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Sussex Hospices Trail Part 26: Halnaker to Chichester

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Sussex Hospices Trail Part 26: Halnaker to Chichester
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 11 Sep 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star0 Sussex Hospices Trail Part 26: Halnaker to Chichesterstar0 Sussex Hospices Trail Part 26: Halnaker to Chichesterstar0 Sussex Hospices Trail Part 26: Halnaker to Chichesterstar0 Sussex Hospices Trail Part 26: Halnaker to Chichesterstar0 Sussex Hospices Trail Part 26: Halnaker to Chichester
West Sussex, Boxgrove
Walk Type: Long distance path
Sussex Hospices Trail Part 26: Halnaker to Chichester
Length: 10 miles,  Difficulty: boot Sussex Hospices Trail Part 26: Halnaker to Chichester boot Sussex Hospices Trail Part 26: Halnaker to Chichester boot Sussex Hospices Trail Part 26: Halnaker to Chichester
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IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a linear route which relies on a bus for the return journey which runs Mon-Sat only. On Sundays you will need to use taxis.

A 10 mile linear walk from Halnaker crossroads to Chichester rail station in West Sussex, forming the 26th and final stretch of the Sussex Hospices Trail. This stretch of the trail is packed with interest, leading you through Halnaker Park (with a very long magnificent stretch of flint wall and mansion ruins), past Goodwood Racecourse, over St Roche’s Hill, along the Centurion Way and finally visiting Chichester Cathedral. From the summit of St Roche’s Hill you will be rewarded with some of the best views of the whole trail, a panoramic vista taking in Chichester Harbour, Chichester Cathedral and a long stretch of the coast to the south, as well as the South Downs to the north.

The hospices of Sussex are dedicated to providing specialist end-of-life care. Friends of Sussex Hospices has worked with partners and supporters to create the Sussex Hospices Trail, a 200 mile long-distance path to support and raise awareness of the twelve hospice care providers that serve the adults and children of Sussex.

The walk includes several climbs and descents throughout, including one fairly steep climb onto St Roche’s Hill. The tracks are generally well made, but can be rutted, uneven and muddy in parts so good boots are a must. The vast majority of the route is livestock-free, but you will cross two fields that are likely to be holding sheep and there were also the tell-tale signs of cattle having been present in a couple of fields, so take particular care with dogs. You will need to negotiate several kissing gates and bridle gates, but there are no stiles on route. There are a couple of road crossings that need care, but there is no road walking and well-behaved dogs will enjoy plenty of time off-lead. As the route passes Goodwood Racecourse, you might want to avoid race days (and the traffic and crowds that come with that). Allow 5 hours.

If you are looking for refreshments, you will find two pubs in East Lavant (The Royal Oak and The Earl of March) about 6 miles into the route and there are plenty of pubs and cafes in Chichester at the end of your walk. The summit of St Roche’s Hill (Waypoint 3) makes a beautiful, if blustery, place for a picnic.

The walk starts at the bus stops at Halnaker Crossroads (no public parking) and ends at Chichester rail station. It is best to arrive in Chichester (by car or train) and then catch the bus to Halnaker Crossroads to begin your walk. The rail station has its own car park if you are coming by car. The fee is £4.90 Mon-Sat and £2 on Sun (correct Aug 2016). Chichester bus station is just over the road from Chichester rail station and it is from here that you can catch Bus Number 55 (which usually runs every 30 mins Mon-Sat) to Halnaker Crossroads. The bus journey takes just 21 minutes. On Sundays and public holidays you will need to use a taxi.

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Walk Sections

Start to Little Halnaker
Start to Little Halnaker

Start point: 50.8649 lat, -0.7124 long
End point: 50.8717 lat, -0.7137 long

The walk starts at Halnaker Crossroads, on the A285 where it meets The Street and Park Lane. From this crossroads, take the side road to the north (the opposite direction to the sign for Boxgrove Priory), passing the Old Store Guest House on your left. Immediately you will come to a fork (with an old flint arch ahead), take the right-hand branch (Park Lane), signed as a no-through-road and public bridleway. Follow Park Lane ahead, leading you into Halnaker Park, with houses on your right and a beautiful old flint wall running on your left.

