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Hooks Way and back via Telegraph House

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Hooks Way and back via Telegraph House
Author: seekin, Published: 24 Nov 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star0 Hooks Way and back via Telegraph House Walking Guide star0 Hooks Way and back via Telegraph House Walking Guide star0 Hooks Way and back via Telegraph House Walking Guide star0 Hooks Way and back via Telegraph House Walking Guide star0 Hooks Way and back via Telegraph House Walking Guide
West Sussex, South Downs
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Hooks Way and back via Telegraph House
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Hooks Way and back via Telegraph House Walking Guide boot Hooks Way and back via Telegraph House Walking Guide boot Hooks Way and back via Telegraph House Walking Guide
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A 4 mile circular walk in West Sussex through woodland and open downland with expansive views. Locally I would say this is a classic walk, passing a pub deep in the woods which holds a lot of history for locals of a certain age. The walk also passes a poignant memorial to a young German pilot and Telegraph House, a reminder of an earlier conflict.

There are no stiles on this walk and no cattle, but you will need to negotiate some gates and there is a possibility that sheep may be encountered. There are a couple of short, moderately steep sections in the walk. Allow 2 hours.

The walk is off of the B2141 Lavant to Petersfield Road some 5.3 miles from Lavant. From Lavant travel north on the A286 Midhurst Road. After leaving Lavant going north towards Midhurst, turn left after 350 metres onto the B2141 Petersfield Road. After 4.5 miles on a left-hand bend, look out for a lane on the right with a cul-de-sac sign. The latitude and longitude for this point is 50.936870,-0.843887. There is parking on the grass at the top of the lane. Approximate post code PO18 9JY.

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Walk Sections

Start to Memorial
Start to Memorial

Start point: 50.9369 lat, -0.844 long
End point: 0 lat, 0 long

From the start point, walk steeply down the lane heading in a northerly direction. The pub at the bottom of the hill is called the Royal Oak. Locally it has always been known simply as Hooks Way. Going back to the 1960s the pub, which brewed its own beer, sold only beer and cider served across a serving hatch into a single room, lit only by hurricane lamps (no electricity). The pub must have been about 12 foot square but basically held as many people as turned up! The landlord of this pub, Alf Angier was a man of some character. Then in his 90s, Alf would often stand on the ancient table, holding a gartered mannequin's leg and let rip to a bawdy song or two, to the accompaniment of a local on a squeeze box. The roof was generally lifted by the singing from the assembled locals. Alf would tell many a story in his broad Sussex accent including the one about when the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) called in there on the way to or from the racing at Goodwood. But I digress as our walk passes by this historic monument...

A few metres past the pub, the road, now as a track, splits in three directions. Take the middle route to go uphill on what is now a a fairly wide stone path.

Continue uphill for some 500 metres to a T-junction with the South Downs Way. There is a small triangle of grass at the junction. Turn left. After a few metres, on your right you will see a memorial to Hauptmann Joseph Oestermann, a German pilot. Oestermann was flying a Ju88 bomber as part of Luftwaffe KG 54 Bomber Group on the first day of Germany’s offensive against the RAF, ahead of their planned invasion of Britain. The German bomber was downed by a British Hurricane, piloted by Pilot Officer Mayers of 601 Squadron flying out of nearby Tangmere Airfield. Mayers was incidentally also shot down later the same day but survived with leg injuries. It was good to see that the memorial had fresh flowers on it.

Memorial to Turning Point
Memorial to Turning Point

Start point: 50.9466 lat, -0.8285 long
End point: 50.959 lat, -0.8404 long

From the memorial, continue ahead and after 500 metres a track will join you, coming in from your left. Bear right to continue on the South Downs Way as it travels on downhill. On your left as you go down this section, look out for a number of WW2 gun emplacements set at regular intervals. 570 metres from the joining of the tracks you will reach a T-junction.

Turn left and after a few paces you will reach a three-way fingerpost. Currently a hand written poster warns "Beware of free range chickens ahead". Don't take the risk! Instead, turn right (on the South Downs Way) to go down a grassy path, with open fields on both sides for 250 metres, then with a wood on the right. In a further 350 metres, at a fingerpost, bear left to continue along the South Downs Way. Carry on for another 125 metres where the path takes a 90 degree turn to the left.

There is a track at this point that carries straight on ahead and you may wish, before carrying on, to take this track for 20 or 30 metres and climb the bank on the right to take in the views afforded here.

Turning Point to End
Turning Point to End

Start point: 50.959 lat, -0.8404 long
End point: 50.9459 lat, -0.8464 long

After turning 90 degrees to the left, the path climbs steeply and crosses a cattle grid. There are expansive views on the left. The path then descends just as steeply before again climbing (all be it at a slightly gentler gradient) as it bends slowly round to the left. 1.4km from the beginning of this section you will meet a path coming in from the right to form a T-junction.

Turn left to reach a gate after a few paces. Pass through the gate and walk on the now wide lane which shortly meets a tarmac drive. Bear left onto the drive and walk for some 650 metres.

As you walk along the drive you will pass Telegraph House on your right. The house was built on the site of one of a series of telegraph stations used during the Napoleonic Wars. A shutter telegraph chain was created in order to allow the Admiralty in London to communicate with its naval ships in Portsmouth. The stations constructed on high land, were simple wooden huts with a tower. Visual signals would be relayed to the next station by means of pivoting shutters attached to the tower.

After walking the 650 metres along the drive, and as the drive bears to the right by a bungalow, take the gate on your left which is itself to the left of a five bar gate. The grassy path ahead between two barbed wire fences feeds into another wider path in 125 metres at a three-way fingerpost. Turn right onto this path following the restricted byway.

Follow this path for 800 metres. A footpath joins from the right along the route at another three-way fingerpost, but continue on the restricted byway to exit onto the road leading down to the Royal Oak pub. Turn right at the road and in a few paces you will be back at the starting point of the walk.

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