25 September 2021

  • Cheriton, Hinton Ampner, Kilmeston:  25 September 2021
  • Walk Leaders: Gerald & Clare Pilkington
  • Distance:  10 Miles
  • Start: Cheriton by the Green GR: SU 583 284

Having spent a couple of days worrying about road closures on the way to Cheriton, with sore arms and mild aches as a result of the booster and flu jabs we had received the day before, Gerald and I were slightly concerned when the drizzle started as we were driving to our start point.  However, none of the above in any way spoiled what turned out to be a very lovely walk!  We were joined by Sheila, Helen and Johanne, and Amanda Todd, a friend who had seen the walk in the Petersfield Post and came to witness a ramble at first hand. 

We set off through the churchyard and then negotiated a number of stiles in order to make our way through fields of cows, harvested crops and natural beauty, passing several striking properties with amazing views.  Up we went, along footpaths and across fields until we were heading straight for Hinton Ampner, in the heart of the land where the Battle of Cheriton was fought.  (The Battle of Cheriton, in 1644, was a major turning point in the English Civil War and resulted in an important Parliamentarian victory that helped shape the future of England.) 

Interesting signage

We crossed the A272 and walked up the lane to Hinton Ampner, (a National Trust property purchased by Ralph Dutton, 8th Lord Sherborne, in 1935 and rebuilt in 1960 after a devastating fire) where we took advantage of a couple of empty benches that were winking at us, and stopped for coffee.  What better way to enjoy a break than surrounded by beautiful roses and a view that took in a large chunk of Hampshire!

Then down through the Hinton Ampner estate, and along a series of footpaths that took us through more fields but also some wooded areas to Kilmeston, a very pretty little village with thatched and tiled cottages and a delightful village hall.  On we pressed, and eventually the landscape opened up so that we could see on the horizon the part of the South Downs Way for which we were heading.  Across ploughed fields and up a short hill, we reached the path, enjoying a wonderful panoramic view whilst we caught our breath.  A short road walk brought us to The Milbury pub, our lunch stop.  We sat outside on a couple of bench/tables – Gerald and I seemed to have chosen a seesaw, rather than a bench – and ate our lunch with drinks from the pub.

Eggs for sale

Now on the home strait, we continued along lanes, paths and across fields, enjoying enterprising egg boxes, funny signs on gates and a lot of happy chat and fun.  In what seemed like no time at all, we were back in Cheriton.  It hadn’t rained, Gerald and I actually felt much better for the exercise and the A272 was open after all!  But the best bit of all was the company, despite their disputes over our stile count – thank you all, and I hope we will see you again soon!

Author: Clare Pilkington

Photos: Sheila Gadd & Jo Legg

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Days 11, 12 & 13 Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast continues with 4 Fearless Petersfield Ramblers

Day 11:   September 2021 
Back at Reeth we followed through the village, which seemed to be teeming with walkers, and followed along, near the Swale to Marrick Priory. This used to be home to nuns in the 12th century until the inevitable happened in the reign of Henry VIII, it is now converted into an Outdoor Residential Centre.  Leaving the Priory behind us we climbed up and then into the hamlet of Marrick, a gentle sleepy settlement that we soon left behind us.

In the Woods

Climbing up yet again and then down we entered the popular village of Marsk. Here the local family was the Huttons. History tells us that they wouldn’t allow any guest to leave the table until they were too drunk to walk to their bed. We did not see such behaviour as we walked through the settlement!  Across fields and up a sharp escarpment brought us to the Applegarth area. Low Applegarth, High Applegarth, East Applegarth, West Applegarth, you get the picture, the name dominated our walk along a delightful path that afforded us views across the valley. We were puzzled by a red square on the map near East Applegarth, none of us knew what the symbol meant, so at our lunch stop we looked at the OS map legend. It is the mark of a bunkhouse. So we all learnt something.

The Inevitable Ups

A welcome lunch taken before entering the ancient trees of Whitecliffe Wood gave us energy for the last park of this section. Slightly shorter, and certainly easier walking, saw us entering Richmond by 3 o’clock. Therefore, the inevitable cups of tea were drunk at a local cafe before finishing our 11 miles back at our B&B.

