The West Sussex Literary Trail is followed from Horsham into open country where the route diverts to pass Shelley’s birthplace. The unstoppable march of development at Broadbridge Heath is evident before Vincent Hallett returns back to the town centre by a southern approach.

1. The walk starts at Shelley’s fountain in front of the Lynd Cross pub at the pedestrianised junction of Springfield Road and West Street. From here walk south down Worthing Road to the bus station and turn left into Lower Tanbridge Way. Pass Horsham library to take the shared pedestrian cycle route between The Forum terrace and Sainbury’s. This meanders over a wooden bridge and continues along Furneaux Walk. Exit left into the Causeway. A plaque outside of the Horsham Museum explains how Dragon’s Teeth defended Horsham in WW2. Cross back and take South Street into the Market Square with the Crown pub right. Ahead is an entrance to Swan Walk. Divert around this and use the subway at the end of pedestrianised Medwin Walk to enter Horsham Park by the Superbowl. Cut through the Human Nature Garden. Re-join the path by Horsham Park Pond. This veers left in front of the leisure centre and a beech hedge. At the junction with a perimeter path with railings on the right, go left and continue to a metal vehicle barrier. Turn left and stay within the park boundary. Exit through metal park gates and cross the B2237 right.

2. Enter Milnwood Road left. Where it becomes a cul-de-sac turn right into Newlands Road, then left into one-way West Parade. Opposite the corner newsagent the trail continues along Kempshott Road leading into Spencers Place. At the junction with Redford Avenue cross diagonally right and take the footpath into woods, marked reassuringly with the WSLT roundel. In 100 yards, cross a stream and follow the path right, then left over Boldings Brook via a brick bridge and across a second fairway to reach the access road to Rookwood Golf Course. Walk right indicated cycle route to Warnham, under the A24 by a phone mast disguised as a pine tree and exit onto Robin Hood Lane. Here a signed footpath through a hedge gap goes round the edge of a large field, initially close to the A24 before it strikes out right to meet Broomwicks Wood. Two marker posts indicate the route close to this fenced enclosure. At the second go over grass between trees for 50 yards where a finger post right points diagonally over a field. Pass through a hedge gap and left at a finger post on the other side keeping to the left edge of another field. At a three-way finger post go left by a large oak, into a thicket for 100 yards, over another field to a gate by a finger post and then out to Broadbridge Heath Road just beyond a second gate.

3. Cross the road to glimpse Field Place at the end of a tree lined drive. Disappointingly there is no better vantage point to view the birthplace of the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1792. The house is privately owned and not open to the public. Back on the other side of the road, walk towards Broadbridge Heath using the safety of the path that has been formed in the tree margin of this busy route. This leads to a pond at the start of The Green. Take a diagonal line across this to join Old Guildford Road. Turn right along the pavement and use the zebra crossing to cut through to Billingshurst Road. Go right and cross into Church Road by St John’s Church with its striking design. At the point where Church Road ends a bridleway begins behind houses and crosses the A264. On the other side of the Pegasus crossing for pedestrians and horses, the footpath has been preserved but is enveloped by a major housing development on both sides. Eventually the new houses stop and the bridleway returns to a country setting by a single property and garages. Just beyond take the footpath left indicated by a finger post. Negotiate a gate or stile and stay on the made up track, Old Wickhurst Lane around a pretty pond. Continue through Broadbridge Farm and just before a white house on the right take the indicated footpath. After a stile this rises and passes through two gates before the summit at High Wood is reached. Two stiles mark the boundary of the wood and the well-marked path then descends quickly to a sturdy footbridge over the River Arun.

4. Follow a series of finger posts beneath the A24 and the Arun Valley Line. The footpath joins an access road by a small pond. Continue along this potholed road left. 14th century Parthings Farmhouse is worthy of note for its half-timbered facade and stone roof. The granary is even older. Parthings Lane meets Two Mile Ash Road at Tower Hill. Take the footpath ahead for a few steps and divert left along an initially crazy paved path that runs parallel to the road, descending Tower Hill to meet Worthing Road by the Boars Head. Turn left and walk along the pavement. At the Horsham town sign a footpath right is taken. Cross a stile, confined between fences a second stile leads to a field. Head for the metal footbridge over the railway line. Cross and continue along the footpath besides Horsham Cricket Ground. A bridge over the river gives access to make an anti-clockwise circumnavigation of St Mary’s Church. Where the circuit is completed enter The Peoples Garden of Remembrance right, keeping a stream left and then behind Sainsbury’s right. Go into Mill Bay Lane and emerge at the main road, cross the supermarket entrance right and proceed up Worthing Road back to Shelley’s fountain.

The essentials

DISTANCE/TIME: Six and a half miles, taking three and quarter hours.

BY CAR: Park in town centre car parks. TQ172308 BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Buses terminating or stopping at Horsham bus station. The route is accessible by rail from Horsham station.

WHAT’S UNDERFOOT: Generally level semi-urban walk on tracks and surfaced paths. A few stiles in the country sections. Muddy fields between A24 and point 3.

THIRSTY WORK: Lynd Cross, Springfield Road, Horsham, The Crown, South Street, Horsham and Boars Head, Tower Hill.

SO YOU DON’T GET LOST: OS Landranger 198 Brighton & Lewes. OS Explorer map 134.