Minching Lane, the pleasant wooded route passes a couple of five bar gates, bringing you to a third gate and path sign, take a few paces right (yellow arrow) to come to the field corner.

From the field corner, arrived at by either option, follow the hedgeline south and then west for half a mile (ignore intermediate turnings) finally going left across a plank bridge in hedgerow (marker post) onto a rough surfaced track.

Turn right and in 100 yards turn left, following the track for a little over half a mile, finally climbing right and left to Church Farm at Bepton. A few paces across the farmyard leads to the village church, a site worth investigating.

On leaving the church note the two substantial shrubs on the right of the path, these being the burial site for victims of the Black Death in 1349, a tragedy which virtually wiped out the community. Descend the brick path, bearing left, to a minor road.

6 - Turn right along the road to a junction and turn left onto Bell Lane, walking for 400 yards to the junction with Bepton Road.

Turn right up a track that after a quarter of a mile turns left (ignore a right bridleway). Keep to the rising restricted byway, climbing the steepening scarp slope and taking a slow, right turn to the track junction with Henley Lane.

Turn left along the lane for nearly three quarters of a mile, descending between tall hedgerows to a crossing track.

7 - Turn left, coming to Bell Lane after one third of a mile. Turn right along the minor road for 300 yards and then right onto a private road and public footpath (yellow arrow).

At the end of the road the path continues beside a garden boundary to come to the Cocking History Column.

This unique, moving and delightful millennium sculpture records the history of the village from Bronze Age times up to the 20th century.

Local events taken place over hundreds of years are portrayed beneath a spiralling ribbon of national history.

The brass column, created by the community, is a truly remarkable sculpture.

Turn left from the column, following the path between local houses, back to the main street in Cocking.

  • Distance/Time: Eight and a half miles taking four and a half hours
  • By Car: Cocking village is on the A286 Chichester to Midhurst road, two miles south of Midhurst. Parking in the village is in Mill Lane. The starting point grid reference is SU879176
  • By Public Transport: Bus service from Chichester passes along the A286 and through the village. Travel details are available from www.traveline.info or call 0871 2002233
  • What’s underfoot: Weald and Downland walking with some steep climbs and varied terrain. Tough going and a long way with a baby backpack, not recommended. Not possible with a baby buggy
  • Thirsty Work: The Blue Bell pub and restaurant and Moonlight Cottage Tearooms and B&B in the main street
  • So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer Map 120 plus a compass for general direction

Click here for a full-sized map of the Cocking walk