1 - From beside the village recreation ground of Batchelor’s Field, walk northward up The Street in Bolney, passing houses that were once villages shops, the former bakehouse and the community’s Rawson Hall, which now serves as an occasional post office and nursery school.

Keep to the gentle climb, do not take any side turnings, and on coming to the right turn into Top Street ignore this and keep direction on to an unmade track and signed footpath. Pass by the last houses of the village and arrive at a metal gate that is across the track ahead, go around this, climbing on a foot-path beneath trees and bushes.

The path passes beneath a stone bridge and continues to a four-way path junction at the top of the slope.

Off to the left there are glimpses across meadows to the substantial mansion of Wykehurst Place, sitting above landscaped parkland, with extensive views to the South Downs. The Gothic Revival building was built between 1871 and 1874, and has featured in a number of films and television programmes.

2 - Take neither left nor right turnings and continue on the descending path ahead. In a short distance, when confronted by an electricity pylon, pass to the left of this 20th-century intrusion. Keep to the main winding track, crossing a plank bridge and descending through Malthouse Wood.

The path passes above a burbling gill, climbing the opposite bank to cross a rickety, slippery stile and wobbly fence. Take a half-right line across a sloping meadow and go between gateposts into a copse. The rising path crosses over a track, then a stile, and keeps to the right field edge, climbing to a stile leading on to Jeremy’s Lane.

Turn left along the quiet lane for about a quarter of a mile, passing secluded houses, to arrive at Wykehurst Corner.

Turn right along the hilltop Colwood Lane, walking for a further quarter-of-a-mile and passing a very distinctive water tower. After passing by the entrance to Rout Farm, which is on the left, continue along the road for about 75 yards and, as the road bears right and begins to descend, locate and pass through a gate in the fence on the left.

3 - A view now opens up across the High Weald countryside to the west, as far as Blackdown. Take a half-right line across the sloping meadow, descending to the bottom, far right corner, passing through a gate and crossing a stile.

Now in the valley bottom, resume direction in the next field to the far corner, pass around scrub and then keep left of a large pond that feeds into Rout Gill. In a few yards, go left through a hedge opening, keeping a north-westerly line up to the top left corner of the rising field. Turn left along the hedgerow, crossing a stile in 75 yards and continuing up the field to pass right through bushes and arrive beside Rifleman’s Cottage. Go right for a few paces with the prominent opposite edifice of the former Rifleman’s Inn, now a private house but once a welcome hostelry for travellers and maybe a passing rifleman.

4 - Turn left down the road and in a few yards divert left on to a private drive, also a public bridleway, leading towards a distant house.

Follow the surfaced driveway for about 200 yards and with the gated entrance to the house on the right, take the left fork between hedgerow, crossing above Rout Gill. The track soon begins a steeper climb, between pastures, leading to Rout Farm in a quarter of a mile.

At the top of the climb, at a junction of driveways, walk ahead towards the prominent buildings of the farm. Just after the first green barn on the left, continue for a few yards to arrive beside some metal sheep pens. Turn left beside the pens, as signed, to a bridle gate and there turn right.

The enclosed bridleway heads south, above a shallow valley, for about half a mile, passing through a midway hedgerow and finally coming to path-side poultry enclosures and an adjacent house.

Continue down a sunken track to a clearing, with a covered store on the right. Walk ahead towards a patch of grass and a fence and there turn right to a driveway. Follow the driveway, taking left and right turns be-tween secluded houses, to the roadside of Cross Colwood Lane.

5 - Turn left along the lane for 150 yards and when alongside an austere, grey villa called Colwood Park, behind shrubs on the left, locate a metal kissing-gate in a fenceline on the right and pass through. Head down the field to a second metal gate and enter the woodland, crossing above a stream.

The onward winding path climbs up between trees and rhododendron bushes – ignore any side turnings. From the top of the rise the path descends for about 350 yards between banks to arrive at a four-way path junction beside Old Mill House Farm.

6 - Turn left around a hedge, taking a few paces back from the farm entrance and crossing a stile on the right on to a narrow, enclosed footpath beside paddocks. In 100 yards cross a second stile and walk ahead, ignoring a left turn to a livery yard and a right branch on a farm drive.

Follow the grassy track towards Nailard’s Wood, cross a footbridge and branch left up through a pine plantation. Note the vineyard through trees on the right.

At the top of the climb the path bears right, keeping more level, and finally passing though a gate beside East Lodge on to Cross Colwood Lane. Follow Lodge Lane, which is opposite, negotiating an S-bend in 250 yards, beside a sandstone wall, and continuing to The Street in Bolney village. Turn right down the hill, back to our starting point beside Batchelor’s Field.

Distance/Time: Five miles, taking two and a half hours

By Car: From the A23 turn west on to the A272 and follow signs for Bolney village, continue up The Street, with on-street parking opposite Batchelor’s Field recreation ground. Start point grid ref: TQ262232

By Public Transport: Metrobus 273 from Brighton, alight at Ryecroft Road, Bolney, walk west along Ryecroft Road to start of walk (adds one-third of a mile to walk). Horsham to Haywards Heath Compass bus 89, stops in Bolney village. Travel details from www.traveline.info, call 0871 200 2233

What’s underfoot: High Weald walking through woodland and across farmland, plenty of rise and fall, plank bridges (some slippery) and many stiles of variable quality. Paths liable to be very muddy after prolonged rain. Possible with a baby backpack, but tough going; not possible with an off-road baby buggy

Thirsty Work: The Eight Bells pub in The Street and The Community Cafe at Batchelor’s Field in Bolney

So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer map 134, plus a compass for general direction

Click here for a full-sized map of the Bolney walk