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1 - From beside the bus stop and a small parking lay-by, locate and turn into the enclosed footpath that is on the east side of The World’s End pub. Follow the path, with the popular angling site of Patching Pond on the right, through the hedgerow.
On arriving beside gates that give access to the pond for anglers, take a few paces left and cross a stile. In the next field, head along the left hedge for 350 yards to a junction with a track coming from the left. Take a right turn, down the field towards a stile in the lower hedgerow. Cross into the next rising field, climb for about 75 yards and then divert half-right, heading between two oak trees, making for the hedge, in 250 yards, at the top of the field.
Climb the bank to the roadside at Clapham village, go right for a few paces and cross the A280 Longfurlong road with care to the opposite service road, originally designated as Brickworks Lane. The lane leads towards a West Sussex County Council highways depot.
The building supplies yard that is on the left of the lane is the site of the former Clapham Brick and Tile Company; bricks were manufactured in the village, using local clay, from the 18th century until the 1970s.
2 - Walk up the service road, passing the business units, and just before the depot, divert right on to a footpath that passes alongside a fence and in scrub for about 175 yards. On coming to a four-way marker post, take the left turning that heads back into woodland on Clapham Common.
In 125 yards, just after a marker post (yellow arrow), take the left fork in the path, going ahead, beside a fence. Follow the descending path to a wooden kissing gate that is a few paces to the left, at the bottom of the slope.
In the next field head north, walking towards some poultry farm buildings and expect the company of some inquisitive hens as you progress. Leave the poultry run and continue up a lane for 75 yards, passing Wyatts Copse, to a residential road, known locally as The Street. There has been a settlement at Clapham since at least Saxon times and the surrounding woodland was a good location for coppicing and other woodland industries.
Turn right to the end of the cul de sac and there turn left for a few yards and take a right turn over a stile on to an enclosed path between arable fields.
3 - Follow the field path for half a mile to cross a stile and descend to a lane. Turn left up the lane, now a bridleway, passing isolated dwellings and entering Clapham Wood. Keep to the main track heading north in mixed woodland where the age-old skill of coppicing is still practised. The area has an abundance of wild flora throughout the year and a particularly stunning display of bluebells in the early spring.
The bridleway climbs, with a few twists and turns, for three quarters of a mile through the varying woods and a footpath joins from the left, just after the mid-point.
On clearing the woods the views across to Blackpatch Hill and the surrounding Downland open up and the bridleway follows the hilltop track for 250 yards to draw alongside two isolated bushes on the left. Note the path sign a few paces ahead and from that point turn almost full left on to the path that leads back towards the woodland.
4 - Enter Richardson’s Wood and follow the wide path for 450 yards to cross a stile into a narrow field, bearing very slightly to the left to cross a stile and re-enter woodland. Continue for 150 yards and, keeping direction, cross a further stile close to a right field corner.
Enter the woodland again and in a few paces turn right for 200 yards, following the yellow arrow marker posts, then going left to arrive at a third meadow. Cross the sloping field, taking a quarter-right line that leads to a stile giving access to coppiced woodland.
On clearing the tree-cover at the edge of a meadow, the buildings of Clapham can be seen ahead. Take a quarter-right line, crossing a mid-point ditch, towards the flint-built church of St Mary The Virgin. Cross a stile and go right, across the north side of the church, heading for the lychgate at the far side of the churchyard.
5 - From the lychgate, and in a small parking area, turn left, ignoring a right turn in a few yards. Keep to the main access drive that descends towards the village. Turn right down The Street through the village, which has a mixture of old flint cottages and modern developments.
On coming to the roadside, use the pedestrian crossing and turn left. Follow the pavement for 250 yards and enter the village recreation ground, on the right, beside Clapham and Patching Village Hall. Cross half-left to a squeeze stile in the opposite hedge.
Descend the field, passing our earlier turn-off point, and cross the stile in the bottom hedgerow. Follow our outward route up the sloping field and then turn left, to head for the stile and enclosed path that lead back to the starting point.
* Distance/Time: Five miles, taking two and a half hours.
* By Car: Patching village lay-by parking beside the start point, next to pub; leave A27(T) at the Patching/Clapham/Angmering turn-off and head for north side roundabout on A280, taking the westbound minor road turnoff from the roundabout to Patching; parking in 300 yards. Start point Grid Ref. TQ087056.
* By Public Transport: Travel details from www.traveline.info, phone 0871 2002233, bus stop at start point.
* What’s underfoot: Mainly sheltered woodland walking, with a couple of field sections, well-graded paths and bridleways, some stiles. Possible with a baby backpack, not possible with a baby buggy.
* Thirsty Work: The World’s End pub at Patching.
* So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer maps 121, plus a compass for general direction.
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