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Fairmile Bottom

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Fairmile Bottom
Author: mike evans, Published: 08 Jan 2018 Walk Rating:star1 Fairmile Bottom Walking Guide star1 Fairmile Bottom Walking Guide star1 Fairmile Bottom Walking Guide star1 Fairmile Bottom Walking Guide star0 Fairmile Bottom Walking Guide
West Sussex, South Downs
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Fairmile Bottom
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Fairmile Bottom Walking Guide boot Fairmile Bottom Walking Guide
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17 °C, Clear/sunny, Wind: 7 mph S
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A 5.5 mile circular walk around the West Sussex village of Madehurst. The walk is a mixture of woodland, open downland and farmland. There are a few ups and downs, but nothing too strenuous. It can be muddy in places during wet weather. The walk includes lovely views throughout. You may encounter cattle or sheep in a few places. Be prepared to negotiate both stiles and gates. The total ascent is 251 metres. Allow 3 hours.

Fairmile Bottom is on the A29 between Fontwell and Bury. From the A27 at Fontwell, turn on to the A29 which is signed to London, Dorking and Slindon. After three miles look out for a small lay-by on the left, there is a green bridleway sign in the lay-by and a five bar gate signed Fairmile Bottom on the opposite side of the road. The latitude and longitude of the lay-by is 50.884765,-0.600070. The nearest post code is BN18 9FD, but this will take you to the roundabout between the A29 and A284 (from here head south-west on the A29 for one mile to find the lay-by on the right). The start of the walk can be reached on public transport using the number 71 bus from Chichester to Pulborough. The bus stop is Fairmile Bottom.

Walk Sections

Start to Houghton Forest
Start to Houghton Forest

Start point: 50.8779 lat, -0.593 long
End point: 50.8952 lat, -0.5974 long

From the lay-by follow the green public bridleway past a large log and pass through the hedge of trees to start the walk in a northerly direction. After 80 metres, at a three-way fingerpost and a kissing gate, turn right. (The kissing gate is your return route). The path here has new scalpings so the going here is good underfoot. Walk, now parallel with the A29, for some 700 metres to enter a wood. Shortly after entering the wood turn left. There is a bridleway waymarker on your left.

Walk through the woods to reach a small road after 240 metres. Cross the road ahead (in fact jinking slightly to the right) and carry on in the same direction into the wood. Continue ahead through the wood for 1.3 kilometres. Ignore a path that comes in from the right after 260 metres and after another 1 kilometre, as you pass through slightly less wooded area, there is a two-way fingerpost on your left. The turning that you do want is some 220 metres ahead from this point. Again, there is a three-way bridleway fingerpost on the left. This is waypoint one.

Houghton Forest to Seat
Houghton Forest to Seat

Start point: 50.8952 lat, -0.5974 long
End point: 50.8953 lat, -0.6216 long

After turning left, walk for 80 metres or so to reach the edge of the forest with a waymarker post on the left. Turn right here and walk with the forest on your right and a thin line of trees on the left. After a short distance the thin line of trees on your left give way to forest both left and right. Walk through the forest for 190 metres. Turn right and continue close to the edge of the forest for a further 150 metres and then, at a fingerpost on your left and arable fields in front, bear left and walk 160 metres between the fields towards further trees. (see image). Once at the trees continue ahead with the trees on your left and the field initially on your right and then trees both sides. In 450 metres you meet a wide track at a crossroads at a four-way bridleway fingerpost.

Go straight across, continue with trees on the left and a field on the right and, after 180 metres, enter trees on both sides. Continue straight ahead initially slightly downhill. Soon after entering the trees, a track peels off to the right (to the right of two large fir trees). Do NOT take this but continue ahead and to the left of the fir trees bearing slightly to the left. Now continue uphill and exit the wood on your right after some 200 metres or so. Stay with the wood on your left and a field on your right as you pass a two-way fingerpost on your left. In a further 100 metres, as you reach the edge of the wood on your left at a bridleway marker post, go straight ahead to cross a 50 metres open space and then enter a wood. There is a bridleway waymarker on your right.

A short distance into the wood at a crossroads of paths, turn left. Walk for 140 metres to the edge of the wood and a small five bar gate with a waymarker to the left of it. Pass through the gate, turn left and in a few metres arrive at the seat which terminates this section of the walk.

