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Bracken's Birthday Walk

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Bracken's Birthday Walk
Author: mike evans, Published: 20 Mar 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide star1 Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide star1 Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide star1 Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide star1 Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide
West Sussex, South Downs
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Bracken's Birthday Walk
Length: 7 miles,  Difficulty: boot Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide boot Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide boot Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide
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0018_cloudy_with_heavy_rain Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide Today's weather
4 °C, Light rain, Wind: 11 mph NNE
Next few days: Hover over icon for more info.
0009_light_rain_showers Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide 0004_black_low_cloud Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide 0003_white_cloud Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide 0016_thundery_showers Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide 0004_black_low_cloud Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide

A seven mile round walk taking in part of the South Downs Way, near Halnaker in West Sussex, with fabulous views down to the coast. A dog only has one birthday for every seven of ours, so it's only fair that the most is made of it! This walk was chosen for Bracken's 7th birthday because... well frankly we needed a good excuse and although pretty close to us, we had never done it (and nor had Bracken). Starting from the eastern ends of what is known locally as 'The Benges', it just looked like it was going to be a good walk with views. And that certainly turned out to be the case. En route there are three seats, each with stunning views, one of them a masterpiece of carpentry!

The walk has several long and steady climbs and descents throughout. There are no stiles on route but you will need to negotiate several gates. You may come across livestock on some of the open downland (often behind electric fencing) so take care with dogs. Allow 3.5 hours.

The 'Benges' runs east along a ridge on the South Downs from the Goodwood horse racecourse. The road is in fact called Selhurstpark Road. The most direct route is to take the A285 from Halnaker towards Petworth. After leaving Halnaker and driving for 2.8 miles, Selhurstpark Road is on the left. Turn left onto it and the parking area is immediately on the left. The Lat/Lng of the parking is 50.899741/-0.666196. Nearest post code GU28 0LZ.

Walk Sections

Start to Seat 1
Start to Seat 1

Start point: 50.8999 lat, -0.6663 long
End point: 50.9075 lat, -0.6321 long

From the parking area, cross back over the A285 (Halnaker to Petworth Road) towards an obvious drive and a green public bridleway sign. The drive immediately splits into three. Take the centre route. The walk stays on this track for some 1.5km, initially past a flint built house (on your right), past a metal traffic barrier and through a beautiful wood. The track through the wood is remarkably dry even after a lot of wet weather. Stay straight ahead for the 1.5km, finally exiting into open downland.

Continue on the track and in 200 metres, as you meet some trees by a three-way fingerpost, fork left (just by 30 degrees or so) to follow the bridleway and walk to the LEFT of the trees. Walk the entire length of the trees (780 metres) towards two aerial masts. At the end of the wood you join the South Downs Way at a five-way fingerpost and reach a seat with a glorious view.

Seat 1 to Seat 2
Seat 1 to Seat 2

Start point: 50.9075 lat, -0.6321 long
End point: 50.9054 lat, -0.6162 long

From the seat where you met the South Downs Way, go through the gate to follow the South Downs Way. Walk across the open downland, keeping a wire fence on your right. After 600 metres, pass through a small five bar gate and continue, now with small trees and bushes on the right and a small bank and a fence on your left.

The next bit is a little tricky, after a short distance there is a four-way fingerpost on the right. Continue on the same track past this point, as a wide chalky path goes off to the left (do NOT follow it). The track that you are on bends slightly to the right and then, in 20 metres or so, bends away to the left. As it does, a smaller track goes off to the right (effectively going straight on at the left-hand bend). Take this smaller track, keeping a small group of trees on your right. Follow this track and, after 130 metres, go straight across a path (a small five bar gate can be seen some distance ahead) and, after a further 50 metres, cross another path at a four-way fingerpost. Continue ahead towards the small gate. Pass through the gate and, in 125 metres, reach a path coming in from the right and turn left onto it. 20 metres further takes you to Seat 2 and another view point.

Seat 2 to Wood
Seat 2 to Wood

Start point: 50.9054 lat, -0.6162 long
End point: 50.8972 lat, -0.6179 long

From Seat 2, continue on the track for a short distance to a four-way fingerpost and turn right. Walk to the right of a wood so that the wood is on your left and an open field on your right. Follow this new track for about 500 metres where the trees end. Continue, passing a waymarker on your right, for a further 500 metres with fields on both sides through a thin line of trees.

