1 - From Westergate recreation ground return to the main road (A29 – Westergate Street) and turn left (north) for 125 yards, passing bus stops, houses and shops, to take a left-turning footpath. Pass between houses and in a short distance divert right to a field edge.

Go left towards an opposite line of trees (Nyton Spinney) at the left corner, ignore a right turning and descend, crossing a stream, to the edge of a large arable field and path junction.

Walk ahead on the trodden field-centre path to the opposite hedge opening, keeping direction in the next field to the far side. Pass through an opening, ignore a right turning and take a quarter-left line to the far corner. Pass between buildings and beside a house to a minor road (Hook Lane) and turn left.

2 - Walk along the lane, beside delightful cottages, and in 150 yards, where the lane turns left, continue ahead on the surfaced farm drive and footpath known as Park Lane.

The path turns left after 350 yards, when opposite an isolated bungalow, and descends into a shallow hollow, climb out and take a right then left turn towards Park Farm.

Go right and left between the extensive farm buildings, notably passing right of a dog training centre. The footpath comes to a small paddock and stile at the southern end of the farm buildings. Cross into the paddock, walk to the left corner, cross a stile and turn left, in a second paddock, to a stile beside a large barn.

3 - Turn right from the barn, crossing a railway bridge and descending to a path sign. The route from this point differs from that shown on Ordnance Survey maps due to the expansion of the adjacent landfill site.

Turn left and follow the line of the tall boundary fence, keeping it on the right. At the end of the field, in 300 yards, turn right along a left hedgeline. The path keeps a southerly direction for nearly half a mile, crossing midway stiles and going over an access road to the landfill site. Continue for 300 yards on a grassy path, going left up a bank, then turning left on a footpath.

For the next one third of a mile the scrub-enclosed path follows a line beside the old Portsmouth to Arundel canal, constructed in 1823, the remains of which can be seen in the stagnant, dark pools to the side of the path. Finally, the path skirts right around fencing at the edge of Lidsey, coming to the busy A29 road.

4 - Cross with great care and take a few paces right to locate the ongoing path that in about a quarter of a mile comes to water treatment works on the right – ignore an earlier right turning.

For the walker who likes to ponder and philosophise, the treatment site is the second of two reminders on this stroll that, as society becomes increasingly affluent, there is a corresponding increase in effluent – walk on, the thinking done. In a few paces, on the left, is the nodding donkey of the Lidsey Oil Field.

Continue on the path for 400 yards, climbing steps into scrub leading to a pedestrian railway crossing. Cross with care, descending through more scrub and keep an easterly direction, with embankments of the former canal still discernible, although in places the land has been reclaimed for farming.

The path continues towards the farm buildings ahead to the site of the canal’s Stewart Swing Bridge, of which the brick support walls still survive.

5 - Continue ahead, to be joined from the right by the fascinatingly named Fattening Ground Lane. In 250 yards the path comes to a four-way crossing, beside the remains of the Hollinsworth Swing Bridge.

Take the left turn towards the buildings of Church Farm and a road junction, opposite the church of St Mary the Virgin in Barnham.

Turn right on Church Lane, ignore side turnings, and in 300 yards go left through a gap in the wall, down to a footbridge. Cross a low-lying paddock, go over a second footbridge and climb a bank ahead.

At the top of the rise go half-right across the level meadow to a railway crossing – Barnham station is to the right. In the next field keep direction to a second railway crossing. Descend an embankment to a northward path, passing a school, to the field corner in 400 yards.

Turn left along the field edge, with a drainage ditch on the right. Keep to the path for nearly half a mile, finally diverting right through a metal kissing gate to Church Lane in Eastergate.

6 - Turn left along the lane, passing the extensive buildings of Manor Farm on the left. Here it is possible to see the extent of a farmyard from earlier times, with the essential buildings and barns, stabling for heavy horses and the large granary building, lofty on its mushroom-shaped staddle stones.

Just behind the farm is the village church, suitably positioned for earlier incumbents to monitor the worth of the harvest, in order to collect their mandatory tithes.

Continue along the lane and just before the village pub, The Wilkes Head, turn left on to an enclosed footpath, skirting around a school, going right and descending into a wide, scrub-bordered gully. Turn right for about 25 yards and divert left onto a rising path that comes to a surfaced walkway, with a college building across the fence ahead.

Turn left and in 75 yards turn left again, in front of garages, and then go right into a housing estate. Walk westward, along Ivy Lane for 350 yards to arrive back at Westergate Street, our starting point. Bus stops are nearby, or turn left and then right for car parks.

  • Distance/Time: Six and a quarter miles, taking three and a quarter hours.
  • By Car: Turn south from A27 at the Fontwell roundabout, go south on the A29 into Westergate, turn right for parking in the Aldingbourne Community Sports Centre and recreation ground. Start point grid ref: SU937051
  • By Public Transport: Stagecoach and Compass offer bus services from Chichester to Westergate. Check for bus times. Travel details from www.traveline.info, call 0871 200 22 33
  • What’s underfoot: Coastal plain walking with stiles and gates, no significant climbs or obstacles; care required crossing railways and roads. Possible with a baby backpack; not possible with an off-road baby buggy
  • Thirsty Work: The Wilkes Head pub at Eastergate
  • So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer map 121, plus a compass for general direction

Click here for a full-sized map of the Westergate circular walk