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The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill

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The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill
Author: Claire, Published: 19 Jun 2018 Walk Rating:star1 The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussexstar1 The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussexstar1 The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussexstar1 The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussexstar1 The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussex
West Sussex, East Lavant
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussex boot The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussex boot The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussex
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0001_sunny The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West SussexToday's weather
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0002_sunny_intervals The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussex 0002_sunny_intervals The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussex 0002_sunny_intervals The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussex 0002_sunny_intervals The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussex 0002_sunny_intervals The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussex

A circular pub walk of just over 5 miles, from The Royal Oak in East Lavant, West Sussex. The Royal Oak is at heart a country inn, run by people dedicated to good food, warm hospitality, and personal service. The walking route explores the pretty village before heading north along the West Sussex Literary Trail to reach the summit of St Roche’s Hill. From this wonderful vantage point, you will have views across Goodwood, Chichester and the south coast.

The walk consists of one long steady climb for the first half (a total ascent of 170 metres), with the equivalent descent for the second half. The paths are generally wide and well-made, but there are a couple of stretches that can be muddy or overgrown. The main loop follows bridleways, meaning there are no stiles and only a couple of simple bridle gates along the way. You will cross two pastures that are likely to be holding sheep (and may be holding a few alpacas that are used to guard the sheep too). There is an optional detour on a footpath that takes you onto the summit of St Roche’s Hill – this includes an extra kissing gate and the summit is occasionally grazed by cattle for conservation (omitting this detour will reduce the total ascent by 50 metres and reduce the walk length by about half a mile). Allow 2.5 hours.

East Lavant is located about 2 miles north of Chichester. The walk starts and finishes at The Royal Oak on Pook Lane. The pub has its own small car park opposite for those taking refreshments. Approximate post code PO18 0AX. At peak times, it would be more helpful for walkers to use roadside parking – the best option is alongside the village cricket field on Sheepwash Lane (close to Waypoint 1).

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Walk Sections

Start to Literary Trail
Start to Literary Trail

Start point: 50.8695 lat, -0.7739 long
End point: 50.8685 lat, -0.7793 long

Standing on the roadside pavement with your back to The Royal Oak, turn right along the pavement heading into the heart of the village. One short stretch of this road has no pavement, so take care of traffic here. Once the pavement begins again it leads you steadily downhill, passing between the flint cottages that are typical of a Sussex downland village. 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, fork right along the side road, with the River Lavant on your right and the village cricket ground to your left. Continue to reach the third small bridge across the river, marked with a public bridleway sign and the entrance drive for Staple House Farm. This marks the point at which we join the West Sussex Literary Trail.

Literary Trail to Pasture Gate
Literary Trail to Pasture Gate

Start point: 50.8685 lat, -0.7793 long
End point: 50.8853 lat, -0.7863 long

Turn right to cross the bridge and join the signed bridleway, a stone driveway leading you ahead. Where the main driveway swings right, go straight ahead to join the stone bridleway path. Simply keep ahead on this enclosed bridleway. The Literary Trail is a 55-mile long-distance path running between Chichester and Horsham and celebrating the literary connections of West Sussex, including Shelley and Hilaire Belloc.

When the hedgerow on your left ends, you will have views across grass pastures with the houses of Mid Lavant visible on the far side. The path leads you into an area of rough grassland and you will reach a fork in the path. Take the left-hand branch which swings steadily left, leading you towards a concrete slab bridge.

Do NOT cross this bridge, instead turn right immediately beforehand to continue on the path through the grassland. Further along, the path continues with hedgerows each side (and crop fields beyond them). At the end of this stretch, you will reach a bridle gate ahead, marking the start of a grass pasture.

Pasture Gate to Chalkpit Lane
Pasture Gate to Chalkpit Lane

Start point: 50.8853 lat, -0.7863 long
End point: 50.892 lat, -0.7623 long

Go through the bridle gate to enter the pasture (which is likely to be holding sheep and may also be holding alpacas that are used to guard the sheep). Walk straight ahead, following the line of the hedgerow on your left. At the end of the first stretch of pasture, pass between the old gateposts of the now disused fence and, just a few paces later, you will reach a wooden fingerpost on your left.

Turn right at this fingerpost, following the grass track leading you diagonally and steeply up the hillside pasture. As you climb, take time to enjoy the views that are opening up behind. As you reach the top field boundary, pass through the bridle gate and follow the enclosed bridleway path, which continues gently uphill between hedgerows, trees and scrub.

As the trees end, keep ahead on the stone bridleway which leads you between two crop fields, taking time to enjoy the views of Chichester Cathedral that have opened up to your right. Your path continues to climb steadily to reach the brow of this rise and then descends gently to pass a grand flint house on your left, The Rubbing House. Keep ahead beyond this house to reach the end of the field and you will emerge out to a junction with an access lane and track, Chalkpit Lane.

Chalkpit Lane to St Roche's Hill
Chalkpit Lane to St Roche's Hill

Start point: 50.892 lat, -0.7623 long
End point: 50.8921 lat, -0.7536 long

Our route will continue to the right (down the stone track known as Chalkpit Lane) shortly, but first we take an optional but worthwhile detour to reach the summit of St Roche’s Hill, which is visible ahead. Cross the access lane diagonally left to reach the large fingerpost and keep ahead on the stone track, signed to The Trundle.

The track passes the car park on your right and leads you to a pair of gates ahead. Pass through the gap between these, to continue on the wide stone footpath. At the top of the slope, pass through the kissing gate ahead to enter the site of St Roche’s Hill. (There are occasionally cattle used for conservation grazing on this site). Keep ahead on the stone track and, after passing the first radio mast on your left, fork right onto a grass path which leads you directly to the trig point at the summit.

The summit of St Roche’s Hill sits at 206 metres above sea level 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 Goodwood Racecourse and up to the South Downs ridge. To the south you will be able to make out the spire of Chichester Cathedral 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. The grass meadows that sit on the hillside slopes are home to plenty of wildflowers in the spring and summer. Look out for orchids and also listen out for the shrill tunes of skylarks that often nest in this area.

St Roche's Hill to End
St Roche's Hill to End

Start point: 50.8921 lat, -0.7536 long
End point: 50.8697 lat, -0.7738 long

When you have finished on St Roche’s Hill, retrace your steps heading back through the kissing gate and on to reach the junction with the access lane. Turn left to join the stone vehicle track, Chalkpit Lane, leading you steadily downhill. From this point, as you have probably guessed, it is downhill all the way. 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. Turn right to join the roadside pavement leading you into the village. The pavement leads you past a parking lay-by and on to reach The Royal Oak on your right for some well-earned hospitality.

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network The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussex Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 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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1 gallery images for "The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill"

11009_0Richard1529435797 The Royal Oak, East Lavant and St Roche’s Hill, West Sussex Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 19 Jun 2018
The River Lavant, a winterbourne, near the start of the walk. It was flowing strongly in June 2018.

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