This flint wall forms the boundary of the Goodwood Estate Home Farm land which sits to the west of Halnaker Park. About ten feet high, some of the flints are knapped to reveal the grey interiors and the flintwork includes decoration of flint chips (called galletting) plus a curved clay coping. The wall is said to have been built by French prisoners in the early 1800s. A little way along you will see several apple trees poking their bows over the wall from Home Farm’s orchard.

Ignore the side turn on the right for Halnaker House, simply keep ahead on the stone track with the wall still running on your left. As the trees and hedgerow on your right end, you will get open views across the fields. At about 1 o’clock you should be able to make out the ruins of Old Halnaker House, a fortified manor house which dates back to the 1300s. The enclosed area of Halnaker Park itself pre-dates this house and a deer park was recorded here as early as 1281.

Where the stretch of the flint wall on your left ends, with a pair of beautiful tall flint gateposts, you will see a collection of houses on your right, known as Little Halnaker.

Little Halnaker to East Dean Hill
Little Halnaker to East Dean Hill

Start point: 50.8717 lat, -0.7137 long
End point: 50.89 lat, -0.7192 long

Go straight ahead, passing through a bridle gate to enter the pasture (which is likely to be holding sheep). Keep ahead along the track, following the left-hand field boundary. At the far side, pass through the bridle gate to enter a section of woodland. Keep ahead on the obvious wide track leading you ahead through this woodland.

The track climbs steadily for some distance before levelling off to pass a beautiful old gnarled beech tree on your left. Stay with the track (now gently descending) for just 50 metres further to reach a crossroads of tracks. Turn left here onto the track leading you fairly steeply uphill (don’t worry that this track is not waymarked, it is a public right of way). The track leads you past a fenced field on your left with woodland to your right.

At the top of the slope the track re-enters trees, swinging left and then right and continuing with a fenced pasture on your left once again. Soon the track swings right, leading you back into woodland. Stay with this track which later swings left, leading you towards the road. Immediately before the double gates at the roadside, turn right to join the narrow path with a tree line on your left and a fenced pasture on your right.

As you walk along this stretch, take time to enjoy the magnificent views on your right of the woodland trees tops which stretch across the valley. At the end of this path you will swing left to reach the road, East Dean Hill.

East Dean Hill to Goodwood Grandstand
East Dean Hill to Goodwood Grandstand

Start point: 50.89 lat, -0.7192 long
End point: 50.8915 lat, -0.7432 long

Turn right for a few paces and then cross over to turn left onto the signed public footpath. (NOTE: This next field is likely to be holding sheep or sometimes cattle). Pass through the bridle gate to enter the pasture and walk ahead (with a fence on your left). Where this fence turns away to the left, continue in the same direction through the centre of the pasture to reach a bridle gate at the far side.

Pass through this to enter the beautiful beech woodland and follow the obvious footpath ahead, ignoring any side turns. This woodland is part of the Goodwood Estate, which has been the home of the Dukes of Richmond for more than 300 years. Famous throughout the world for its sporting heritage, it consists of more than 12,000 acres of beautiful downland countryside. In addition to the usual estate activities of farming and forestry, the family also runs their own hotel, club house, golf courses, horse racing, an airfield, motorsport circuit and major international events…more of that later.

As you emerge from the trees to the edge of a grass clearing, bear left at this fork and then bear immediately right at the second fork, following the grass track between the trees. At the staggered T-junction turn right onto the stone and grass vehicle track. Where this track swings sharp left, go ahead to join the grass path which leads you out to a junction with the road.

Turn left along the grass verge for about 20 metres (to take you away from the bend) and then cross over the road with care to swap to the wider grass verge running along the right-hand side of the road. Running on top of the wall to your right, you will see the distinctive white horseracing railings of Goodwood Racecourse. Further along, the racecourse main buildings come into view ahead. At about 1 o’clock you will see a tall radio mast on top of a hill in the distance, which we will be visiting soon.

As you reach a set of wire gates ahead, swap to the left-hand side of the road and follow this left-hand verge within the country park (staying close to the line of low concrete bollards). Cross over the car park entrance and continue on the grass verge (now between wooden railings). As you cross the next car park entrance, you will draw level with the grandstand building on your right.

Goodwood Grandstand to St Roche's Hill
Goodwood Grandstand to St Roche's Hill

Start point: 50.8915 lat, -0.7432 long
End point: 50.892 lat, -0.7534 long

This racecourse, along with the motor circuit further south, host a number of international events. Glorious Goodwood is a one of the highlights of the British flat horseracing calendar, whilst Goodwood Festival of Speed is an annual motor racing event. Goodwood Revival is an annual three-day festival celebrating racing cars and motorcycles that would have competed during the motorsport circuit’s original era, 1948-66.

