The high Downs from Findon village are the objective on this walk by Eddie Start. We traverse part of the South Downs Way, returning to the picturesque village on a wide track and passing ancient flint mines.

1 - From the centre of the village, at the crossroads beside local shops and a small car park, turn south along the High Street for 450 yards, passing the village hall midway. Just after Pebble Cottage and Avery’s House, on the right, turn right on to an unsigned public footpath, leading between bordering beech trees to the edge of the main road dual carriageway. Cross, with care, and continue up the opposite driveway, passing the impressive Findon Place, towards the church. When opposite the church, and its surrounding flint wall, locate and pass through a rustic kissing gate on the right. Turn left and follow the field edge path, soon veering right, with woodland rising on the left. After 300 yards the path clears the woodland and continues on an enclosed section, with rising meadow on the left to a stile. Walk ahead, with a recreation ground on the right, climbing the path through a scattering of downland scrub. In 150 yards take a few paces left up a bank, crossing a stile into a hilltop field.

Follow the trodden path ahead across the short section of field, locating and crossing a stile in the opposite fence. Descend a bank, to the roadside.

2 - Cross, with care, and walk across the opposite rough parking compound towards a pedestrian access point and right of way, beside a metal gate. Head north on the enclosed track, coming to a bridle gate after 300 yards. Keep to the line of the path in the next field, passing around the west flank of the hill and following a line of well-spaced, substantial wooden posts across the hillside. On coming to a second bridle gate, after a quarter- of-a-mile, pass through and immediately turn right along an unsigned, field-edge path. The path turns to the left in a few paces (ignore the well-signed right turning) and follows the field-edge path ahead, with Pigeonhouse Plantation on the right. After a further quarter- of-a-mile, pass over a crossing track, with Muntham Farm down through woodland on the right, and continue for a similar distance up the field edge to a crossing of a bridleway. Take a few paces right and then left through hedgerow, continue ahead beside a field to arrive at a junction of tracks above Highden Barn.

3 - Walk a few paces right (blue arrow) through the trees and turn left, descending a surfaced track that in one third of a mile arrives beside the buildings of Windlesham House School.

Keep to the main driveway as it passes between the school buildings, turning to the right beside a play area. Locate a rising bridleway on the left of the drive and take this turn-off.

The route now follows a more elevated bridleway for nearly half a mile, with sheep pasture on the right, through the bordering trees. On arriving at a rising metalled track, above Parkfield Farm, turn left up the hill, passing Moo Moo Farm.

4 - Now on the South Downs Way, climb the tree-enclosed track to an access point beside a metal gate. Continue ahead into open country, across the top of Highden Hill, passing a Second World War gun emplacement foundation on the right of the track and then an ancient, boundary-marking cross dyke. In a little over three- quarters of a mile the track is joined from the right by a variant of the South Downs Way. Continue ahead on the main path. There is some rise and fall on the track but it is easy walking and, after a bridle gate, passes across open hilltop meadow, reminiscent of the wide sheep-walks of earlier times. Head for the obvious barn that is half a mile from the bridle gate, taking-in the extensive views in all directions – the North Downs are away to the right and down to the left is the coast, through the surrounding rolling hills.

5 - On arriving beside the open-sided barn, turn sharply left around its western end and follow the right fence-line as it heads south-east, away from the South Downs Way. Keep to the path, passing through a bridle gate after one-third of a mile and heading towards a beech copse.

Continue on the wide track, with the copse on the left.

In the valley on the right is Cobden Farm and behind it the rolling bulk of Blackpatch Hill, the site of an earlier settlement from pre-history times. Behind Blackpatch is Harrow Hill, the location of Neolithic flint mines and a hill that we have noted on previous walks.

Keep to the wide, partly surfaced track for a mile, as it takes a couple of half- right turns and arrives at a crossing track and farm machinery storage site.

6 - Walk ahead down the fieldside track to the bridle gate we encountered earlier in the walk. Follow the rising path, re-tracing part of the outgoing route, to arrive at the roadside after half a mile. Cross the road, with care, taking a quarter-right line to pass around a metal gate and begin the climb up a rising path, between banks. Climb for nearly half a mile, passing, but not taking, a marker post indicating a right turning. Continue up the track for a few yards and take the left turn on to a footpath that passes over the top of a rise and descends towards woodland. Keep to the path, passing the site of earlier flint mines, and follow the winding route, passing some isolated houses, to a crossing driveway in half a mile. Turn left down the drive to the roadside. Cross the road, with care, and branch left on to the High Street in Findon village. Walk up the residential street, back towards the starting point and the services that are available in the village centre.

* Distance/Time: Eight miles taking four hours.

* By Car: Small car park in Findon village centre, adds half- a-mile to get to the start/finish point, or use closer on-street parking. Start point Grid Ref: TQ121085.

* By Public Transport: Buses stop in Findon village, details from, or call 0871 200 2233.

* What’s underfoot: Downland walking on well-defined paths, with a few short but steep climbs; possible with a baby backpack, not possible with a baby buggy.

* Thirsty Work: Pubs and teashop in Findon village.

* So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer map 121, plus a compass for general direction.