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The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail

There are currently 5 comments and 1 photos online for this walk.

The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail
Author: Claire, Published: 03 Oct 2017 Walk Rating:star1 The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide star1 The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide star1 The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide star1 The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide star0 The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide
West Sussex, Petworth
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide boot The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide boot The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide
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0009_light_rain_showers The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide Today's weather
13 °C, Patchy rain nearby, Wind: 19 mph S
Next few days: Hover over icon for more info.
0009_light_rain_showers The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail Walking Guide

A 5.5 mile circular pub walk from The Welldiggers Arms on the outskirts of Petworth in West Sussex. A 300-year-old pub turned country-inn on the edge of the South Downs National Park, The Welldiggers Arms makes the perfect spot for refreshments before or after your walk. The walking route explores local stretches of woodland and commons, visiting a pretty church and stunning viewpoint along the way, following peaceful paths that provide a true feeling of escape.

The woodland commons are open access with lots of intersecting paths, so the iFootpath App’s live GPS map will be the best way to navigate. The walk includes several climbs and descents throughout, including a couple of short but steep sections. Several stretches (particularly the bridleway at the beginning and end) can be very muddy after periods of rain and in winter, so good boots are a must and wellingtons are recommended at wetter times of year. If you would prefer to avoid the worst of the mud, the initial bridleway can be avoided by following a narrow tarmac pavement alongside a road instead. You will need to negotiate several kissing gates and staggered barriers plus one stile (which has a large gap alongside for dogs). There is no livestock on route, just the outside chance of sharing one field with a horse. There are three road crossings that need care, but these are either within speed restriction areas or have excellent visibility. Allow 3 hours.

The Welldiggers Arms is located on the A283, about one mile east of Petworth. The pub has its own car park. Approximate post code GU28 0HG. If the pub car park is full, you could adjust the walk to start at the Hesworth Common car park (Waypoint 4), calling at the pub part way round. To reach this alternative parking, continue east along the A283 for a further 1.5 miles, then fork right onto the B2138 and the car park is immediately on your right.

Walk Sections

Start to Egdean Church
Start to Egdean Church

Start point: 50.9797 lat, -0.5855 long
End point: 50.9717 lat, -0.5818 long

Standing at the front of the Welldiggers Arms, with your back to the pub and facing the road, turn right to join the pavement. After about 100 metres you will see a bridleway sign on your right. At this point, you have two choices for your 0.6 mile route to Egdean Church. The woodland bridleway is the main route, but this can be very churned and muddy after periods of rain or in winter (its condition should be clear within just a few metres so it is worth taking a look before you make your choice).

To avoid the bridleway, simply stay on the narrow roadside pavement, continuing for 0.6 miles to reach the first house on your right. Turn right on the path immediately before this house and then turn right again to follow the access lane to Egdean Church.

For the main route, fork right to join the bridleway. Stay with the bridleway, ignoring a right branch at a vehicle barrier and then crossing straight over an access track. Further ahead you will reach a fork. Ignore the left-hand branch (which leads to the road at a bend), instead swing right to continue on the woodland bridleway. Later, cross straight over another access track and eventually your bridleway path emerges out to a junction with a tarmac access lane. Turn right and this tarmac access lane leads you directly to the church on your left.

Egdean Church to Woodruff's Farm
Egdean Church to Woodruff's Farm

Start point: 50.9717 lat, -0.5818 long
End point: 50.9635 lat, -0.5834 long

Take a moment to admire the church and explore the churchyard. Egdean is a tiny village, but the Church of St Bartholomew which dates from the 1500s is still in regular use. When you are ready to continue, retrace your steps back along the tarmac access lane, passing a cottage on your right and then a few properties (including Egdean House) on your left.

You will emerge to a junction alongside the main road. Bear right here to join the small country lane, leading you between trees. You will come to a crossroads, cross over with care to go straight ahead on the small tarmac access track. Follow this tarmac track leading you south, with lovely views of the South Downs ahead and of Hesworth Common woodland across to your left. Later, the track begins to descend between banks, passing Egdean Farm on your left and then Woodruff’s Farm on your right. This farm is currently home to a gallery which holds a few artwork and sculpture exhibitions each year.