Day 12  We set off straight from our B&B through the delightful and historic town of Richmond- well worth a return visit to find out the history and view the sights.
Following our old friend of the River Swale we quickly were out into lush countryside enjoying the sights. Not so lovely was the aroma emanating from the sewage works that we walked past, but it was quickly over as we marvelled over the ruins of Hagg Farm firmly obscured by the fast-growing undergrowth.

Bolton on Swale Church

The hamlet of Colburn proved to be a pretty place, dominated by Colburn Hall. As the path tracked the river evidence of large scale gravel extraction was evident all around. The route went under the A1(M) passing very close to Catterick Racecourse, but. I racing was taking place today. Very quickly the land became rich farmland and with it the useful Coast to Coast signs dwindled dramatically. Navigation was not too difficult as we made good progress on one of our longest walking days but probably one of the easiest. No daunting slopes to climb, no dramatic windswept moors, no devastation from lead mining, just gentle fields with cattle or crops.

Richmond Bridge

Road walking was unavoidable alongside Kilpin Hall, just after Ellerton Bridge, to an enjoyable stretch as traffic raced along at high speed. Thankfully we were soon walking off the road onto pathways that continued across the farmland. On we continued with no surprising views or change of scenery. A stop for lunch in a field provided a welcome break as we then continued on towards the village of Danby Wiske. One field looked impassable as tall maize plants well over head height filled the way ahead. It was a question of head down and plod between the plants until we were through it, not the most pleasant experience.

The Maize Jungle

Arriving in the village, we stopped for the necessary cup of tea, spending a relaxing time talking to other walkers most of whom we have met over the past few days. They are all friendly, welcome a chat and exchange walking tips with each other. So, all in all, not the most exciting day’s walking but enjoyable in the fact that we are very walking fit now and can keep up a fairly good pace.

Day 13:  
The last day of this section of the Coast-to-Coast trek, next installment and the final phase, will be completed in May 2022- seems a long way away at the moment.

Anyway, back to today, 4 happy and relaxed ladies were dropped back in Danby Wiske for the final 9 miles.  Today was very much a repeat of yesterday’s walk taking us past farms and across their fields. What has struck us is how productive the land is, crops have been harvested, fields are being harrowed ready for the next crop and cows chew contentedly in their fields.

So, not much to report except one quirky farm that we passed. First of all, we noticed a large fridge by the side of the path inviting you to purchase snacks from it. It contained drinks, chocolate but also ibuprofen and plasters. Then came the surprise! As the stile was being climbed a rat (fortunately of the plastic kind) started making noises. It was difficult to make out what it was meant to be saying but it continued as the four of us crossed. There also was a witch’s broom, plastic skull and other artefacts nailed to the fence. It raised a smile from all of us.

Nearing the end of our walk we had to cross the dual carriageway of the A19. Cars were hurtling along the carriageway so we waited patiently until there was a break in the traffic. Having negotiated this hazard, we thankfully walked down into the village of Ingleby Cross. There, right by the village green, was a delightful cafe which comfortably finished this stage of the walk.

4 Happy, Intrepid Walkers

Author: Lynne Burge

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Days 9 & 10 Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast continues with 4 Fearless Petersfield Ramblers

Day 9:   September 2021 
The Post-to-Post walk (read on to find out why the change of name for this day!)
It was an easy start this morning, gathering in the centre of Kirby Stephens where we were all staying. A gentle walk over Frank’s Bridge led us into the hamlet of Hartley, a small settlement that saw the start of the long incline up onto the moors. A steady climb took us past several quarries and some fascinating old trees that lined the road. Before we became too comfortable the path led us onto the bleak moors.

Ancient trees along the road

It was then a relentless climb past many sheep folds and false summits to gain our aim of reaching the Nine Standards Rigg. They lie at the watershed of Britain sending waters one way towards the Irish Sea and the other to the North Sea. No one knows the reason they are there, there are several suggestions such as the English were trying to fool the Scots that there was a large encampment, but they remain a mystery. There is evidence that they have been there since at least 1507 and in recent years they have been restored and should last into the future.