At a four-way fingerpost turn right to walk with trees on the left and an arable field on the right. After 170 metres the field ends and you enter trees on both sides. Keep the trees on the LEFT as a joining track bends off to the right (to the right of two fir trees in a small area of open grass). Stay LEFT of the fir trees as your track bears slightly round to the left and goes up a gradient. As the trees give way to fields on the right, take the path left into the wood at a two-way fingerpost (see picture).

Wood to Seat 3
Wood to Seat 3

Start point: 50.8972 lat, -0.6179 long
End point: 50.8953 lat, -0.6208 long

Follow the path through the wood for 90 metres and exit into a clearing, with trees opposite and a waymarker on your left. Turn right to walk a short distance to the end of the trees on your right and to another waymarker located at the corner of the trees. Turn left to cross the clearing and enter the trees opposite, with a waymarker on the right of the entrance.

A short distance into the wood, at a T- junction of paths and a waymarker, turn left. Walk for some 120 metres to reach a small five bar gate which gives access to open downland. Go through the gate and on your left you will find a wooden armchair (!) again with a great view.

Seat 3 to Multi-Junction
Seat 3 to Multi-Junction

Start point: 50.8953 lat, -0.6208 long
End point: 50.8944 lat, -0.6478 long

Leaving the wooden armchair behind, it is a straight walk down the open area of downland for some 1.5km. The track remains more or less through the middle of the grassy area. The journey and the views down to the coast are only interrupted by a gate half way along the route.

As you finally come towards a hedge line and a gate ahead, you will reach a four-way fingerpost (25 or so metres before reaching the gate ahead of you). Turn right at the fingerpost and go a short distance to a gate with a three-way fingerpost to the left of it. Go through the gate and turn right.

Walk for 300 metres to a fork in the paths and another three-way fingerpost. Take the left fork. Follow the path with a hedge on both sides for 300 metres and enter a wood at a crossroads of paths and a three-way fingerpost. Go straight ahead (actually bearing right slightly). Walk 220 metres through the wood and emerge to cross a track at a four-way fingerpost. Go straight over and across open downland and, after 265 metres, pass through another short section of trees before emerging again into open downland. Continue for another 260 metres, now heading downhill and passing another seat on your right, to reach a three-way fingerpost. The path that you need goes 'straight' ahead (actually it jinks to the left slightly) and continues (at the time of writing) to the right of some fencing put up to protect young trees from deer.

Continue ahead for some 650 metres, generally uphill, reaching and walking alongside trees on your left. Finally you will reach a marker post on your right where a track joins you from the right. Continue ahead for a few more metres to a large six-way fingerpost with a seat below it.

Multi-Junction to End
Multi-Junction to End

Start point: 50.8944 lat, -0.6478 long
End point: 50.8995 lat, -0.6666 long

The way ahead from the six-way fingerpost might be complicated if it wasn't for the fact that the fingers have place names on them. Follow the path labelled to East Dean.

Walk straight up this track for 1km, crossing a broad track at 440 metres and again at 720 metres. Finally you reach a line of short posts, before reaching your original track at a T-Junction (with a waymarker on your left). Turn left onto this track. Walk 650 metres back to the Halnaker to Petworth road and cross it to reach the parking area where the walk began.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

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network Bracken's Birthday Walk Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by iFootpath and the author seekin and may not be reproduced without permission.

3 Comments for: "Bracken's Birthday Walk"

Beautiful walk and directions clear. According to my walking app it was closer to 8 miles than 7 not that my dog complained! Thanks for a great walk.

ADMIN RESPONSE; So pleased you and your dog enjoyed the walk. All iFootpath walks are accurately tracked as the author walks using GPS technology and calibrated to Ordnance Survey distances (the standard map for walking). We then round to the nearest mile for simplicity. Other GPS-based walking apps may be calibrated differently and some walking apps only estimate the walk length based on your activity level and steps; these tend to overestimate the length of any walk.

By lbarratt on 24 Aug 2018

Enjoyed this greatly on a sunny winter day. Brilliant views, huge sky. Directions very clear thanks.

By Lightfoot on 26 Nov 2017

Love this walk. local and very dog friendly with stunning view all year. Have done it several times through the year

By Sharon on 26 Nov 2017

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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