Keep ahead along the concrete layby and, beyond this, keep ahead on the narrow grass verge, keeping the wooden railings on your left. Cross over the road to turn right into the next main vehicle entrance for the racecourse and then turn immediately left to join the tarmac track signed to car park 4. As this track bears right, fork left to join the grass path leading you ahead with the road running on your left. As you reach the road’s T-junction, follow the grass verge as it swings right and then climbs steadily.

Cross over the racecourse western entrance and, just before a hedgerow starts on your right, cross left over the main road and walk alongside the wooden gates into the entrance for car park 6. Follow the access road as it begins to swing right (passing a small copse of trees on your right). Immediately after these, fork left to join the narrow woodland footpath. Follow this path winding and undulating ahead and then beginning to climb more steeply, with a fence running on your right.

Towards the top of the slope, look out for a waymarker post on your right. Turn right here (up a slope) and then immediately left to continue on the narrow path with the fence running immediately on your right. You will come to a kissing gate ahead (after which point you may come across cattle). Pass through this, turn right for a few paces and then turn left, heading up the grass slope towards the visible radio mast. You will come to a junction with a level grass track, the outer grass ramparts. Turn left along this for about 60 metres and then fork right on the path leading you up the bank to reach the inner ramparts. From here you will be able to see the trig point on the top of this hill, St Roche’s Hill. Make your way to this point to enjoy the best views.

St Roche's Hill to East Lavant
St Roche's Hill to East Lavant

Start point: 50.892 lat, -0.7534 long
End point: 50.8708 lat, -0.7716 long

The summit of St Roche’s Hill sits at 206 metres and was once home to an Iron Age hill fort called The Trundle. The hill was also once home to a chapel (probably built in the 1400s and giving the hill its name) and a windmill (which was burnt down in a storm in 1773). Today, the summit is the site of two large radio masts. The views are the real attraction of the hill’s summit, so take time to enjoy the panoramic vistas. To the north there are excellent views across the racecourse and up to the South Downs ridge. To the south you will be able to make out the spire of Chichester Cathedral (which we will be visiting later) as well as the various inlet channels of Chichester Harbour just to the right of this. On a clear day you will be able to see a long stretch of the south coast and the Isle of Wight.

Standing at the trig point, facing Chichester Cathedral, turn right to join the grass path heading towards the largest of the two radio masts. Just before you reach the mast, you will come to a T-junction with a stone and grass vehicle track. Turn left along this, passing to the left of the mast, to reach a kissing gate. Pass through this and join the stone track leading you steadily downhill between fences. Follow the track all the way down the hill, passing the Seven Points Car Park on your left to reach a road.

Turn left, heading downhill, passing a second car park on your left. Continue straight ahead on the stone track with Chichester Cathedral visible at about 11 o’clock. NOTE: Take care as this stone track is deeply rutted in part and can be slippery when wet. Stay with this stone track heading south for about 1.5 miles and eventually you will emerge to a junction with the village road in East Lavant.

East Lavant to Centurion Way
East Lavant to Centurion Way

Start point: 50.8708 lat, -0.7716 long
End point: 50.8679 lat, -0.7848 long

Turn right along the pavement and follow this leading you into the heart of the village, with its pretty flint walls and cottages. You will pass The Royal Oak pub on your right, ideal for refreshments at this 6 mile point should you wish. Continue straight ahead through the village, taking care on the short stretch without a pavement. You will pass St Mary’s Church (set back from the road to your right) and then the impressive flint Meade House across to your left.

Soon afterwards, the pavement leads you on a footbridge over the River Lavant. This river is a winterbourne meaning that is flows visibly above the surface in the winter and spring months, usually retreating underground as the water table drops in summer. Immediately after the river crossing, go ahead across the side road and then fork immediately right into the large cricket ground and playing fields. Walk ahead, staying close to the right-hand railings. At the far side, go ahead to join a grass path which leads you through a crop field and emerges at the top into the car park for The Earl of March pub. If you glance over your right shoulder at this point, you will see St Roche’s Hill in the distance from where you have just descended.

