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West Harting Down Trail

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West Harting Down Trail
Author: mike evans, Published: 26 Jan 2017 Walk Rating:star1 West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide star1 West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide star1 West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide star1 West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide star1 West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide
West Sussex, South Downs
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
West Harting Down Trail
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide boot West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide boot West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide
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A 6 mile round walk across the beautiful West Harting Down within the South Downs in West Sussex. With expansive views throughout, a large part of the walk takes in part of the South Downs Way and the Sussex Border Path.

The walk has some moderate inclines and declines but nothing too extreme. There are no cattle or sheep on any part of the walk and no stiles or gates were encountered. Allow 3 hours.

The walk start point lies on the B2146 between Compton and South Harting. Driving north towards South Harting, the parking spot is at the very top of Harting Hill on the left. Look out for a track on the left (there is also a track on the right at the same point). Bus numbers 91 and 92 go to South Harting from Midhurst or Petersfield. It would be a pretty stiff walk up Harting Hill from the bus stops, so factor that into your consideration. The Lat/Lng of the parking area is 50.960004/-0.886760 and the nearest postcode is GU31 5QJ (this is in South Harting itself so about 800 metres north of the start point).

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Walk Sections

Start to End of Wood
Start to End of Wood

Start point: 50.9601 lat, -0.8868 long
End point: 50.96 lat, -0.8869 long

From the parking area walk in a westerly direction along the South Downs Way for 460 metres (ignoring the three-way post pointing off to the right at about 350 metres). This stretch has trees on the left and some lovely expansive views to the north on the right. After 460 metres, turn left at a three-way finger post to follow a new footpath through a narrow and somewhat charming wood. There are some nice glimpses to the right across to the rather majestic building of Foxcombe Farm, which we will pass later in the walk. After 400 metres, the wood on the left becomes more dense and at 600 metres, shortly after passing a two-way fingerpost, the walk comes out of the wood to give open views on your left (see image).

End of Wood to Eckensfield Barn
End of Wood to Eckensfield Barn

Start point: 50.96 lat, -0.8869 long
End point: 50.9569 lat, -0.8997 long

Continue ahead and in about 150 metres, after passing a yellow waymarker, the path splits at a Y-junction. Take the right-hand fork. The path bears round to the right with a short hedge on your right and open fields on your left. Shortly, the path enters a wood with a three-way fingerpost on your right. Continue uphill, bearing right for a few metres, to a two-way fingerpost and turn left. Follow this track for some 470 metres to meet a track at a three-way fingerpost.

Cross straight over the track towards a five bar gate and pass to the left of it. The path continues with trees on your left and open fields on your right, eventually returning to trees on both sides for a short distance. Just before reaching the end of this short section of wood, take the path on the right at a four-way fingerpost (a 90 degree turn to the right). Continue ahead and after 530 metres (and just after a blue waymarker on your right) follow the path which turns 90 degrees to the left. Continue, turning right again after a further 80 metres as you reach the edge of the wood.

The walk continues, just inside a shallow tree line with a wood on your right and fields visible on the left, before reaching a sign warning animals ahead (distance 450 metres). The path ends at a drive which passes Eckensfield Barn, a beautiful conversion of two former keepers cottages. Walk past the building, continue for about 100 metres to a T-junction (with a three-way fingerpost).

Eckensfield Barn to Sussex Border Path
Eckensfield Barn to Sussex Border Path

Start point: 50.9569 lat, -0.8997 long
End point: 50.943 lat, -0.9191 long

Turn right at this T-junction, onto another drive. Trees on either side of the drive provide a beautiful avenue and the drive goes gently uphill. Continue along as it now goes downhill and gradually turns into more of a track, with grass in the middle, with spectacular views on all sides. After 530 metres it turns to the left and is flat for a further 200 metres.

Just as the drive turns left towards some buildings, turn sharp right (almost back on yourself) onto a path marked by a fingerpost and head into a wood. Walk for about 200 metres and here there is room for error (as I found out!). The path terminates when it meets a larger track at a T-junction (after passing to the right of a five bar gate with a four-way fingerpost). However, the path that you need turns off to the right a few metres BEFORE this point. It is in fact the Sussex Border Path. Now that sounds like a rather grand track, but it isn't, at least at this point and can easily be missed. The path is marked, unusually, with a disk labelled 'Sussex Border Path' which faces upward having been nailed to a cut off branch. So concentrate here and don't miss this turn!

Sussex Border Path to South Downs Way
Sussex Border Path to South Downs Way

Start point: 50.943 lat, -0.9191 long
End point: 50.9469 lat, -0.9252 long

Once you have found the Sussex Border Path, turn right onto it and continue as it goes slowly uphill. At the time of writing there were a couple of fallen trees fairly close to the start - you can circumnavigate these by going to the right of them. Follow the path as it weaves its way up through the trees for 500 metres to emerge onto a wide track at a T-junction. There is a Sussex Border Path sign and a yellow footpath sign on the same markerpost, they both point in the same direction.

Turn right onto the wide track and walk for 530 metres. Keep a sharp eye out for a path on the left with another markerpost on the left, again with the two signs on it. This time the Sussex Border Path leaves the main track to go off to the left. Turn left here to follow it. Follow the path for 300 metres to meet a wide stone track at a four-way fingerpost (which also includes a sign for the Sussex Border Path). Go straight ahead, continue for 320 metres and then bear right to join a track which is coming in from your left (there is a two-way fingerpost on your right).

In a further 300 metres, you will meet a track at a three-way fingerpost (again with a sign for the Sussex Border Path attached). Turn left onto it. The track shortly becomes a drive and passes the rather grand Foxcombe Farm house. After passing the house, walk a further 200 metres and, at a four-way fingerpost, turn right to rejoin the South Downs Way.

South Downs Way to End
South Downs Way to End

Start point: 50.9469 lat, -0.9252 long
End point: 50.9663 lat, -0.9023 long

Once you have turned right onto the South Downs Way, it is a straight walk of 1.3 km back to the starting point of the walk.

However as you walk the initial stages of this section, look ahead to the distant skyline. There you will see a structure which looks as if it belongs to Stonehenge. Curiously this is the ruins of a folly which was built to honor a failed American state. Dating from the 18th century, the folly lies within the grounds of Uppark House. It was built to celebrate the founding of the American colony of Vandalia in 1774, the events of the American Revolution meant that the colony never got off the ground. All a bit embarrassing really.

After 1.3km you will arrive back to the point where the walk began.

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network West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 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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4 gallery images for "West Harting Down Trail"

7198_0spurs4cup1491665600 West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide Image by: Sussex Walker
Uploaded: 08 Apr 2017
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7198_0spurs4cup1491665622 West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide Image by: Sussex Walker
Uploaded: 08 Apr 2017
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7198_0spurs4cup1491665644 West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide Image by: Sussex Walker
Uploaded: 08 Apr 2017
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7198_0spurs4cup1491665659 West Harting Down Trail Walking Guide Image by: Sussex Walker
Uploaded: 08 Apr 2017
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