Seat to Coneygate
Seat to Coneygate

Start point: 50.8953 lat, -0.6216 long
End point: 50.8851 lat, -0.6122 long

The walk continues from the seat by returning to the gate and turning left to walk downhill with a clear view to the coast and a straight path ahead for one and a half kilometres. The path is only interrupted half way along by a pair of small five bar gates as your path crosses a track at a crossroads. Continue straight ahead. When we walked this section there were sheep on the left separated from us by an electric fence. As you reach a thin tree line and a fourway fingerpost, turn left to follow the footpath. Walk to the left of the trees, passing an old seat on your right after a few metres and continue to drop down a small hollow after 300 metres to reach a wooden kissing gate. Pass through the gate and up an incline and into a wooded area. After about 80 metres, at a three-way footpath fingerpost, turn left. Walk ahead a short distance to a visible large five bar gate with a stile to the right of it. Pass over the stile and into a field. Follow the direction of the footpath waymarker attached to the stile to bear right and cross towards the corner of a wood and a further footpath waymarker.

Now bear left to follow the waymarker and the wire fence along the edge of the wood. After a short distance turn right to stay with the wire fence as it leaves the wood and crosses an open meadow with an arable field the other side of the fence on your left. Ahead is another tree line.

Pass through the tree line to enter the wood through a large five bar gate (or the stile to the right of it) and walk a short distance uphill. There is a track coming in from the right and almost immediately you meet a track at a T-junction on a bend. Do NOT take the first right, but turn right at the 'T-junction' instead.

Walk through the wood for some three hundred metres, initially passing some nissen huts that must date back to the Second World War, and then later passing the drive to a house on the left. Continue on to meet a narrow roadway.

Coneygate to End
Coneygate to End

Start point: 50.8851 lat, -0.6122 long
End point: 50.878 lat, -0.5936 long

At the narrow roadway, turn right onto it. Walk along the roadway for some 300 metres as it curves to the left through woodland then opens to a lovely vista on the left (see associated picture). Three spectacular cedars can be seen.

Continue on the roadway as it continues to curve gently to the left now with trees to your right and the open view to your left. After some further 400 metres, where you meet a crossroads with a four-way fingerpost on your right, go straight ahead. The right-hand option has a (open) double galvanised gate at its entrance and a large house can be seen down the left option. But as said, do NOT take these side turns, instead go straight ahead down a narrow roadway now with a thin line of trees on your right and an arable field on your left. At the end of the field, after passing through some white painted fencing both sides of the roadway with a telegraph pole on your left, turn right at a T-junction.

Follow this new roadway as it curves gently left for 70 metres or so to reach a beautiful three gabled cottage as the roadway turns right. Do NOT follow the road but go to the left of the cottage. A single fingerpost on your left points the way. Follow this track for about 80 metres to reach a stile. Pass over the stile and into a field. Keep to the right-hand edge of the field, there is an electricity transformer on a single pole a short distance in on your right. Walk across the field for some 230 metres, then go through a gap in the fencing, across a track and then through a further gap in the fencing and into a further field. Again keep to the right. At the bottom of this 240-metre field, a kissing gate can be seen among a few small trees. Pass through this kissing gate and walk straight ahead for some 80 metres, then pass through a short tree line to reach the lay-bay and the starting point of the walk.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author seekin and may not be reproduced without permission.


3 comments for "Fairmile Bottom"

We did this walk today and it was beautiful, with a cloud free sky and a breeze so we didn’t get too hot. Lots of variety in woods, through fields and meadows. We did encounter a rather large herd of cows blocking our way on the last leg but we managed to skirt around them. Be aware also that the very first part of the walk was pretty overgrown with tall nettles nearly blocking the path in one or two places.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Thanks for letting us know about the cattle - we have added an extra note in the introduction.

By eralcnaderri on 30 Jun 2018

Absolutely delightful walk. A huge tree had fallen across the path very early on in the walk - a little negotiation over or under was needed but otherwise no problems. A wonderful mixture of countryside and woods.

By JulieP7000 on 26 May 2018

Superb Downs walk. A real mixture of views, open landscapes and woodland. We did the walk in May and the wild flowers were magical. Footpaths are very well marked. A real joy to walk. Took us 3 hrs but we strolled rather than sprinted.

By JoBo59 on 09 May 2018

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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