Woodruff's Farm to Viewpoint
Woodruff's Farm to Viewpoint

Start point: 50.9635 lat, -0.5834 long
End point: 50.9637 lat, -0.5701 long

Keep straight ahead on the access track, passing New Cottage on your left and New Barn with a large pond on your right. Immediately after passing this pond, turn left (over a stile or through a field gate) to enter a grass field (this was empty when we walked, but may hold horses at times). Walk straight ahead, following the line of the hedge on your left. Pass through a field gate, keep ahead through a second grass field and exit via the kissing gate at the far side.

Follow the narrow path through the short section of scrub, emerging to the edge of a crop field. Keep broadly ahead to follow the waymarked path, a grass track with a hedgerow running on your left and crops on your right. At the end of the field, keep ahead on the narrow path through holly bushes and trees and then emerging alongside a few properties on your right. Turn left to follow the tarmac track uphill. At the brow of the first rise you will come to a fork.

Take the left-hand branch (still uphill) and, after 40 metres, where the lane swings sharp left, go straight ahead to join the signed public footpath leading you into the woodland of Hesworth Common. Keep ahead, ignoring any smaller side paths, passing over the brow of the rise, heading down through a dip and then meandering gently uphill. Keep right at a tiny fork and a few metres later you will reach a crossroads of paths (with a waymarker of four yellow arrows on your left).

Go straight ahead, passing under the boughs of a large oak tree and then joining a more obvious path, leading you first steadily and then more steeply uphill through the bracken and woodland. At the top of the climb, you will come to a second crossroads of paths (this time marked by a tall wooden fingerpost). Turn left here, heading uphill and almost immediately on your right you will pass a waymarker on your right (with a purple snake symbol). This marks the Serpent Trail, more about that later… The path narrows to lead you between sections of heather. At the top you will reach a bench and trig point, marking the common’s summit and main viewpoint.

Viewpoint to Hesworth Common Car Park
Viewpoint to Hesworth Common Car Park

Start point: 50.9637 lat, -0.5701 long
End point: 50.9642 lat, -0.5672 long

This makes the perfect spot to pause, enjoy the views and understand something of your surroundings. Hesworth Common is an old area of commonland covering about 100 acres. At one stage, this area would have been almost exclusively open heathland, but today it is planted with a mixture of pine, birch, beech and oak trees. We are currently following part of The Serpent Trail. The trail is a 64-mile long-distance path that runs from Haslemere to Petersfield, via a convoluted route that celebrates the many heathland areas along this greensand area. The name comes from the trail’s serpentine shape but also because it passes through the natural habitats of grass snakes, smooth snakes and adders.

Standing with your back to the trig point and facing the views, turn right to follow a sandy path leading you downhill, with open heath on your left and pine trees on your right. At the small crossroads (with a waymarker post on your right), turn right to join a path marked as the Serpent Trail (purple arrow) and a public footpath (yellow arrow).

You will emerge to a T-junction with another footpath, with a waymarker post ahead. Turn right here, continuing to follow the Serpent Trail and passing under the boughs of some beautiful beech trees. Just beyond these boughs, you will have a choice of two paths ahead. Take the left-hand of these, passing through holly trees and emerging into the Hesworth Common car park.

Hesworth Common Car Park to Churchwood
Hesworth Common Car Park to Churchwood

Start point: 50.9642 lat, -0.5672 long
End point: 50.9681 lat, -0.5534 long

Standing with your back to the height restriction barrier at the car park entrance, turn left between two short, wooden posts (still following the purple arrow marking the Serpent Trail). The path veers right and then leads you directly ahead through a pretty section of the woodland. You will emerge out opposite some houses, with the woodland on your right and an access drive on your left. Turn left along the access drive. Where the drive bends left, go ahead on the footpath which leads you to the road through a staggered barrier (with St Mary the Virgin Church in Fittleworth opposite).

NOTE: Take particular care when crossing this road, there is a 30mph limit but do look and listen for traffic. Cross over with care to the far pavement, turn right along this for 30 paces, go through the staggered barrier and take the left-hand branch at the fork. This tarmac footpath eventually emerges to another road. Do NOT continue on the footpath ahead. Instead, cross over to the far pavement and turn left along this, passing a school and the village hall both on your right.