Cross the pub car park and exit via the fence gap, immediately to the right of the pub buildings, to reach the road. Cross over (taking extreme care as this road is quite fast moving), turn left along the far pavement and then take the first right into Meadow Close. Follow the tarmac road ahead, soon becoming a cobbled road to reach a T-junction. Turn right and follow the road as it swings left. Keep ahead to join the wooden ramp which zig-zags down to reach the tarmac footpath and cycleway, the Centurion Way.

Centurion Way to Chichester Cathedral
Centurion Way to Chichester Cathedral

Start point: 50.8679 lat, -0.7848 long
End point: 50.8367 lat, -0.7817 long

Turn left to follow the Centurion Way heading south. The Centurion Way was once the Chichester to Midhurst Railway line. This section between Lavant and Chichester closed to passengers in 1935 and was used for the transportation of sugar beet and gravel until it was closed completely in 1991. The tracks were removed in 1993 after which it was bought by the county council ready to be converted to a footpath and cycleway. The name Centurion Way was suggested by a local schoolboy and is based on the fact that the path crosses the course of a Roman road.

We will be following this old rail line for 2.5 miles, all the way back to the edge of Chichester. There are a couple of interesting landmarks along the way…

After passing under the first bridge, ignore the right-hand side turn, simply keep ahead and you will pass between a set of sculptures, The Chichester Road Gang by David Kemp, resembling road workers carrying tools, but made out of metal canisters. It is at this point that the now invisible Roman road once crossed the route. Across to your right is a large open circular meadow known as The Ring.

After passing under the second bridge, you will see an information board for Brandy Hole Copse nature reserve. It gets its name from a nearby smugglers cave in which a barrel of brandy was found in 1881.

Simply stay with the main tarmac track ahead, passing under several more bridges and ignoring all side paths. At the end of the full 2.5 mile stretch, keep ahead under the sculptural metal arch and you will emerge out to the road alongside the entrance for Bishop Luffa School. Turn left, crossing the school entrance and continue along the left-hand pavement of the road. At the crossroads (with a mini-roundabout) go straight ahead into Westgate and then swap to the right-hand pavement. At the roundabout at the end of Westgate, cross over and go straight ahead into West Street (signed to County Hall and Cathedral). Follow the road ahead, passing between impressive townhouses and, just before you reach a row of bus stops, you will see the statue of St Richard to your right, marking the entrance for Chichester Cathedral.

Chichester Cathedral to End
Chichester Cathedral to End

Start point: 50.8367 lat, -0.7817 long
End point: 50.8322 lat, -0.7813 long

(NOTE: If you are walking outside cathedral opening times the route described here will be closed. You will need to stay ahead along West Street and then turn right at the Market Cross into South Street and then pick up the directions further below).

Turn right here, passing the statue of St Richard and then passing the cathedral entrance on your left. (This is usually open every day and is free entry should you wish to explore). Walk ahead into the end of the rear courtyard and turn left (with a tall wall on your right and the cathedral on your left). Pass through the arched doorway ahead to enter the covered cloisters. Turn right, immediately left and immediately right again through the exit door. Follow this paved alleyway with beautiful walls and flowerbeds each side.

You will come to a junction with Canon Lane, with The Deanery directly opposite. Turn left along the lane and, at the end, pass through the ornate flint arch to reach a T-junction with South Street. Turn right along this.

Follow South Street (heading south), passing between a range of cafes, restaurants and shops. Keep ahead on this right-hand pavement (crossing the side road, A286, via the pedestrian crossing) and go straight on (passing the Crown Court across to your left). The pavement leads you directly to Chichester rail station marking the end of the Sussex Hospices Trail.

We hope you have enjoyed walking this stretch of the Sussex Hospices Trail. Its creation was possible thanks to the kind donation from Michael and Maureen Chowen. Michael is a Patron of Chestnut Tree Children's Hospice.

Hospices deliver their services for free but such care is not cheap and they largely depend on funds raised from their local communities. We would be very grateful if you would consider making a donation either to your local hospice, wherever that may be, or to the Friends of Sussex Hospices in order to support these invaluable services. Tap the Listen button below (App only) to hear Kathy Gore, Chair of Friends of Sussex Hospices, explaining why donations are so important.

Friends of Sussex Hospices, Registered Charity No. 1089306
http://www.friendsofsussexhospices.org.uk/how-you-can-help/donations

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author clairesharpuk 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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