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Mark's Birthday Walk

There are currently 3 comments and 2 photos online for this walk.

Mark's Birthday Walk
Author: mike evans, Published: 07 Apr 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Mark's Birthday Walk Walking Guide star1 Mark's Birthday Walk Walking Guide star1 Mark's Birthday Walk Walking Guide star1 Mark's Birthday Walk Walking Guide star1 Mark's Birthday Walk Walking Guide
West Sussex, South Downs
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Mark's Birthday Walk
Length: 8 miles,  Difficulty: boot Mark's Birthday Walk Walking Guide boot Mark's Birthday Walk Walking Guide boot Mark's Birthday Walk Walking Guide
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Two walks in one. An 8 mile (can be shorted to 6 miles) circular walk taking in part of the South Downs Way and the Monarchs Way, between Halnaker and Duncton in West Sussex, with fabulous views down to the coast and to the north and west. This walk, inspired by 'Bracken's birthday walk' (which we did a few weeks ago) when we realised that there was far more to see in this area. The walk starts and ends in the same manner as the other walk but the main body of the walk is completely different and I have to say is stunning. Mark, who like us had never done it before, commented during the walk "it's as if you've found a part of England that nobody has seen before, and it's on our doorstep!"

You will need to negotiate several gates on route, plus one stile (which has a gap alongside suitable for most dogs). You may come across livestock in some of the open downland fields, so take care with dogs. Some of the livestock are held behind electric fencing and in the open fields the livestock tend to be accustomed to walkers. Allow 3 to 4 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 One
Start to Seat One

Start point: 50.9001 lat, -0.6654 long
End point: 50.9073 lat, -0.6322 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 wood itself is nicely spaced and remarkably clear of any undergrowth giving it a beautiful serenity. The track through it 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 meet the South Downs Way at a five-way finger post and reach the first seat with a glorious view.

Seat One to Seat Two
Seat One to Seat Two

Start point: 50.9073 lat, -0.6322 long
End point: 50.9087 lat, -0.6237 long

From Seat One, set off leaving the seat on your left and the gate leading to South Downs Way on your right. Walk ahead with a fence on the left and a thin hedge of shrubs and small trees on rising ground to your right. You are aiming to pass to the left of two large aerials which are in a small wood ahead. Walk for 470 metres or so, to pass the wood with the aerials on your right and to meet a track at a T-junction with a triangle of grass.

Turn right onto the track and now walk with a small wood on both sides for approximately 330 metres. Emerge from the wood to be greeted by expansive views. There is an open wooden fence on the left and a wire fence on the right. In the wooden fence on the left, a gate leads into an area which includes a small pond and a rather grand seat. I recommend you take advantage of the seat to enjoy some fabulous views to the north west.

Seat Two to South Downs Way
Seat Two to South Downs Way

Start point: 50.9087 lat, -0.6237 long
End point: 50.9076 lat, -0.6171 long

Having dragged yourself away from Seat Two and the views, turn left to continue in the direction in which you were going. In 330 metres, at a three-way fingerpost, turn left to join the South Downs Way. Walk for 330 metres and pass through a (most likely open) five bar gate. In front of you is a junction, with a track leading off to the right and ahead a small car park. Here you have two choices.

FOR THE SHORTER WALK (which varies from the published GPS map), you should take the track to the right. Follow this track for a straight 200 metres, ignoring any side turns. You will reach a crossroads of paths with a four-way fingerpost. This is the point where the route rejoins the main walk (within the section called 'Leaving Point to Seat Three'). Turn right to join the main walk, heading towards Seat Three (and now skip to the directions from that point).

FOR THE FULL WALK, continue to follow the GPS map and walk ahead towards and through the car park.

South Downs Way to Leaving Point
South Downs Way to Leaving Point

Start point: 50.9076 lat, -0.6171 long
End point: 50.908 lat, -0.5968 long

To continuing on the LONGER route, pass through the car park and follow the South Downs Way, which leaves the car park to the right of the car park access road. The way ahead is obvious as the track cuts a very clear path across Bignor Hill with expansive views in all directions.

This section of the walk is 1.5km and at the summit of the hill you will pass Toby's Stone. This is a horse mounting stone, dedicated to Toby Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, the secretary of the Cowdray Hounds. There is also an old Celtic legend that a dragon had its lair on top of the hill and its remains can be seen in the folds of the ground.

