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1 - The story goes that Yapton villagers always kept doors open so when the despised preventative men came chasing smugglers the local heroes could quickly run out the back door. Such stories, however, have no credibility today. (Honest guv, I was in the pub with me mates.) Walk west along the main road (B2233) from the Yapton recreation ground and in 100 yards turn left into Canal Road. In a few yards, just after The Pines, turn right onto an enclosed footpath and in 100 yards descend to a residential close. Walk ahead, going left of Trundle Cottage towards Tack Lee Bridge.
You are now in the line of the Arundel to Portsmouth canal, built between 1818 and 1823 and closed in 1849.
Go left up the bridge steps and take the footpath opposite, once a towpath. It passes behind local houses that are on the opposite side of the dried-up canal. On coming to a track take a few paces left, going right through a metal kissing gate and crossing a stile.
2 - Keep direction along the path, through a section of in-filled canal, to the obvious towpath, with the canal cut on the right. After a quarter of a mile pass the ruins of Denges Barn, on the left, continuing for 200 yards to a stile.
The next section of path is along a restored field. There is a bank-top path along most of the 300 yards towards Tilebarn Farm.
At a four-way path junction turn three-quarters right, passing the mounting stone of the former Tilebarn Swing Bridge, and head across the field – John Baker’s Mill, the tower windmill at Barnham, is a marker. Cross two stiles onto an enclosed footpath, between houses and work units, to the roadside at Barnham.
3 - Cross to the opposite footpath continuing northward; pass through a gate into a meadow, going over a plank bridge to a railway crossing. Cross with care, and, with a large greenhouse in front, turn left to the structure’s corner and there turn right. Walk north beside the greenhouses and outbuildings of Pollard’s Nursery, and appreciate the scale of food production – part of what has long-been an important industry on this fertile coastal plain.
On clearing the last greenhouse bear left, beside houses, to a residential road. Turn left for about 50 yards, then right onto Park Road. In 300 yards enter a grassed area, with more greenhouses ahead. Go half-right towards the corner of the buildings, continuing along their eastern edge, with more evidence of large-scale horticultural production.
After the last of the buildings, enter a wide field, bearing right for about one-third of a mile, towards the church at Walberton.
4 - At the far side of the field pass through two gates into the churchyard. Follow the path ahead, passing the church porch, where a diversion can be made to look around the ancient building. There is a stained-glass window remembering the first Lord Woolton, minister of food during the SecondWorld War and famous for Woolton Pie, a wartime vegetable dish.
Resume direction, passing through the lychgate into Church Lane, leading to a crossing road and turning right. In 100 yards join The Street, going east through the village, to a road junction at Blacksmiths Corner, beside Forge Cottages.
Cross the road ahead, passing around a barrier and climbing to a field. Follow the path that crosses to the far side, descending through a plantation to a low-lying, marshy area beside a golf course. Go half-left, crossing a bridge and climbing towards hedgerow. Pass through a hedge-opening, immediately turning right up a bank, climbing beside the churchyard wall at Binsted.
At a minor road, turn right beside the churchyard wall, where a visit to the small, remote church is possible. The interior of the building reveals an intriguing tradition, with memorial tablets recalling parishioners who travelled the world in the days of empire.
5 - From the church gate cross to an opposite, unsigned lane, following this for 300 yards to a path junction and turning right. Follow the southward path for a quarter of a mile, crossing a midway bridge, to a minor road. Maintain direction along the quiet road for a quarter of a mile and just after Oakley Cottages turn right through an opening.
In a few paces turn left along a field edge, to the far- left corner. From the corner pass through a boggy section, and in a few yards go left through an opening, turning right towards Marsh Farm.
At the far side of the farm buildings descend half-left, going right at a three-way path junction. In 200 yards go right, through a gate, turning left beside a drainage ditch to a bridge. Follow a fence-side path half-right to cross the railway. In the next field head towards Long Barn, go right, around the end of the barn, turning left for 150 yards to Ford Lane.
6 - Go right along the road for 50 yards, climb the left bank, heading to a mid-field marker post. From the post go right, through hedgerow, beside a low barn, and head quarter-left across a field for a quarter-of-a-mile to a junction of paths (ignore right turnings) at the rear of houses.
Turn left on an unsigned path, beside a wooden fence, to a residential road. Go left for 50 yards to a right turning, noting ahead the Leaning Tower of Yapton – the church tower supported by buttresses. The church is worth a visit, and the door is always open.
From the church, continue 200 yards and when opposite The Poplars take a path, through hedgerow left, into a recreation ground. Follow a half-right line across the grounds to our starting point.
* Distance/Time: Six miles, taking three hours.
* By Car: Yapton is on the B2233 road, which is two and a half miles south of the A27. Take the Yapton turn-off two and a half miles west of Arundel. Start point Grid Ref: SU980031.
* By Public Transport: Travel details from www.traveline.info, phone 0871 2002233. Bus service to Yapton stops close to village recreation ground.
* What’s underfoot: Coastal plain walking on level paths with no major ascents, plenty of stiles and two railway crossings. Possible with a baby backpack; not possible with a baby buggy.
* Thirsty Work: Village pubs in Yapton.
* So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer map 121, plus a compass for general direction
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