Nine Standards Rigg

Just along from this fantastic viewpoint the route splits. Depending upon the season there are three different routes. We took the appropriate one which takes you across barren, wild moorland. It is very boggy in many places and the path is difficult to ascertain. Helpfully a series of wooden posts have been added which guide the walker across the often treacherous moor. Therefore we jokingly called it the Post to Post walk as without the aid of these simple pieces of wood we could easily have lost our way. Walking up in that area of the moor in mist or wet weather would be foolish.

Stunning Views

Eventually we gradually dropped in height, crossing many wet and boggy becks down towards Ravenseat. Some of you who watch the Yorkshire Shepherdess- the farmer on TV who has 9 children- will recognise that this is her home. As we approached it was easy to see that it is a popular spot for tourists with many milling around. We took advantage of the picnic tables to sit and eat our lunch. After the obligatory photograph of the farmhouse, we continued our journey following the beck. The path undulated wildly in places but gradually took us down towards Swaledale and the village of Keld- blink and you would miss it!

The Yorkshire Shepherdess’ Farmhouse

Sinking thankfully onto a picnic table in front of the only pub in the village we enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea as we awaited our lift. 12 more miles accomplished.

Day 10:   September 2021 
Today began cloudy but mild. A pleasant path over the Swale led us higher up towards the moors. This area was rife with lead mines, the first of which could be seen as we climbed steadily upwards. Passing behind Crackpot Hall (so name after pot or cave of the crows, not the inhabitants!) we were led up a delightful valley to Swinner Gill Lead mines. Here the remains of an industry now defunct were evident, buildings lying derelict with stones strewing the path. The thought of how the miners must have walked up from the valley every day in all weathers to work there amazed us.

Lead mine buildings

A sharp climb then led us out onto the moors, but a completely different scenery from those of yesterday. Heather was evident across the land and grouse were raised in that area. Dropping down past more lead mines to a beck led to the inevitable sharp climbs back up again. From here, for several miles, was the destruction of the landscape from mining. Building proliferated, all in poor condition, the land was ravaged and there were large areas where the peat had been dug up to provide power for the smelting process. It is a desolate landscape but a great reminder of the industrial revolution and how many men had to work.

Lead mining

We thankfully descended past all the chaos to Surrender bridge where we ate our lunch. All morning the wind had howled across the moor as we walked, making it difficult to fight against it as it tried to blow us off course. The bridge afforded us some welcome respite before we continued on across gentler terrain on our way into the small village of Reeth which is well worth a visit. Sitting in a local tea shop with a pot of tea we reflected on the 12 miles- the contrast of the moors from yesterday to today, the extensive mining that was evident and the howling wind we had had to cope with.

Author: Lynne Burge

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Days 7 & 8 Coast to Coast

Start of today’s walk

Coast to Coast continues with 4 Fearless Petersfield Ramblers

Day 7:   September 2021 
After three months’ rest, we are on the trail again. Four intrepid walkers from Petersfield, resuming their Coast to Coast walk where they left off in June.

A bright morning greeted us as we were chauffeured to the end of Hayeswater Reservoir to pick up the trail towards Shap. Delightful ancient woodland guided us away from the Lake district and up towards the moors. Rusty muscles sprang into life as we walked along an undulating path aiming for Shap Abbey. The paths were not marked for Coast-to-Coast walkers so maps were consulted, discussions held so that we could make sure we were going the right way.

Shap Abbey loomed into sight and gave us a time to sit, enjoy the view and have a snack. The Abbey was established in the 12th century but was closed in 1540 during the reign of Henry VIII. The ruins are showing their age with a huge crack down one of the walls.

Shap Abbey with visible crack

Suitable refreshed we continued on into Shap which was bypassed in 1970 by the advent of the M6. As we approached the motorway the noise was intrusive and it was not pleasant to walk across the footbridge to reach the other side. We sped away from the incessant noise as fast as we could, the peace resuming when we came across a large quarry. This is now filled with water with a large notice forbidding swimming. To be honest non of us were tempted to swim in such a barren place, if any of us were interested in getting wet we soon had our wish as it started to rain heavily. Wet weather gear safely donned we soon found a dryish spot under some trees where we had lunch. The rain passed over as we headed across the moors with no habitation in sight. Robin Hood’s grave is marked on the map, but the likelihood of it really being his resting place is in grave doubt.

