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1 - From the lay-by at Hangerwood, walk north along the verge beside the A281 for 350 yards and, when opposite the entrance to Parkminster Farm, cross left with care, to the driveway. If arriving by bus there is a stop, 50 yards to the south – walk along the verge to the drive. Follow the wide track, noticing after about 300 yards the prominent buildings of Parkminster monastery. The Carthusian community practises a solitary and contemplative life, allowing little contact with the outside world.
Continue along the hedge-lined track for 300 yards, leaving where it turns sharply right and going leftward through an opening. In a few yards, with a pond on the right, enter another field and turn right up a field edge, towards farm buildings. At a farm track turn left, walking beside a barn to a three-way path junction.
2 - Turn right up a footpath to a path junction in 125 yards. Take the left turning, towards the isolated cottage at Mockford. Divert half-left when a few yards from the cottage and follow a trodden path, passing beside a garden wall and descending quarter-left to a four-way junction. Take the path ahead, along a left field-edge, crossing a concealed hedgerow stile in 150 yards.
In the next field follow a faintly trodden path towards a fence corner, ahead, passing through a gate and following the railing fence on the right, to the top of the hill. Cross to a minor road and turn left for 50 yards, crossing a hedgerow stile on the right, beside the entrance to Chuck’s Farm.
3 - Keep to the left hedgerow and from the field corner turn right for 200 yards, crossing a stile on the left. Keep to the left fenceline, ignoring a midway right turning, and head for a stile a few yards before the left corner. Cross left, go ahead a few yards, turning right on to a surfaced track. At a path junction continue ahead, taking neither side turnings. Cross the wide field to a gate, descending to a bridge and climbing out for a further 100 yards to a farm drive. Go left for a few paces, passing through a kissing gate in the opposite fence. The path goes quarter-right towards an oak tree in a few yards, diverting quarter-left to climb a bank to a gravel track.
4 - You are now on the Downs Link bridleway, once the rail connection between Shoreham and Horsham. Turn left along the track and in 275 yards, just before Need’s Bridge, descend the bank on the right, passing through a gate. Turn left down a driveway, left of a cottage, to the roadside. Turn right along the roadside and, in 100 yards, cross with care to an opposite kissing gate. Enter a wide field and take a half-left line on a trodden path, heading for the left corner of Sandpit Copse. From the corner descend right, crossing a stile on the right, cross a bridge, climbing steeply out at the opposite side. Cross the field ahead on a reinstated footpath to a hedge corner, there divert a few paces right, following the left hedgerow to a stile in the corner. Cross a track, climbing the opposite bank, and negotiate a stile and wire gate into a small pasture. Go half-left to make a crossing at the far side and taking the right fork in a track, leading towards the church of St George at West Grinstead.
A brief investigation of the building will reveal Saxon-style herringbone stonework. Beside the porch and inside are the named pews of local estates and farms for those who wanted the best, or most prestigious, seats in the house.
5 - Follow the path that goes left of the church, descending to a gate and causeway path, enclosed by a railing fence. At the halfway point of the fence cross a stile on the left to an opposite stile, then go over a track to a third stile into a paddock.
Off to the right is the River Adur and our route keeps to the line of the river as it sweeps south for nearly a mile, diverting in places through stiles and gates, to come to Hatterell Bridge and weir.
From beside the bridge turn left towards woodland, passing through a gate and climbing a short incline to a gate. Take a line across the field that after the halfway point heads for double gates.
At the far side of the next field pass through a metal gate and descend to the former railway track, climbing the opposite bank into a field. Continue to the left corner, keeping to the path beside a spinney to the roadside at Jolesfield.
6 - Cross with care and turn left along the pavement for 150 yards, taking a right turn through a metal kissing gate. Follow the right hedge to a corner, keeping direction to the right corner of a recreation ground. Cross a stile, following the enclosed footpath to the roadside in Littleworth.
Turn right for 200 yards, crossing left to the bridleway at the entrance to Blanche’s Farm. Walk ahead and turn right just before a farm gate, following the right edge of a sloping field to the bottom corner and diverting right on to Reed’s Lane.
Keep to the track for a quarter of a mile, continuing ahead at a four-way junction. In 100 yards turn right at Reeds, following a perimeter fence beside a lawn, turning left at the far end. Descend to a track, take a few paces left, turning right on to the continuing bridleway.
Keep to the track through Wymarks Wood and after half a mile pass livery yards at Greentree Farm. Continue ahead to the roadside, cross with care to the opposite verge, turning right, back to a bus stop and lay-by.
* Distance/Time: Six and a half miles, taking three and a quarter hours.
* By Car: Hangerwood is half a mile north of Shermanbury and one and a half miles south of Cowfold on the A281 road. Park in Hangerwood lay-by, making sure not to block house entrances.
* By Public Transport: Travel details from www.traveline.info, phone 0871 2002233. Bus service Stagecoach no 17 hourly between Brighton and Horsham, stops close to Parkminster and Hangerwood.
* What’s underfoot: Low Weald walking on level paths with no major ascents, plenty of stiles. Possible with a baby backpack; not possible with a baby buggy.
* Thirsty Work: Nearest refreshment spots at Cowfold and Henfield.
* So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer maps 122 and 134, plus a compass for general direction.
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