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Monkton and North Marden

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Monkton and North Marden
Author: mike evans, Published: 28 Nov 2016 Walk Rating:star1 Monkton and North Marden Walking Guide star1 Monkton and North Marden Walking Guide star1 Monkton and North Marden Walking Guide star1 Monkton and North Marden Walking Guide star1 Monkton and North Marden Walking Guide
West Sussex, South Downs
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Monkton and North Marden
Length: 8 miles,  Difficulty: boot Monkton and North Marden Walking Guide boot Monkton and North Marden Walking Guide boot Monkton and North Marden Walking Guide
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13 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 6 mph NNE
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An 8 mile circular walk in West Sussex through woodland and open downland with expansive views. Passing a pub deep in the woods with a fascinating history, a lost medieval village, a secret villa hidden from prying eyes, the Devil's Jumps and a poignant memorial to a young German pilot.

The walk has several climbs and descents throughout. You will need to negotiate one stile and several gates. Allow 4 hours.

The walk starts near North Marden, off 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 Monkton
Start to Monkton

Start point: 50.9369 lat, -0.8439 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. In my early days the pub had one small room with no electricity and only sold beer (brewed in the pub) and cider. The publican, one Alf Angier, a man of some character well into his 90s, was a bit of a legend. Many stories abound about Alf. Here's just one... He was in front of the magistrate in Midhurst to renew his license and when asked about the lack of facilities for ladies, Alf said in his broad Sussex accent, "Well yr (h)onor, there be 50 acres of forest out back, ain't that enough for 'em?". Not so equal in those days; he got his license renewed.

A few metres past the pub, the road (now as a track) splits in three directions. Take the right-hand track and after a few paces turn left to enter the wood. Continue ahead on the path which, at this stage, is a little indistinct. It runs straight ahead. After a while the path becomes more obvious. After 180 metres you meet a path coming in from the right at a waymarker. Turn left onto this path as it continues straight ahead.

Continue to walk for a further 500 metres crossing straight ahead as you reach two crossroads (the second one crossing at an angle). Then, at a slightly offset crossroads, follow the yellow waymarker to go effectively straight ahead (in reality you go slightly left then right). In 75 metres cross straight ahead over a track and in a further 75 metres go through a gate and into a field.

Walk to the right of the hedge ahead as expansive views down to the coast open up on your right. Carry on as the hedge passes into a second (pig) field. Distance across these two fields is 480 metres. Pass over a stile and into a meadow which slopes steeply down towards a three-way fingerpost and a small farm building.

You have now reached Monkton, the site of a medieval village (but evidence of which has all but disappeared). At the three-way fingerpost go to the left for 50 paces or so to see the fenced off remains of the buildings. Some eight buildings are on the site. The 17th century village was thought to have been wiped out by the plague. I have read somewhere (although I can't find it now) that the name Monkton relates to an earlier monastery on the site. Return to the three-way fingerpost to continue the walk.

Monkton to South Downs Way
Monkton to South Downs Way

Start point: 0 lat, 0 long
End point: 50.9421 lat, -0.8206 long

From the three-way fingerpost at Monkton, walk along the track leaving the farm building on your left-hand side (the equivalent of turning right at this junction in the first place). After 170 metres, pass through a galvanised gate across the track and continue ahead. Continue along the track for just over 1km passing to the left of a large triangle of grass to meet a road.

Turn left along the road at a smaller triangle of grass. Walk gently downhill for 150 metres to reach the drive of Monkton House. More on Monkton House anon, but for now the walk continues through a five bar gate to the right of Monkton House driveway.

Walk along the track for some 600 metres. Where the main track sweeps round to the right, turn left onto another major track, but only follow this for four or five paces before turning right onto a slightly narrower track. The track now passes through a substantial pine forest. Bear right after 300 metres at a Y-junction and continue for a further 200 metres, where the trees have been cut down on your left to reveal an open space. Carry on ahead and after 430 metres the track briefly re-enters the wood. As you pass again into an area which has been cut down ahead, bear left and, at a four-way fingerpost (with blue pointers), bear right.

Now keep the new cut down section on your right and the forest on your left. Shortly you will see a blue markerpost on your left.

Continue on this path following the blue markerposts for 700 metres or so. Ignore crossing paths until you come out with open fields in front of you at a three-way fingerpost. Here a path comes in from the left to form an angled T-junction. Turn right onto this path (effectively going straight ahead).

Continue on this path for 760 metres, as expansive views towards Cocking and Midhurst open up in front. You will reach the South Downs Way at a T-junction. You will find here, a large round stone (6ft in diameter), great views and some welcome tree trunks to sit on. Also, if the wind is in the north, look out for gliders coming from my own club at Storrington. With a north wind the South Downs provide excellent wave flying. We saw one of our club gliders fly over us at about 800ft going west and return 20 minutes later...a lovely sight.

South Downs Way to Memorial
South Downs Way to Memorial

Start point: 50.9421 lat, -0.8206 long
End point: 50.9443 lat, -0.7723 long

On reaching the South Downs Way, turn left to travel west. The walk along the South Downs Way is straight forward, so continue ahead to enter a wood after some 3.4km. There are expansive views all the way. After entering the wood, the track turns to the left after some 380 metres.

Whilst passing along this section, and particularly as you approach the left-hand bend, you are quite close on your left to the aforementioned Monkton House. If you look through the fencing on the left you may just catch a glimpse of the back of the house.

Monkton House was designed by the great British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. The eccentric aristocrat Edward James had the house redesigned in the 1930s, enlisting the help of his friend Salvador Dali. The house contains many features that make it exotic (if not erotic). Dali let rip his imagination, redesigning the rooms and furnishing them. James's bed for example was made in the design of Napoleon's hearse. There were padded walls and ceilings, sofas in the shape of Mae West's lips and a window halfway up the stairs that looked into the bathroom! The overall surrealist effect was rounded off by a good proportion of James' own world class modern art collection. The house was sold off by the later owners, the West Dean Estate, whose land you are walking through, to help fund the West Dean College.

Continue along the track and, about 400 metres or so from the bend, you will see a number of burial mounds on your right, known as the Devil's Jumps (not to be confused with the Devil's Humps some 6km to the south).

In a further 300 metres the South Downs Way turns to the right, but our walk continues directly ahead past a small triangle of grass. Before continuing though, carry on along the South Downs Way for about 50 metres and look to your right to view the memorial to Hauptmann Joseph Oestermann. 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.

Return to back to the junction to continue your walk.

Memorial to End
Memorial to End

Start point: 50.9443 lat, -0.7723 long
End point: 50.946 lat, -0.8276 long

After leaving the memorial and returning to the point where the South Downs Way turned right, the walk now continues past the small grass triangle to go south, downhill. It is a straight walk of 500 metres down the wide stone track to rejoin the original route at the pub. Walk back up the road to the point where the walk started.

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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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3 gallery images for "Monkton and North Marden"

6912_0seekin1485468774 Monkton and North Marden Walking Guide Image by: mike evans
Uploaded: 26 Jan 2017
The last of autumn after leaving Monkton 'village'
6912_1seekin1485468774 Monkton and North Marden Walking Guide Image by: mike evans
Uploaded: 26 Jan 2017
Heading for the South Downs Way
6912_2seekin1485468775 Monkton and North Marden Walking Guide Image by: mike evans
Uploaded: 26 Jan 2017
Time to step it up a gear. Chichester harbour glints in the distance as lights out approaches.

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