Our greatest difficulty as we crossed the moor was navigation. Several large clumps of trees, clearly marked on the map made finding our route look easy. Except for one major problem. The trees had been cut down.  Thankfully there was still evidence of where they had been so eventually coming across the road we had been walking towards and headed down to Orton. A delightfully green valley led us downhill and the day was made complete as we neared the end of our walk by the sighting of a red squirrel crossing our path. Unfortunately, it was too fast for any of us to photograph.

Thirteen miles completed; a cup of tea awaited us in our B&Bs along with hot showers. Tomorrow is the next section.

Day 8
After a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast all were ready for the challenges of the day.  Map reading is becoming easier as we recognise how the moor areas are demarcated from the arable land, where the incredibly long and well made stone walls are indicated and which signs to look for as we cross large areas of moorland.

After a walk along a minor road we headed off across fields, always full of sheep, towards Sunbiggin Farm. Here there was a choice of ways depending upon weather conditions. As the sun was high in the sky we opted to tramp across the moors rather than take the road route. The moors are difficult to navigate in bad weather but the sky was clear and we found many signposts to aid us on our way.

A drink stop replenished our energy as we walked along part of the Dales High Way. Along the pathway we met a youngish, ex-army, man walking East to West on the path and aiming to accomplish it is as few days as possible. He informed us that he had walked over 30 miles for two days, and over 20 for another two days. All his kit, including tent, was on his back, he was raising money to help the many young people who were homeless. We were a little concerned as he seemed to be very tired and finding his way difficult. The mothering instinct in us wanted to tell him to pitch camp and have a rest but he – and we – continued on our respective ways.

Then followed seeming miles of stone walls to walk alongside, giving spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. The path dropped down steeply into a valley crossing a dismantled railway line and crossing a beck. Time for lunch. Refreshed we set off across the fells to pass Pillow Mounds, large formations known locally as Giants’ Graves, no one knows the real use or origin of them.

Once across Smardale Fell the last leg of the walk started- a gentle walk down towards Kirkby Stephen. It is always slightly uncomfortable walking across a large field full of cows and horses but none took any notice of us. Walking under the Settle to Carlisle railway the path continued across a series of fields. The peace and quiet was disturbed by 2 fighter jets practising flying up and down the valley several times before they flew off to disturb some other settlement. Eventually we were down in the town, off to our trust B&Bs, ready to put our feet up. Another 13 miles accomplished.

Author: Lynne Burge

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Annual Day Out

  • Ramblers Annual Day Out – 15 September 2021
  • Walk Leaders: Alan and Neville
  • Distance: 7½ miles or shorter
  • Start: Coach pick up Petersfield & Liss

We had a fabulous day on a coach trip to Lewes in Sussex for a day of walking and exploring the town. After collecting members from Liss and Petersfield, the coach headed south on the A3 and then the A27 in the direction of Lewes.  Before we got there, the longer walkers were dropped off in the village of Kingston for a 7 ½ mile walk, then the shorter walkers were dropped in Lewes for a 4-mile walk to the east of the town and over the golf course. 

We longer walkers briefly explored the 13th century church of St Pancras, a Grade II listed building in Kingston, before a tough climb to the top of the South Downs, which got us puffing a bit and needing a short rest and drink stop at the top. We then followed the South Downs Way with spectacular views, both inland and towards the sea. Just lovely – who needs to go abroad when we have such wonderful experiences here in the UK?

After descending from the Downs, we walked through the picturesque village of Rodmell and passed the National Trust Monks House, a 16th century weatherboard cottage which was once owned by Virginia Woolf and where she wrote some of her novels. We eventually came to the river Ouse on the flat plain below the hills with cattle and horses grazing, and followed it into Lewes. 

Monk’s House

Arriving in the town and after a short refreshment stop, we did some exploring of this ancient town which is a delight. Lewes was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and boasts a Castle, a Priory, a Wealden Hall known as Anne of Cleves House and many other things to explore. Because of time constraint we didn’t have time to visit all these places, but I made a note to re-visit one day and enjoy all these interesting properties.