You will reach a T-junction with the A283. Turn right along the pavement for about 40 paces and, immediately before the 40mph signs, cross over the road with care (again this is a 30mph stretch) to turn left onto the signed public footpath. Follow the grass footpath ahead between hedgerows. At the end of this long, straight grass section you will come to the back gate of a property ahead. Turn left and then right, pass through a gate and walk ahead with a garden on your right and a sheep pasture on your left. Pass through the next gate and go ahead along the driveway to reach the small lane within the hamlet of Churchwood.

Churchwood to Little Bognor
Churchwood to Little Bognor

Start point: 50.9681 lat, -0.5534 long
End point: 50.9761 lat, -0.5697 long

Turn left along the lane, passing several properties on your left and then a single property, Churchwood Lodge, on your right. Keep ahead on the stone track for a few paces to reach a tall fingerpost on your left. Here we leave the public bridleway, so fork left to join the public footpath leading you through the trees. Ignore the left-hand side branch to a gate and, a few metres later, you will see a small fingerpost on your right.

Stay with the main footpath here as it bears slightly left, leading you uphill and emerging to Bedham Lane. Turn right along the lane (taking care of occasional traffic) for 50 metres then turn left down a small side lane. At the bottom of the slope, stay with the lane as it swings left, passing the property called Amen on your left. Continue ahead on the tarmac track and later you will reach a staggered T-junction.

Bear right onto the quiet lane and, 30 metres later, turn left to join the signed public footpath, a grass track which winds ahead between crop fields. At the end of the first field, climb the grass bank ahead, turn left and immediately right to continue with a crop field on your right and the fenced grounds of a property on your left. Within gaps in the hedge on your left, you will have glimpses of the very large orchard of Little Bognor House. In the field corner, go through the staggered barrier and follow the enclosed footpath leading you down to the village road in Little Bognor. This tiny hamlet has a number of large mansions and character properties and is perhaps best known for being the home of the musician, Bryan Ferry.

Little Bognor to End
Little Bognor to End

Start point: 50.9761 lat, -0.5697 long
End point: 50.98 lat, -0.5857 long

Turn left along the village road and pass the gates for Little Bognor House on your left. Soon afterwards, immediately before the low stone wall of Downsfold, turn right to join the tarmac drive for Upperfolds (passing a public footpath marker on your right). At the top of the short rise, take the grass footpath which runs immediately to the right of Upperfolds.

Where the garden hedge on your left ends, continue straight ahead to follow the narrow path through the centre of the crop field, heading for the left-hand edge of the woodland copse at the far side. Along this stretch you will have tremendous views of the South Downs ridge to your left. As you reach the woodland, bear left to join the grass track which almost immediately bends sharp right, with the woodland directly on your right.

Follow the grass track through the dip and, in the top corner, dog-leg right then left to join the vehicle track marked as a public footpath. You will emerge alongside a vehicle gate to reach a junction with the A283. Cross over (with care) diagonally right to join the narrow path into the woodland belt. Almost immediately you will see a small fork. Once again, you can choose between the roadside tarmac pavement (right-hand path), or the sometimes muddy woodland bridleway (left-hand branch). Either way keep ahead with the A283 running to your right. Just beyond the woodland, you will come to the Welldiggers Arms on your left for some well-earned hospitality.

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


5 Comments for: "The Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail"

I shortened this as I ran out of time. So from Hesworth Common walked straight past the church in Fittleworth and up the footpath to the left past Fittleworth House on Bedham Road. Straight over the fields is easy to see on OS Map or App. I’m guessing it takes out about a mile but I’m afraid I didn’t check.

By CateOsmaston on 18 Feb 2018

Patricia: Used this app for the first time today . Very clear and easy to follow. Loved it. We did the Welldiggers Arms, Hesworth and Fittleworth Trail. Quite muddy in places after all the recent rain but with great views. Dogs had a great time then had a kip in the car whilst husband and I enjoyed a rather lovely lunch in the pub.

By Facebook on 28 Jan 2018

Thank You. A great walk greatly assisted by the App. with a fantastic pub at the end. Brilliant!

By Nickplane on 28 Nov 2017

Super walk through the countryside (with views of South Downs) and lovely pub lunch to finish.

By RichvL on 05 Nov 2017

Thanks. A very pleasant walk. Great views from the top of Hesworth Common in particular. And a good lunch and beer at the Welldiggers Arms to finish off (dog friendly pub).

By andrewhalfac on 09 Oct 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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