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Slindon Park Circular

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Slindon Park Circular
Author: Claire, Published: 14 Jan 2014 Walk Rating:star1 Slindon Park Circular Walking Guide star1 Slindon Park Circular Walking Guide star1 Slindon Park Circular Walking Guide star1 Slindon Park Circular Walking Guide star1 Slindon Park Circular Walking Guide
West Sussex, South Downs
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Slindon Park Circular
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Slindon Park Circular Walking Guide boot Slindon Park Circular Walking Guide
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A 3 mile circular walk through Slindon Park, an ancient estate set within the South Downs in West Sussex. The route heads north around the edge of Slindon’s Medieval deer park before passing through the unspoilt downland village of Slindon and then returning through woodland. There’s something for everyone on this varied walk with woodland flowers in the Spring, plenty of wildlife, ancient beech trees and the charming brick and flint houses of the village itself. The Forge, the community cafe and shop, provides the perfect place for refreshments on route.

The route has just a few gentle slopes and the paths are generally well-made, although some of the woodland paths can get very muddy after periods of rain. There are no stiles or gates to negotiate, just a couple of steps and the paths are very uneven in places. One section of the walk follows village roads where there are no pavements, so take care of any traffic at these points. Approximate time 1 to 1.5 hours.

Slindon is a small village which is located about 6 miles east of Chichester and 2 miles west of Arundel in West Sussex. The village is accessed from the A29, close to its junction with the A27. The walk starts and finishes from the free National Trust car park on Park Lane. Approximate post code BN18 0QY.

Walk Sections

Start to Raised Beach
Start to Raised Beach

Start point: 50.861 lat, -0.6367 long
End point: 50.8645 lat, -0.647 long

From the car park take the middle of the three paths, the track to the left of the notice board which heads directly away from the road. After a short distance, fork left onto another path (alongside a gate). Follow this woodland path, which is famous for its rich carpet of bluebells in the spring.

Slindon is the National Trust’s largest traditional estate on the South Downs. The major estate began life under the ownership of the Archbishops of Canterbury. A palace was built for the archbishops as well as a Medieval deer park. The estate stayed in the ownership of the archbishops until it was given to the crown in the 16th century. The park survives, just without its deer!

As you emerge from the dense woodland, the path continues with a small grass bank running to the left. This was the Medieval deer park’s ‘Pale’. The grass bank was once topped with a solid fence, used to confine livestock, either deer for hunting or domestic animals.

Keep ahead on the path with the Pale to the left and soon the path leads you through a gap in the Pale. Immediately after this, turn right at the crossroads of paths, with the banks of the Pale now running to the right. Keep ahead on this path for some distance and, as it bends right, you may notice several giant beech trees towering above the rest of the trees. These are a few survivors of Slindon’s famous great beech trees which were destroyed en masse during the 1987 storm.

Just before the next right-hand bend, look out on the left for a track marked with an information board. It is worth taking a moment to divert down this track for just a short distance to visit the raised beach. At one stage, when the sea level was 40 metres higher than it is today, this track would have been a 75m high cliff looking out to sea. The shingle beach below is today preserved as an Early Stone Age raised beach.

Raised Beach to Slindon College
Raised Beach to Slindon College

Start point: 50.8645 lat, -0.647 long
End point: 50.8689 lat, -0.6374 long

When you are ready to continue, resume your journey along the main track with the raised Pale bank still to the right. After just a few paces the track swings right, passing back through the Pale. On the left you’ll pass Druids’ Grove, a hauntingly beautiful collection of the surviving ancient beech trees and a great place for a picnic.

Stay on the track which continues through a kissing gate and then merges with a tarmac driveway coming in from the right. Keep ahead on the stone track with the open area of the old deer park on the right and, on the left, you’ll pass an old arc-shaped stone wall sheltering a bench. At the junction of paths turn left, and follow the track as it bends left again to reach a T-junction with Top Road.

Turn right along the grass verge to join the path which runs just to the right of the road. At the top of the path, step over the low wall and you will emerge alongside the entrance for Slindon College.

Slindon College to The Forge
Slindon College to The Forge

Start point: 50.8689 lat, -0.6374 long
End point: 50.8626 lat, -0.6292 long

Keep right along the main road, with the tall boundary wall for Slindon College to the right. The original site of Slindon House was the medieval residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury. The present Elizabethan structure by Sir Garrett Kempe, was bequeathed (along with the surrounding parkland and beech woods) to the National Trust in 1950. Today the house is home to Slindon College, an independent day and boarding school.

On the left you’ll pass St Richard’s, the Catholic church. At the road junction, with a circular bench at its centre, turn right down Church Hill. On the right you will pass St Mary’s Church, the village’s Anglican church, and further down the hill you’ll also pass the village duck pond.

Keep ahead along the road edge, taking care of any traffic, and you will come to a T-junction. Turn right, heading downhill, and join the pavement running on the left-hand side. The pavement ends and the road narrows – take care here, keeping to the right hand edge and listening carefully for any oncoming traffic. Stay on the main road, as it bends left, passing the village Millennium sign topped with a cricket bat and wicket (signifying the village’s long association with the game).

Here, we will take a small diversion to visit The Forge, the community cafe and shop. Stay on the main road, passing the community orchard on the right. Immediately after this you will reach The Forge on the right, a great place to stop for refreshments.

The Forge to End
The Forge to End

Start point: 50.8626 lat, -0.6292 long
End point: 50.8611 lat, -0.6366 long

Formerly the village blacksmith’s, The Forge opened in October 2012 as a community run shop and cafe. The shop stocks a wide range of items – it’s a cross between a convenience store with everyday essentials, a farm shop with lots of fresh produce, and a deli – all with an emphasis on local produce wherever possible, including some of its own unique products. The café is licensed, serves delicious coffee, light meals and cakes – much of it homemade, or sourced from local suppliers. There’s free wi-fi and dogs, cyclists and walkers are made very welcome. In fine weather you can sit outside and enjoy the views across the fields to the woods.

To continue your walk, retrace your steps along the road passing the orchard on the left. As you reach the village Millennium sign, turn sharp left to join the signed public bridleway. Follow this bridleway between hedges, with sheep pastures to the left and the old deer park across to the right.

Just a few paces before you reach the main road, turn right onto the next branch of the bridleway, passing a rustic vehicle barrier. At the fork, keep right and follow the woodland path for some distance further. You will emerge out to a T-junction with Park Lane, turn right (with care) along the road edge for just a few paces and then cross over into the car park where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

1 Comments for: "Slindon Park Circular"

Easy walk - mostly sheltered. Dog off lead most of the time. The Forge is just wonderful - fab lunch & drinks (for 2) for under £15. We'll be back for another Slindon Estate walk!!

By philnorman49 on 23 Feb 2015

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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