Later we all gathered at the bus station where our coach was waiting to ferry us to a Brewers Fayre restaurant on the edge of Newhaven where we all enjoyed a very pleasant meal together.  We headed home, tired but happy, and grateful to our members Alan and Neville who created and orchestrated this wonderful day for us all to enjoy. Thank you.

Author: Sheila Gadd

Photos: Rosemary Field

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11 September 2021

  • Petersfield Ramblers walk with Ride and Stride: 11 September 2021
  • Walk Leader: Christine Tully
  • Distance: 8 -10 miles
  • Start: Beckham Lane CP: GR SU740 238

Ride and Stride takes place on the 2nd Saturday in September, so this year it took place on Sept 11th and in 2022 it will be on Sept 10th.  It is a sponsored fund-raising event organised by Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust (HIHCT), to contribute to the maintenance and repair of historic church buildings.  Many of these buildings are fighting a battle against the ravages of time.  With reducing amounts of public funding available, the task of maintenance and repair often falls on a small group of people, but such people can apply to the Trust for a grant towards the cost.  This helps to preserve an important part of the country’s heritage and supports the ongoing use of churches as centres of worship and community amenities.

Participants in Ride and Stride visit churches in the area, either by cycling or walking, (or even by car or public transport!).  Cycling is most popular as more churches can be visited in one day.  In the Petersfield area, cyclists took part from St Peter’s Petersfield, St Mary’s Buriton and the Petersfield United Reformed Church (URC).  However, several members of St Peter’s are members of Petersfield Ramblers.  Therefore, other members of the club are invited to join us to ramble our usual 8-10 miles, but visiting several churches en-route.

Christine at a rest stop

This year, the ramble, led by Christine Tully, started from Beckham Lane and followed footpaths to Tilmore Road and from there to Steep Church.  Here, we were warmly welcomed by Amanda who provided light refreshments.  We then walked to Ridge Common Lane and then took the footpath which climbed Ridge Hanger.  The most strenuous part of the walk was now over and we then followed lanes and footpaths to Froxfield.  We were again warmly welcomed at St Peter’s High Cross and we ate our lunch sitting on a bench in the churchyard.  Descending via Lythe Hanger, we made our way to Stroud Chapel, and then took the footpaths from Mellstock Farm back to Beckham Lane.  This ended the walk for the ramblers but Christine visited all the churches in Petersfield and enjoyed tea and cake at Petersfield URC, noted for its excellent hospitality on Ride and Stride days.

Spectacular views en-route

Author: Christine Tully

Photos: Rachel Nasif

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21 August 2021

  • From Upham, via Monarch’s Way to Owlesbury:  21 August 2021
  • Walk Leader: Val
  • Distance: 10 Miles
  • Start: 10am in churchyard in front of Church of the Blessed Mary, Church Street, Upham –  GR: SU539 206

The weather forecast early this morning was somewhat contrary, but happily in our favour.  Whist not exactly bathed in sunshine, apart from some half-hearted spits and spots the walk was completed in dry conditions. Perhaps because members were anticipating poor conditions, just a select few of us met at Upham – six in total not counting our canine walker who enthusiastically accompanied us.  Rupert is a six year old golden Labrador with impeccable manners and friendly approach to one and all – two or four legged.    


Our approximately 10 mile route began at the delightful little village of Upham and we set off along the quiet village road, past the church before turning onto Widlers Lane, where one of the cottages is adorned by three unusual spiral brick chimneys, and soon join the Monarch’s Way.  

I’m sure many of us have walked stretches of this long distance route in various parts of the country as it wends its 625 mile long route.  Starting in Worcester it follows King Charles II’s approximate escape route after he was defeated in the Battle of Worcester in 1651. From the Midlands via Bristol and Yeovil to Shoreham its end point is Shoreham by Sea in West Sussex (presumably he boarded a ship for France there?). We follow it in a pretty straight line heading north-west through wide arable fields, eventually reaching our first siting of Owslebury the last bit of walking through pastures passing a tranquil herd of cattle who happily were completely disinterested in us. 

Through the village we continue out into open countryside and a coffee stop overlooking a pretty valley beyond. 

