Iping and Stedham

  • Date: 25 May 2024
  • Walk Leaders: Jenny Broadhead and Val Wood
  • Distance: 10 miles (approx.)

Iping – Stedham – Chithurst

Jenny planned this route and when we walked it out a few weeks ago, we were still in the grip of what has been an exceptionally wet and chilly spring.  Happily, on Saturday the weather was superb giving us warm, sunny conditions showing off the glorious countryside at its best.

Thirteen ramblers met at Iping Common CP for this 10 mile route, and we headed east parallel to the busy A272.  Crossing the road carefully, we soon left its noise behind heading north across open pasture to reach Stedham village, then Stedham Hall and Mill, both looking as impressive as ever.

Many of the native wildflowers looked at their best, along with beautiful old village houses and cottages, with or without climbing roses, in Stedham and Iping.

Below could be Monet’s garden at Giverny, but where are the water lilies?

At Woodgate Farm, we give a wide berth to the “Great Bovine Escapers”: mothers and calves, clearly feeling very pleased with themselves as they munched forbidden pastures new. 

Within minutes we met the farmer in his farm vehicle on his way to round them up and return to the secure pasture below. Known as British Whites, this is a an old established breed, related to the horned White Park Cattle.  They are good as dairy or beef cattle.

The White Lupin Crop growing low to the ground.

There are currently three species of the lupin (Lupinus) family available in the UK, the white lupin (L. albus), the narrow leaved or blue lupin (L. angustifolius) and the yellow lupin (L. luteus). White lupins are more tolerant of alkaline soil conditions in the UK and are used for naturally improving the ground for grain production.   

Below, the recently erected rustic and strong “Stairs Style”, a great improvement replacing a poor structure which was climbed with difficulty and much care.

Impressive tall and important looking chimneys on a very modest farm building at Woolhouse Farm where we also passed what appeared to be an original Shepherd’s Hut, long since abandoned, and in need of some TLC.

Our route took us through delightful varied countryside – plenty of woodland and wide open spaces.

St Mary’s Church, Iping – with a well-earned break for weary feet.

Walking along the permissive path through the Hammer woodland of Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, enjoying the peace and tranquillity of this space, we noted the many woodland shrines.  About halfway along we stopped in a glade for lunch.

Hammer Wood lies next to a large hammer pond which was used to provide power for iron working in the seventeenth century. The pond was made by damming the southward flowing Hammer stream.

Finally, our fascinating circuit almost complete, we re-crossed the A272 and re-joined the car park from the western side of the common. 

All agreed – a delightful day.

Author: Val Wood

Photographer: Sandy Arpino

Additional photography by Claire Anderson and Dulcia Furber

With thanks to Dr Google for some of the points of information.

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