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1 - From the point in Lodsworth village that is opposite The Hollist Arms pub, take the right fork along The Street. In a few paces look left across the pub car park – more of that later. Continue northward for 450 yards, passing the delightful cottages bordering the quiet roadside. On coming to a footpath sign indicating a left turn up a bank, follow the enclosed path, with a narrow garden on the right.
In 100 yards the path arrives at a surfaced ramp, climbing left. Follow this and in a few paces branch right to a road. Locate, diagonally right, on the opposite side of the road, a continuing footpath – take this. The path threads its way through the trees and shrubbery to the edge of a sloping lawn. Divert to the quarter-right, across the lower end of the lawn (yellow arrow) and pass through bushes, skirting around a low garden wall, onto an enclosed path that comes to a metal gate.
Pass into a shallow valley field and take a line directly up the opposite slope, passing through a metal gate at Redlands Farm.
2 - Walk ahead between the farm buildings, climbing to a second gate that leads onto a path sweeping left. Keep to the field-edge path, ignoring a right turn in 100 yards, and continue to climb beside woodland, passing through intermediate gates, to the top right corner of the final field.
Enter Snapelands Copse through a gate and in 150 yards, at a junction of tracks, take the bridleway descending right through mixed woodland.
In 350 yards the track comes to a clearing at Ovis Common, with dense woodland climbing the hillside on the left and a few remote dwellings on the right, behind hedgerow. Keep to the main bridleway for 250 yards, diverting left for a few paces after the last property and re-entering woodland, arriving at a three-way junction.
3 - Take the right option, descending into denser woodland, and follow the twisting bridleway to a point at which it levels-off in Knights Copse. Pass a left-turning bridleway and continue for a further 175 yards to a crossing track and turn right.
In 100 yards the path turns left to a crossing track, Gollyers Cottages are to the right. Do not walk to the cottages but turn left (yellow arrow), walking beside The Plash plantation. After one third of a mile the track arrives at Highstead Lane.
Cross to the opposite entrance, signed for Slong Farm, taking the footpath on the right, leaving the farm drive. In 150 yards, in an enclosed meadow, continue along the right edge for 250 yards and enter coppiced sweet chestnut woodland. Follow the path for 200 yards to a steep descent down a bank – care required if carrying a baby backpack or after wet weather.
4 - From the bottom of the incline turn left for a few yards, then turn right over a plank bridge and climb the steep bank ahead. The path now follows a twisting, but defined, line through Slong Hanger, with a stream down to the right – keep to the signed path, do not stray onto less-used sidetracks. The path turns to the right, descending a bank to a wider crossing track. Turn left on the footpath, ignoring a right turning in 150 yards, to arrive at a mown meadow beside a dwelling. Continue on the driveway, passing Gunters Farm, to Highstead Lane. Turn right up the quiet lane, ignore left and right turnings, continuing more steeply to Bexleyhill. As the lane levels-off, with a ruined hut on the right, locate on the left the entrance to Nightingales and a two-way sign.
5 - Take the footpath option (yellow arrow), keeping left of a rail fence, climbing through scrub and undergrowth. Turn right up a bank after 100 yards to arrive beside a deep gully footpath.
Turn left up the bank-top path, avoiding fallen trees in the gully. In a short distance descend into the gully, continuing a steeper ascent and veering right to the top of the path. On arriving at a hilltop path junction between Bexleyhill and Grevatt’s Common, turn left. Follow the wide sandy path, taking the right fork in a few yards. Keep to the wide, main track, heading south between plantations and open stretches, ignoring any side turnings. After half a mile the path arrives at a junction of footpaths and bridleways, close to the farm buildings at Grevatt’s. A few paces right from the path junction reveals a stunning distant view towards the line of the South Downs, beyond Midhurst and Harting, as they continue their chalky march into Hampshire.
6 - Return to the path junction and take the bridleway (blue arrow), going left of farm buildings, south-easterly, to a crossing bridleway near Vining Farm. Continue ahead beside a paddock for 175 yards and turn left on the bridleway, entering the sweet chestnut coppice of Vining Copse. The track winds its way through woodland for nearly half a mile to the outskirts of Lodsworth. Follow the residential road right for 300 yards, ignoring side turnings, and at Gills Lane turn left, back to the village centre, opposite the pub. Now for the Lodsworth shopping experience! Behind the pub is the Lodsworth Larder, a not-for-profit, volunteer-run community shop, offering a range of local produce and providing a vital service to this delightful rural location. A feature of the shop is the nature of its construction, being a cruck, A-framed structure of locally-harvested sweet chestnut wood. It’s worth a visit just to marvel at the building; making some purchases from the friendly staff will complete the experience. You have just trekked through the landscape from which the building’s timber was sourced. You did do the walk, didn’t you?
* Distance/ Time: Six and a quarter miles, taking three and a half hours
* By Car: Lodsworth is three quarters of a mile north of the A272, midway between Midhurst and Petworth. On-street parking. Start point Grid Ref: SU928230
* By Public Transport: Travel details from www.traveline.info, phone 0871 2002233. Bus service along A272 and walk north up the signposted lane to Lodsworth, adding a total of one and a half miles to walk
* What’s underfoot: Western Weald walking on forest paths, with some steep descents and climbs, and short sections of quiet roadside walking. Possible with a baby backpack, but care required on steep slopes; not possible with a baby buggy
* Thirsty Work: Hollist Arms pub in Lodsworth
* So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer map 133, plus a compass for general direction