- Date: Wednesday 6 December 2023
- Leaders: Gordon Churchill
- Meet: 10:15, Petersfield Railway Station Bus Stand F
- Distance: 4.8 miles
A Bus and Walk Adventure including Petworth House Christmas Decorations
A small group set off by bus to Midhurst where Gordon led a short walk to ascend St Ann’s Hill where we read about the Iron Age fort that dominated the hill. Later a Norman castle was built, then finally a fortified house with nearby South Pond supplying fish. We descended steps to reach the footpath alongside the river Rother taking us to the ruins of Cowdray House. Construction of the house started in about 1520 but it was destroyed by fire in 1793. We then boarded the bus to Petworth where we enjoyed the Christmas decorations inside Petworth House, a National Trust property, which is set in a 700 acre deer park.
As well as marvelling at all these historic items, we really did marvel at all the hard work by the volunteers in decorating all the many Christmas trees – really large trees beautifully adorned.
The 17th century house offers an infinity of paintings and sculpture which includes major works by Van Dyck, Turner, Reynolds, and Gainsborough.
Examples of Grinling Gibbons work in the “Carved Room”
On leaving the house we enjoyed our packed lunches in beautiful Autumnal sunshine while sitting around tables in the forecourt. Fortified by food, we set out for a walk around part of the parkland, circumnavigating one of the large ponds, and marvelling at the landscaping work of “Capability” Lancelot Brown. After ascending to the summit of one of the hills we saw a huge herd of deer below us in the distance.
On leaving Petworth House a visit was made to the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin before waiting for the return bus to Midhurst. After passing Benbow Pond and the golf course we alighted from the bus at Easebourne. Our final short walk was through part of the Cowdray estate, and once again past the ruins of Cowdray House, before boarding the bus for Petersfield, having walked a total of about 4.8 miles.
Author: Gordon Churchill
Photography: Mark Lightburn & Flick
(Plus Linda & Paul Farley who couldn’t join the group but visited 2 days later)