This section terminates when the South Downs Way takes a sharp left to go downhill, with a track (with grass growing in the middle) going straight ahead. Your route is to take the track straight ahead.

Leaving Point to Seat Three
Leaving Point to Seat Three

Start point: 50.908 lat, -0.5968 long
End point: 50.9054 lat, -0.6165 long

Leaving the South Downs Way, walk straight ahead on the track with grass growing in the middle. After 250 metres, as the path bends right, a footpath meets your track on the left. IGNORE this and continue for 350 metres (turning right with the path after some 100 metres) to reach an arable field. A waymarker points the way across the field, and the farmer has laid the outline of a track with a tractor to show where he would prefer you to walk. Head across the field and aim towards the tree line (see picture).

Enter the trees, walk through the wood for 400 metres to meet another path at a T-junction and turn right onto it. This is the Monarch's Way. Follow this new path for 230 metres and, when you near the exit from the wood, the path splits at a Y-junction. By this time you can see the start of open land down the right fork. Take this right-hand option.

When you reach the field (which is on your right) there is a two-way fingerpost on your right and a sign for The National Trust Bignor Hill.

Continue now with the field on your right and woods on the left and, in 340 metres, pass to the left of a five bar gate and continue on the same track. In 300 metres the track meets a crossing track at a four-way finger post.

This is the crossroads where the two versions of the route merge once again. IF YOU ARE FOLLOWING THE SHORT WALK this is the point where you turn right to rejoin the main walk. IF YOU ARE FOLLOWING THE LONG WALK go straight across the crossroads of paths.

In either case, Seat Three is a few metres ahead on the right.

Seat Three to Seat Four
Seat Three to Seat Four

Start point: 50.9054 lat, -0.6165 long
End point: 50.8947 lat, -0.648 long

Leaving Seat Three to the right, continue on your previous heading to shortly bear left. IGNORE the track straight ahead as you bear left. There is an arable field on the left all the way along this section, which is some 440 metres in length.

At the end of the field on the left (and at the corner of the trees), turn right at a three-way fingerpost to enter the woods. Walk through the woods for some 150 metres. Pass through a five bar gate and, in about 20 paces, turn left and walk down to (and through) a small five bar gate to continue on The Monarch's Way. This rather beautiful section is also part of the Roman road, Stane Street. Walk straight to stay on The Monarch's Way for almost 2km, through open countryside, crossing a stile and passing through a small five bar gate en-route. Small round Monarch's Way signs mark the way at various points. You will finally reach the entrance to a wood, again with a Monarch's Way sign to the right of a small five bar gate.

Pass through the gate and continue a short distance to a multi-way junction, a large fingerpost, and Seat Four below it.

Seat Four to End
Seat Four to End

Start point: 50.8947 lat, -0.648 long
End point: 50.9001 lat, -0.6654 long

The multi-way fingerpost at Seat Four has place names on it, which is useful. Your task is simple, follow the direction for Upwaltham (a path to the right). The route which is uphill, goes for just over 1km. As the path climbs steadily, ignore any tracks or paths that cross the path and continue ahead until you reach the original track (from the outward leg) at a T-junction.

Turn left onto it and walk 1.2km back to the A285 Halnaker to Petworth road. Cross the road to return to the car park and the start of the walk.

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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: "Mark's Birthday Walk"

A fantastic walk with so much variation. The views from the top of Bignor Hill are breathtaking!

By jtrappett on 29 Aug 2018

A very enjoyable 8 mike hike that is not strenuous. There is a hill or two but nothing that should stop anyone reasonably fit. I’m in my late sixties and didn’t find it difficult. Doing the walk just after the Christmas celebrations definitely cleared the cobwebs.

By Coloursnail on 07 Jan 2018

This is a five star walk, away from noise and bustle and with great views. It is also popular so you may meet other walkers. We walked in sunny 18C and 20MPH winds. The walk is exposed in many places and hence I would avoid it in wet weather. The gradient varies much of the time and this is more of a good walk than an easy ramble.

By boardroom on 08 Jun 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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Uploaded: 14 May 2017
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