- From Harting Down: 5 February 2022
- Walk Leader: Lynne Burge
- Distance: 9.5 Miles
- Start: Harting Down CP, GR: SU 790 180
A chilly, windy day greeted the ramblers as we met in Harting Car Park at the start of the ramble. Once we started down the hill towards East Harting the biting wind faded away and warmth came back to our fingers. A steep walk down the road with lovely views across South Harting led down to Turkey Island and East Harting. The houses were interesting to notice as we passed by, many dating back at least a hundred years, with others showing evidence of being rooted in Elizabeth times. Snowdrops abounded in many gardens forth-telling the coming spring.
Leaving the village by Tye Oak Farm we continued on the road towards Weeks Common. The beauty of walking at this time of year is that vistas are opened up by the absence of leaves on the trees. Also, the shape of the trees is stunning, some old and gnarled, others young and vibrant.
Around the bend we came to a potential path across the fields. A recce a few weeks ago showed that the track was muddy and unpleasant to navigate so we kept to the road and followed around towards Upperton. Part way along the next track we halted to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat. Cows chewed contentedly in the fields as they watched up have our break. We watched as a falcon hovered above a patch of grass looking for food. It hovered effortlessly while surveying the scene, but unable to find its prey it flew off. Not staying too long so we didn’t get cold we walked around West Harting towards Putnams.
The road led us towards Torberry Hill and the path that skirts the lane back towards the Harting Road. The path winds part way up the hillside making an interesting deviation from the road. Crossing the main road carefully we then began a long climb up towards the South Downs Way along the Sussex Border Path.
The SDW was fairly muddy and needed careful navigation along to Hundred Acres. Following the track into the trees of West Harting Down we came across evidence of forestry work having taken place. Piles of logs were placed by the side of the track, awaiting collection at a later stage. Some of the stray logs proved to be an excellent seating area for our much needed lunch.
Paths cross cross this area, with a larger open space being used for lunch for a shooting party. Hot drinks, soup and sandwiches are provided for the participants – not that they were there on this walk but several weeks ago, when scoping out the walk, we came across the tables set up for them and then saw about a dozen vehicles driving along the path to the food.
Following through the trees the path doubles back towards the SDW. An ancient pathway strikes out to the right, following an old field boundary and providing lots of interest. Many of the trees have been culled and under planted with new stock. More trees had been coppiced years ago and then never harvested forming beautiful silhouettes along the path. The path roamed up and down the slope of the field taking us on a seemingly never ending journey. Eventually we emerged back onto the SDW and struck out for home. It was not long before we crossed the Uppark Road and climbed our last incline back to the cars. The sight of cars waiting for us in the car park was very welcome, 4 hours and 9.5 miles later we had finished it just as the sun was fading and rain was threatening.
Author: Lynne Burge