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|Sussex Hospices Trail Part 25: Amberley to Halnaker|
|Author: Claire, Published: 29 Jul 2016||Walk Rating:|
|West Sussex, Amberley|
|IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a linear route which relies on a bus for the onward journey which runs Mon-Sat only. On Sundays you will need to use taxis. |
A 10 mile linear walk from Amberley to Halnaker, forming the 25th stretch of the Sussex Hospices Trail. This stretch begins along the South Downs Way, crossing the pretty River Arun, before quickly joining the Monarch’s Way which leads you gently uphill through the beautiful Houghton Forest to reach Bignor Hill. From this point, mid-way along your walk, you will be rewarded with outstanding views down to the south coast. The journey continues by following the line of an old Roman road, Stane Street, which today leads you through pastures, woodland, a vineyard and scrub to reach the tiny village of Halnaker.
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 route has no steep sections, but there is a very long and steady climb for the first half and the equivalent descent for the second half. The paths are almost all unmade and can get very muddy at times. Whilst most of the paths are well-walked, towards the end some of the paths are very narrow and are prone to becoming overgrown in late summer, so wear long trousers and carry a stick at this time of year. There are some busy road crossings and a couple of 200m stretches along the edges of roads so take care of traffic at these points. You will need to negotiate several gates, kissing gates, bridges and 8 stiles (6 of which have large gaps alongside, but 2 of which have only medium-size gaps so larger dogs may need a lift over). You will be sharing some of the fields with sheep and two fields may be holding cattle so take care with dogs. Allow 5 hours.
There are no facilities for the bulk of the route. If you are looking for refreshments, The George and Dragon pub in Houghton is 1 mile into the route, there are benches for a picnic on Bignor Hill at the halfway point or you will find The Anglesey Arms pub in Halnaker at the end of the route.
The walk starts at Amberley rail station (which is on the Bognor Regis to London Victoria line) and ends at the bus stops at Halnaker crossroads, neither of which have public parking available so it is best to travel by public transport. If you are coming by car, it is best to park in Chichester from where you can use public transport to access the route. Begin by catching the train to Amberley (changing at Barnham) to begin the walk. Once you have finished the route you can catch Bus Number 55 (which usually runs every 30 mins Mon-Sat) from Halnaker Crossroads to Chichester Bus Station (adjacent to the rail station) for your onward journey.
|Start to Houghton Village|
Start point: 50.8968 lat, -0.5418 long
Leave Amberley rail station into the parking area opposite the museum. Turn left down the access road (using the right-hand pavement as soon as possible) to reach the T-junction. Cross over to the far pavement and turn left along this, passing under the rail bridge. Immediately afterwards, turn right onto the gravel driveway (signed as a public footpath). Keep ahead, passing through the gap alongside a wooden gate and follow the stone track through the rough meadow, swinging left. Soon the path continues along a raised embankment with a fence on your right and the River Arun across to your left.
|Houghton Village to A29 Crossing|
Start point: 50.8947 lat, -0.553 long
NOTE: This next short stretch follows the main road which has intermittent pavement and verges so take particular care of traffic. Turn right along the road passing some pretty cottages and then The George and Dragon pub on your right. Immediately after the pub, fork right onto a stone access track and, 30 paces along, turn left up the steep grass bank (signed for Walkers). As you approach the road, swing sharp right to join the woodland path with the road running to your left.
|A29 Crossing to Bignor Hill|
Start point: 50.8904 lat, -0.5752 long
A few paces in you will come to a small fork, take the right-hand branch (straight ahead) staying close to the crop field on your right. Directly ahead you will have good views of the two radio masts sitting on the summit of Bignor Hill. The path merges with another one (coming in from behind on your left) and, soon afterwards, you will come to a waymarker post with blue arrows. Turn left here (signed for the Monarch’s Way) and follow the path downhill into the trees.
|Bignor Hill to Stane Street|
Start point: 50.9024 lat, -0.6081 long
Keep ahead on the bridleway track, now with woodland to your left and a crop field to your right. Pass through the gate ahead (you may occasionally come across livestock here), go through the next gate and, a little further along, you will come to a crossroads of bridleways marked with a fingerpost. There is a bench carved from a tree trunk on the right here, an ideal spot to pause for a picnic as you are at the summit of your climb. There are fabulous views on your left, all the way to the coast and beyond.
|Stane Street to Eartham Road|
Start point: 50.905 lat, -0.6248 long
Follow the grass path ahead, with a wire fence running on your left. Simply keep ahead along this obvious grass path, staying close to the fence on your left and ignoring any side paths to the left. Just before you reach the first gate ahead, glance to the left and you will see the buildings of Gumber Farm. This working farm is also home to a bunkbarn offering simple and isolated sleeping dorms for walkers.
|Eartham Road to A285|
Start point: 50.8869 lat, -0.6649 long
Walk to the left-hand edge of this parking area and then cross the road to join the narrow woodland path opposite (the black and white chevron road sign points the way). Follow this narrow footpath leading you through the trees. Cross over a clearing (that carries a set of power lines) and continue ahead on the woodland path. You will emerge from this second stretch of trees to reach a staggered crossroads with a grass track (marked with a fingerpost). Go straight ahead to continue on the public footpath.
|A285 to Mill Lane Junction|
Start point: 50.8807 lat, -0.6778 long
NOTE: The next 250 metres follow the edge of this quite fast moving road, so take extreme care and use the grass verge as much as possible. Turn left along the road and, after 250 metres, a wider grass verge begins. Continue along the roadside verge, passing under the power lines, to reach a parking lay-by on your right. Half way along this lay-by turn right, crossing an old stile, to join the signed footpath. Bear left to follow the grass path which leads you diagonally uphill through the crop field (running directly underneath the power lines).
|Mill Lane Junction to End|
Start point: 50.8706 lat, -0.6998 long
NOTE: THE A285 CAN BE VERY BUSY HERE, SO CROSS WITH GREAT CARE. Cross over the A285 to reach the gap in the hedge which leads you into the crop field. Follow the obvious wide footpath through this field, swinging right and then left. At the end, keep ahead on the grass path through the tree belt and then continue ahead on the wide path through the second crop field. At the far side, a stile leads you into a third field (a private paddock). Walk straight across this and exit via the stile at the far side.
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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