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Houghton Forest and Slindon

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Houghton Forest and Slindon
Author: WSW, Published: 17 Oct 2015 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
West Sussex, Arundel
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Houghton Forest and Slindon
Length: 9 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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Hey there. I'm TJ and this is my West Sussex Weekends walk. We’re heading down to Houghton Forest for an 8.5 mile jaunt around the South Downs. Happy times with my wife! To read my full story visit www.west-sussex-weekends.com so I can tell you why I think you will love this walk and what highlights to expect. The West Sussex Weekends website is a great resource where you will also find ideas for places to stay, eat and drink plus plenty more inspirational stories to tempt you to explore more corners of West Sussex.

The walk has several climbs and descents throughout. The forest and downs paths can all get very muddy so good boots are a must. You will need to negotiate some gates plus three stiles (with adjacent dog gaps) along the way. You will also be sharing some of the fields with sheep and dairy cattle so take particular care with dogs. The stiles and cattle are all encountered in the second half of the walk so, if you wish to avoid these, you can simply follow the outward leg both there and back. In this case you would only encounter simple wide bridle gates, so the route would be suitable for rugged disability buggies when the ground is firm enough. There are toilets in the car park at the start of the walk plus options for refreshments at the start point and also at the half-way point in Slindon village. Allow 4 hours plus extra time for stops and exploring Slindon village.

The walk starts and finishes at the Whiteways Countryside Site free car park, which is located on the A29, just a few metres north of the roundabout where the A29 and A284 meet (about 3 miles north of Arundel). The car park is popular and can fill up, so arrive early if you are visiting at peak times. Approximate post code BN18 9FD.

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Walk Sections

Start to Trot Row
Start to Trot Row

Start point: 50.8885 lat, -0.5768 long
End point: 50.8946 lat, -0.5983 long

Standing in the Whiteways car park with your back to the vehicle entrance and the Whiteways Cafe across to the left, walk at 1 o’clock to join the signed public bridleway leading you through a red gateway and into the woodland. Keep straight ahead on the main bridleway through the trees, ignoring any side paths. Further along you will pass the Forestry Commission sign, marking the start of Houghton Forest.

Some way further along, just a few metres after passing another public bridleway board, you will come to a fork with a waymarker post on the left. Take the left-hand branch, following the blue arrows which mark the public bridleway. Shortly you will come to a crossroads, keep straight ahead on the bridleway which soon begins to climb through the trees.

Eventually you will emerge to a staggered T-junction, marked with a fingerpost. Bear right, staying with the main grass track, part of the Monarch’s Way. A quick web search explains this long-distance path from Worcester to Shoreham-by-Sea is meant to represent the escape route of King Charles II after his battle defeat in 1651. Of course there must be a bit of artistic licence here (I doubt he left a trail of breadcrumbs!) but I’m still constantly surprised at the rich history in every corner of this country. Maybe the locals are just immune to it now...

After 250 metres, look out for a (partially hidden) fingerpost on the left, marking a side path. Turn left here, follow the path through a short section of trees and to the edge of a large open field (an area called Trot Row). The long-distance views from this point are quite a surprise...assuming you are walking on a clear day, of course.

Trot Row to Great Down
Trot Row to Great Down

Start point: 50.8946 lat, -0.5983 long
End point: 50.8957 lat, -0.621 long

Turn right, following the track along the edge of the trees, on through a pretty section of mainly coppiced woodland. As you emerge from the trees, you will come to the edge of a large open crop field. Follow the grass track, diagonally left (at about 10 o’clock) across the centre of the field. Stay with this grass track, passing a section of woodland on the left and leading you to a signed crossroads of bridleways.

Go straight ahead to join the track with open fields to the right and woodland to the left. You will come to a grass clearing in front of you. Walk through the centre of this clearing, passing immediately to the left of the two large pine trees and then steadily climbing.

At the end of the clearing you will come to a fork. Take the left-hand branch, signed as the bridleway, leading you through a section of coppiced hazel. If you are walking in the autumn, you will find the floor littered with lots of hazelnuts. I couldn’t resist trying one – tasty!

At the top, turn right onto the field-side grass track and follow it as it swings left, leading you into the next woodland. A few metres in you will reach a T-junction with a track. Turn left and you will come to the gate at the top of Great Down.

Great Down to Slindon Forge
Great Down to Slindon Forge

Start point: 50.8957 lat, -0.621 long
End point: 50.8624 lat, -0.629 long

Pass through the gate (NOTE: you may find sheep grazing from this point) and take the grass path at 1 o’clock, leading you across the centre of the hillside. The views here are awesome with the sea sparkling in sunlight in the distance.

At the bottom of the first stretch, pass through the two gates in quick succession and continue down through the lower half of Great Down. At the end of Great Down you will come to a line of trees and a fingerpost marking a junction. Go straight ahead on the bridleway, pass through the next gate and follow the obvious grass path across the centre of Little Down.