Coffee stop

Joining a lane for a short stretch we pass a house which was formerly the Shearer’s Arms and, on a plaque, high under the eaves the date of 1859 intertwines with a pair of shears.  Another of many indicators of how important sheep farming has been over the centuries on the South Downs.

We strike off east along wide tracks, crossing a busy road eventually entering open broadleaved woodland where we bend around south and continue in and out of the woods.  On the edge of one wide field not yet harvested we sit and have our lunch before pressing on to Whiteflood Farmhouse once more crossing a busy road.  We’re now on the Allan King’s Way for a while.  This way-marked route is new to most of us – a 45mile footpath which runs from Portchester to Winchester via Bishops Waltham and passes by sites such as Portchester Castle, Fort Nelson and Bishops Waltham Palace.  It was created by the Hampshire Area of the Ramblers’ Association as a memorial to the late Allan King a former Publicity Officer who was partly responsible for the formation of a number of Groups in Hampshire.  Perhaps a route Petersfield Ramblers might consider tackling in sections of linear stages in the future.  It takes us up a fairly steep side of the Downs which make us puff, but is well worth the effort passing through swathes of delicate pale blue Harebells and many other wild flowers, turning to admire the view of the valley and slopes opposite before reaching the top at Woodlock’s Down Farm.  

Now we zig-zag our way south, mostly descending until we re-join the Monarch’s Way to re-trace our steps back into the village.

A really enjoyable ramble in typical Hampshire countryside on paths completely new to me and in an unfamiliar area, but one of our group recognises parts of the route and unsurprisingly Petersfield Ramblers have walked this way before!    


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18 August 2021

A big thank you to everyone who helped out at yesterday’s event in Flick’s wood. Special thank you to Flick for the lovely surroundings and the special blessing ceremony. We were both very moved by the words of the prayer and of our vows and also by Mike’s reading of the Apache Blessing. Special thank you to Anne for being chief chef for the evening. As usual her well-honed organisation skills were brilliant and we all enjoyed her tasty cooking. And a big thank you to all who came and shared our blessing and who supplied such lovely and varied food. It was a special evening and we feel really “blessed” to have such lovely friends to walk with and to share these events. Thank you finally to the weather for finally making it possible!!

With love

Hilary and Gordon

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11 August 2021

  • Centurion Way:   11 August 2021
  • Walk Leader: Rose
  • Distance: 9.7 Miles
  • Start: 10am at Avenue de Chartres CP GR: SU858044

Walking the Centurion Way to immerse ourselves in Chichester’s rich history 

On a pleasantly warm Wednesday morning fifteen members of Petersfield Ramblers met on Avenue de Chartres for a unique and interesting walk centred on the Centurion Way – and taking in the primary historical sights of Chichester. 

The Centurion Way is a 5 ½  mile path that runs between Chichester, Lavant and West Dean using the route of the dismantled Chichester to Midhurst Railway, which finally closed in 1991; although ceasing passenger services in 1935, the line stayed open for transport of sugar beet and gravel for a further 50+ years. The name, Centurion Way, was suggested by a local schoolboy and is based on the fact that the path crosses the course of a Roman road.  Sculptures relating to aspects of local history are provided as points of interest in association with the South East Arts Board.  

We started our walk with a ‘comfort stop’ given the nearness of good facilities (a rarity on our normal rural walks)! Refreshed, we set off up South Street, turning left through the 16th century stone gateway on to Canon Lane and into the cathedral’s charming historic quarter. A paved pathway lined by colourful borders took us to the cathedrals’ remarkable cloisters, from where we passed round the south-west entrance and on to West Street and affluent Westgate. After half a mile – at the entrance of Bishop Luffa School – we found the start of the Centurion Way, leading us north along a wide surfaced pathway, lined with trees and shared with cyclists.  

fter a mile and a half of easy walking, keeping the western extremities of Chichester housing hidden by greenery on our right, we emerged into an open area – the site of a former quarry. This area, called the Roman Amphitheatre, provided the perfect setting for our coffee stop with plenty of wooden benches. Within the Amphitheatre is the spot where the Roman road crosses the route, which is marked by a wonderful sculpture depicting an army of spade-wielding Roman workers called the Chichester Road Gang. The Gang – made from empty oxygen gas cylinders by Cornish sculptor David Kemp – includes a ganger with a bowler hat, workers with spades and a surveyor with a theodolite. It has been erected on the site of old wagon loading bays and offered a great photo opportunity.

