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Steyning Upper Horseshoe Trail

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Steyning Upper Horseshoe Trail
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 17 Mar 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Steyning Upper Horseshoe Trail Walking Guidestar1 Steyning Upper Horseshoe Trail Walking Guidestar1 Steyning Upper Horseshoe Trail Walking Guidestar1 Steyning Upper Horseshoe Trail Walking Guidestar0 Steyning Upper Horseshoe Trail Walking Guide
West Sussex, South Downs
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Steyning Upper Horseshoe Trail
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Steyning Upper Horseshoe Trail Walking Guide boot Steyning Upper Horseshoe Trail Walking Guide boot Steyning Upper Horseshoe Trail Walking Guide
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A circular walk of just more than 3 miles from the small market town of Steyning in West Sussex. Steyning is a charming town, popular with tourists, from home and abroad, for its architecture, rich history and wonderful location at the foot of the South Downs. The walk follows the trail known locally as the upper horseshoe, climbing high into the South Downs and then following the horseshoe shaped ridge before descending back into the town. Whilst it is a short walk, the climb is quite strenuous so ideal for those people perhaps short of time but still wanting a challenge.

The walk follows chalk and clay paths which may be muddy after wet weather. There is a long and reasonably steep climb to reach the ridge and some sections of the descent are also a little steep. There are no stiles and just a few gates and kissing gates. Cattle may be grazing in the short section through chalk grassland so take care with dogs. Approximate time 1.5 hours.

Steyning is accessed from the A283. Free parking is available at the Steyning Centre car park. The car park is accessed from Vicarage Lane and the entrance is directly opposite St Andrew’s Church, signed for Steyning Centre and Recycling Point. Approximate post code BN44 3XZ.

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Walk Sections

Steyning Centre to The White House
Steyning Centre to The White House

Start point: 50.8891 lat, -0.3253 long
End point: 50.8844 lat, -0.3382 long

Before you start the walk you may wish to head back along the car park access road to take a closer look at St Andrew’s Church. This is the earliest piece of architecture in the town, dating back to Norman times. Facing the church is a statue of St Cuthman in an eternal thoughtful pose (pictured as the walk icon). St Cuthman’s legend states that he was a shepherd who cared for his paralysed mother by moving her around in a cart like a wheelbarrow. He founded and built the church at Steyning even though it was later rededicated to St Andrew. The church has a Cuthman chapel and a picture of St Cuthman with his wheelbarrow continues to be Steyning's logo on its town sign.

Return to the Steyning Centre to start the walk. Facing the centre, take the footpath to the right signed for Church Street, High Street and Shops plus Toilets and The Downs.

Go straight ahead along the tarmac lane with the buildings for Steyning Grammar School each side. At the T-junction with Church Street, turn left signed for High Street and Shops. At the mini-roundabout cross over and go down Sheep Pen Lane opposite, directly to the left of The White Horse public house. As Sheep Pen Lane bends to the right, fork left down a quiet residential street (Newham Lane) signed for The Downs.

Continue straight ahead as the lane narrows and the pavements end, with open countryside on the left and allotments on the right. The lane begins to climb at this point and at the top of the lane you will come to The White House on your left.

The White House to Ridge Top View Point
The White House to Ridge Top View Point

Start point: 50.8844 lat, -0.3382 long
End point: 50.8804 lat, -0.3476 long

Continue with The White House on your left and immediately afterwards fork to the right up a footpath signposted with a blue arrow for Steyning Nature Trail. Go ahead up stepped tree roots onto the woodland path.

Follow the main path as it heads steeply uphill between trees heading for a gate. Pass through the pair of gates marked with the blue arrow and continue steeply uphill and ahead onto the grass path. Continue as the climb becomes more gradual with the steep slope down to the valley on your right.

Pass through another gate and on the left is a bench marking a Ridge Top View Point. You may wish to take a well deserved rest here, admiring the view back over Steyning and the surrounding countryside.

Ridge Top View Point to Chalk Grassland
Ridge Top View Point to Chalk Grassland

Start point: 50.8804 lat, -0.3476 long
End point: 50.8867 lat, -0.3488 long

With the bench on your left continue straight ahead along the narrow mud footpath between trees, running parallel to the fence on the left. When you come to a wooden waymarker with two blue arrows, take the right hand fork starting to head downhill. Ahead you’ll reach a kissing gate, go through this gate marked this time with the yellow nature trail arrow.

Follow the chalk path now heading quite steeply downhill, taking care if it is slippery. You will reach a kissing gate alongside a wider vehicle gate.

Chalk Grassland to Bowling Club
Chalk Grassland to Bowling Club

Start point: 50.8867 lat, -0.3488 long
End point: 50.8891 lat, -0.3332 long

Pass through this kissing gate and enter the section of chalk grassland. Note that cattle are used at some times of the year to maintain the grassland so take care with dogs for this short section.

Back in the 19th century chalk grassland covered more than 50% of the South Downs, but now covers only 3%. It is characterised by a mixture of grasses and wildflowers, in particular herbs, along with a few shrubs and trees. This supports a wide variety of wildlife including protected ground nesting birds such as skylarks and rare butterflies such as the Adonis blue.

Continue downhill on the wide grass path. Pass through the kissing gate at the bottom of the grassland and take the middle of the three paths going straight ahead and marked with the yellow nature trail arrow. Continue ahead with the fence to the right. After a few paces pass through another kissing gate and continue downhill with a tall hedge on the right.

As the mud path becomes wood chippings, pass through the next kissing gate and continue ahead with fenced paddocks now on the left. Carry on past allotments and then a playing field on the right and you will reach Steyning Bowling Club on the right.

Bowling Club to Steyning Centre
Bowling Club to Steyning Centre

Start point: 50.8891 lat, -0.3332 long
End point: 50.8882 lat, -0.3257 long

Take the right hand fork in the T-junction with the road, passing the tennis courts on the right. As the road bends to the right look out for the clock set into the chimney pot of the house on the right. A few paces later, opposite house number 38, turn left down the tarmac footpath and follow this slope down to the High Street. Turn right along the High Street.

With more than 125 listed buildings, you can amble through Steyning and see stunning examples of Medieval, Tudor, Stuart and Georgian architecture including many timber-framed houses. The High Street is full of interesting shops, tea rooms, coffee houses, restaurants and pubs. The many independent outlets include a bookshop, butcher, delicatessen, barber, gallery, craft shop and the Sussex Produce Company which won Sussex food shop of the year 2012.

At the mini-roundabout, turn left into Church Street with the Steyning Tea Rooms on your left. As you reach the Norfolk Arms, turn right into School Lane signposted for The Steyning Centre. Follow the tarmac lane to return back to the car park.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 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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