At the end, pass through the gate to reach a staggered T-junction marked with a fingerpost. Take the path at 11 o’clock, passing a circular copse immediately on your right and then continuing uphill in the same direction into a tunnel of trees. Ignore the path into the field on the left, simply keep ahead on the tree-lined path. Further along, the track leads you alongside a fenced field on your right and then on past double gates to reach the road, Mill Lane, at the edge of Slindon Village.

Walk straight ahead down the narrow road, taking care of any traffic, to reach a T-junction. Turn left and follow the road as it swings right to become School Hill (with Old School House on the right). Pass Gaston Farm on the left. Soon you will see the junction with Church Hill off to the right. Ignore this, simply keep straight ahead. Continue downhill past the horse paddocks. Where the pavement ends, cross to the right-hand road edge and continue along the narrow section of road (taking care of any traffic). Stay on the main road as it bends left and a little further along you will reach The Forge. We’re parched, so time for a beer and some food. The Forge, now converted into a community-run cafe and shop, serves a great lunch.

Slindon Forge to Chichester Lodge
Slindon Forge to Chichester Lodge

Start point: 50.8624 lat, -0.629 long
End point: 50.8686 lat, -0.6206 long

Slindon might be quiet but it has plenty to shout about. Before you head back out on the countryside paths, it is worth taking time to explore. Duck pond, old mansion, pottery, smugglers, children’s farm, pumpkin capital, birthplace of cricket (you don’t want to get an Aussie started on that one!)...it’s almost too much to take in. If you want to see all the village highlights, it’s worth downloading another iFootpath walk, Slindon Village History Trail, which will take you on a short tour.

When you are ready to continue, retrace your steps back uphill through the village, passing Gaston Farm on your right. At the top of the hill (just after Old School House), swing left and then turn right into Mill Lane. As you approach the double gates from which you emerged earlier, you have two choices. If you want to avoid any stiles and dairy cattle, keep ahead and retrace your route back the way you came. Alternatively if you want to complete the full circuit (stiles and cattle included) then follow the road as it swings right.

After 300 metres (just before the lane enters a tunnel of trees), turn left into the woodland, signed as a public footpath. A few paces in, take the right-hand branch at the fork and follow this narrow footpath through the woodland (which can get a little overgrown at times). At the crossroads (marked with a fingerpost) go straight ahead and you will emerge to a T-junction with a wider woodland track. Turn left along this and it will lead you to a T-junction with a tarmac access lane, with the pretty flint property, Chichester Lodge, on your right.

Chichester Lodge to New Barn Farm
Chichester Lodge to New Barn Farm

Start point: 50.8686 lat, -0.6206 long
End point: 50.8824 lat, -0.6059 long

Turn left along the tarmac access lane, following it steadily downhill between fenced fields. The lane swings steadily left with a section of woodland on the right. As soon as the woodland on the right ends, turn right by a disused stile following a field-edge path with the woodland still running on your right.

When the woodland ends, keep ahead for just a few more metres to reach a T-junction with a stone vehicle track. Turn left for just 30 metres and then turn sharp right to join another track which swings steadily left around a circular copse. Part way round, leave the path directly alongside the copse, forking right to follow a track across the centre of the crop field, to reach a gap into woodland ahead.

Follow the track through the woods and you will come to a stile ahead. NOTE: You are likely to come across dairy cattle within this long field. Cross the stile, ignore the path to the right, simply follow the main track ahead, a grass avenue pasture between lines of trees. At the top of the field, pass through the gate and follow the concrete track up to the crossroads alongside New Barn Farm.

New Barn Farm to End
New Barn Farm to End

Start point: 50.8824 lat, -0.6059 long
End point: 50.8889 lat, -0.5766 long

Turn right onto another concrete track, with a line of trees running on the right. You will emerge to a T-junction with a country lane. Turn right and follow the lane as it swings left. Where the road swings right, keep ahead on the stone track for a few paces and then turn left on to the vehicle track leading you into woodland. Follow the main track ahead through the centre of the woods.

At the end, cross the stile ahead to enter the next cattle pasture. Walk at 1 o’clock to reach a stile and fingerpost on the opposite boundary. Cross the stile and you will emerge to a junction with a country lane. Turn right along the lane, taking care of any traffic, and it will lead you past a few cottages on your left and then past Lower Farm on your right.

Further along, the lane leads you into dense woodland, the southern part of Houghton Forest. Continue for about half a mile, climbing steadily for much of this (ignoring the signed bridleway into the woods and the vehicle entrance into the woods, both on the left). After half a mile, fork left onto the narrow grass path which leads you into a large grass clearing. Maintain your direction across this clearing and soon you will be able to see the red vehicle barrier within the Whiteways car park in the distance. Take the obvious grass path leading you to Whiteways, where the walk began.

If you enjoyed this walk, remember to visit www.west-sussex-weekends.com where you will also find ideas for places to stay, eat and drink plus plenty more inspirational stories to tempt you to explore more corners of West Sussex. Tap the Listen button (available via App only) to find out more...

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author WSW and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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5156_0Richard1445109268 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970

5156_0Tyo1454282799 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Tyo
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
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