Chichester Road Gang

No sooner had we set off, revitalised, than we encountered our fourth delightful brick bridge – decorated with animal cut-outs drawn by children from Lavant Primary School and reproduced in steel sheet by Richard Farrington. Our favourite character in the so-called Primary Hangers was the bat. 

The Centurion Way took us on to Lavant, through a quiet housing estate and back out into countryside. Shortly before its conclusion at West Dean, we veered off, effectively making a U-turn to take us back to Chichester. But, not wishing to retrace our steps, we joined a parallel pathway – the West Sussex Literary Trail – for our southward jaunt, following the largely-dry River Lavant. After a stop for lunch, we carried on into the north end of Chichester, through Oaklands Park to the exceptional Festival Theatre, when, at sight of the newly revamped Café on the Park, our Chairman’s wife exclaimed “Let’s stop for coffee and cake”, most of us happily agreed. We basked in comfortable outside seats, enjoying the warm sun and some delicious food and drinks. Indeed, a couple of members decadently chose afternoon beers! The posh theatre ‘facilities’ were also much appreciated! 

However, this fun day still wasn’t over! We couldn’t possibly finish without a traipse along the city walls: the most intact Roman walls in the South of England. The walls, as we see them today, date from the Romans in the 3rd century; they were built to defend the prosperous town against coastal raiders, and to protect its trade and status. A City Wall Trail runs for about 1.5 miles around the city, on top of or beside the largely intact walls. We joined the trail in the north, circling clockwise around Priory Park, with a great view across the busy parkland below, full of children, laughter and purple balloons. Continuing around we crossed East Street, regaining the walls in the south before breaking off down Theatre Lane and back to our cars. 

It was a lovely day out with something interesting and different around every corner – an easy 9.7 mile walk, full of history, culture, nature and excellent facilities. 

Written by Sandy & Rose                             

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31 July 2021

  • Betty Mundy’s Bottom:  31 July 2021
  • Walk Leader: Flick
  • Distance: 7.4 Miles
  • Start: Beacon Hill Beeches CP, GR: SU 598 228

9 intrepid walkers set off from Beaconhill Beeches, south along the South Downs Way turning right and going passed a real beacon on the hillside which was lit for the Queen’s diamond jubilee. We walked on down the slope through lush green fields, across 5 stiles, passing fellow walkers coming up the hill. 

Exton Beacon, in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee

All around us we had wonderful views of the Meon valley and in the far distance the Solent and Isle of Wight. We gradually descended into the village of Exton enjoying smart, expensive country houses, turning right and passing a relatively new vineyard and the Exton Stud. Needing sustenance, we stopped for coffee and a comfort break before ascending an uphill terrain of very loose stones to Warner’s Cottage, now a very expensive large house and garden.

We crossed over the lane and walked along the edge of a field with a crop none of us could identify, into Preshaw Wood Estate with very clear signs for the footpath. We crossed over another lane into a beautiful walnut orchard wondering how long before the first walnuts would be edible. Turning right onto Wayfarers Way and so on to Betty Mundy’s Cottage, now a very large country house, a landscaped garden with statues, tennis courts and stables.

There are a variety of tales about the name which goes back centuries. One theory is that it is from the Latin beati mundane, meaning the most beautiful place in the world. Another has it that Betty Mundy lived in the cottage and that she would waylay discharged sailors walking along the Sailor’s Lane, murdering them for their wages or leading them to a press gang. Other stories are that she was a witch or fairy who would curse or trick people. 

In 1941 there was building work to renovate the 2 cottages owned by Major Pelly. In 2012 a substantial country house known as Mundy’s House was rebuilt there.
We then stopped on the edge of a huge field enjoying the views and the wild flowers and butterflies whilst we ate our lunch.

Later we continued our walk through a small wood with ash die back, trees newly felled, through a large field and uphill gently to Lomer Farm and back onto the South Downs Way passing on the right what had once been a medieval village and so back to our parked cars.

 A beautiful walk in hot sunshine.


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