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1 - From the roadside next to the pub at Chilgrove (now The Fish House, formerly The White Horse) cross to the western side of the road and, in a few yards south, locate and follow a wide, rising bridleway. Keep to the bridleway on a rough surface beside The Plantation, climbing for one-third of a mile to arrive beside a gate on the right, as the track levels off. Turn right through the gate and head across Chilgrove Hill, with east and west views opening up across the wooded landscape. Skirt right, around the edge of a copse, maintaining direction up the field to gates set in a gorse hedgerow 400 yards ahead.
Cross into a smaller field and walk towards the top left corner, passing through a gate and coming to cottages at Bow Hill Farm.
2 - Bear left on the farm drive, beside well-trimmed hedgerow and just before barns, at a junction of paths, cross a stile on the left (yellow arrow) and follow the enclosed footpath. Pass through a metal gate and, after a few yards, bear left and cross a stile. Turn right and descend a fir-bordered path to come to a farm access drive and four-way signpost.
Turn left up the drive for 150 yards, passing Hillbarn, a prominent house, on the left. In a further few yards, with a cottage ahead, turn right beside a copse and descend a field-edge path to a stile.
Cross into a sloping meadow (yellow arrow), walking ahead and descending steeply on rough, trodden steps towards the bottom left corner of the field. Just before the corner, cross a stile on the left and follow the path to the right, through scrub and passing by a derelict brick pumping house in Whitelands Copse.
Cross a stile into a field and follow the right hedgeline to cross a midway stile – there is another derelict building up a bank on the right. Continue down the main, enclosed track, cross a further stile and walk ahead towards farm buildings, close to East Marden.
3 - Pass between the buildings and just before the last row of sheds on the left and, after about 75 yards at a three-way path junction, turn left (yellow arrow) on to a foot-path heading south. The path passes beside barns, crosses a stile into a field and continues down a right hedgeline. In 250 yards, at the field corner, cross right into the adjacent field. Turn left down the hedgerow to a corner stile which leads into a larger field. The next section of path differs slightly from that shown on the OS Explorer map. From the stile, take a half-right line across a sown field, where the footpath has not been re-instated, to a point that is approximately halfway along the opposite hedgerow. Locate an opening in the hedge and climb a bank to the roadside – there is a footpath sign, not visible from the field, at the roadside.
4 - Take a few paces left to an opposite rising track, pass around metal gates and climb into Stripeshill Copse. Pass beneath yew trees as you ascend through the woodland and, at the top of the climb where the path levels, walk ahead to a field edge. Keep to the field-edge path for 300 yards, with the copse on the left and, at a crossing bridleway, turn left. Follow the wide path through Inholmes Wood, passing over a crossing forest drive – where a thoughtfully located seat makes a good spot for a lunch break – and soon begin to descend on a narrower, tree-enclosed footpath. Ignore a right turning path after 200 yards, as the descent becomes steeper and the dwellings at Wildham Barn are approached. When beside a cottage, turn left along a gravel drive to a minor road.
5 - Turn right along the roadside and in 250 yards turn left into the Forestry Commission Stoughton Down car park. Walk across the parking area and take the bridleway that is on the left edge of the woodland. On arriving at a fork in the wide track, after one-third of a mile, take the right branching turn. The bridleway now climbs steadily through the woodland on a well-graded path and takes the right fork in the track (blue arrow) on coming to a second fork. After a climb of a little over half a mile, the bridleway clears the woodland, coming to crossing bridleways and tracks near the top of Stoughton Down.
There are a confusing number of tracks leading off from the bridleway junction. From the path sign, take a left turn on to the rising north-easterly bound bridleway, being careful not to take any of the diverging, and inviting, forest working trails on either side.
6 - The bridleway now returns into the woodland. Keep to the main track and ignore a left turning in 100 yards. Pass across the top of the wooded hill on the well-worn track and, on coming to a marker post in one-third of a mile, walk ahead a few yards to a four-way bridleway sign.
The tracks here can be confusing due to recent forestry works. Take a left turn from the sign towards a cleared forest area, walking to the far side, close to the concealed Blackbush House. Go to the right of the isolated house, beside a high fence, to join the continuing hilltop bridleway that traverses Blackbush Copse for three-quarters of a mile. On finally coming to a clearing and parking area, walk ahead to the crossing approach track we used at the beginning of this walk.
Turn right at the track and follow the descending path beside The Plantation, reversing our earlier route, down to the roadside. Cross the road, going left, back towards the pub at Chilgrove.
* Distance/Time: Six and a quarter miles, taking three and a quarter hours
* By Car: Chilgrove is midway between South Harting and Mid Lavant on the B2141 road. There is limited roadside parking at the start and you should seek permission (perhaps book a table and buy a drink) at The Fish House (formerly The White Horse) before parking. Start point Grid Ref: SU828145
* By Public Transport: Travel details from www.traveline.info, phone 0871 2002233
* What’s underfoot: Western downland walking with climbs and descents across open fields and in woodland. Tough going with a baby backpack; not possible with a baby buggy
* Thirsty Work: The Fish House pub, restaurant and accommodation at Chilgrove
* So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer map 120, plus a compass for general direction
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