Kingley Vale (Chichester) walk
A forest of ancient Yew trees, Devil's Humps (Bronze age burial mounds), chalk downland, and a steep climb to a viewpoint
|Start||Kingley Vale (West Stoke) car park, PO18 9BE|
4.5 miles (7.25 km) with 600 ft (180 meters) of ascent
By Car (be careful of leaving valuables on display in the car park).
Chichester bus #54 (every 2 hours) stops eabout 1km away by the Horse and Groom pub in East Ashling. Its a road walk however.
This is a lovely short but vigourous walk to Kingley Vale Nature Reserve, with its grove of ancient Harry Potter-esk yew trees set in chalk downland. Above the vale is Bow Hill, with its Devil's Humps (3 bronze age burial mounds). Its also has views over Chichester harbour. A little further along the ridge is Goosehill Camp (iron age).
Traditionally found in churchyards, Yew Trees are amongst the oldest living things in the country, they can live for over 500 years, and possibly, much longer. This is the largest remaining Yew Tree wood in the country - most were used for longbows in the middle ages. Ancient Yew Trees have a gnarled appearance - being able to spl;t without rotting, and split off new shoots even from old wood, contributes to their longevity. If you have tree allergies, note that Yew pollen, released in the spring, is very allegenic.
Its about 1km flat walk over open downland from the car park. Entering the nature reserve, you enter a Yew tree wood set in a bowel, with hills on 3 sides. You wind your way threw the trees to the top of the hill which is a little steep towards the end.
There's an optional detour north along the ridge to Goosehill Camp (about 2km returna. There's a trig point among the trees.
On top of the hill are the humps (burial mounds), and views to the north and south.
From here, You wind your way back down through the forest on the opposite side of the bowel. Almost parallel to this path, but just outside the nature reseve is a wide track if you prefer open views.
You can save 1 km by missing out the summit, you can add 2 km by continuing north to Goosehill Camp and back
The Stoughton car park ( PO18 9JG ) is closer to the summit, but not convinient for the Yew Trees which are on the other side of the hill from it
Kingley Vale NNR - links to the current leaflet (pdf)
Several nearby country pubs including...
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone. OpenStreetMap (not OS) mapping is used in the PDF for licence reasons.
- If starting from the Horse and Groom bus stop, go north for 1km along a road (signposted nature reserve)
- From the car park, follow the clearly signed track north for 1km to the nature reserve
- Enter the reserve and follow the waymarked nature trail into the trees
- At the the start of the steep hill (a shorcut), go back into the trees to your righ, to slowely ascend the right hand hill
- At the top, leave the nature trail to visit the summit.
- At this point, you could continue north along the ridge
- Come back to it, continue along the ridge to the burial mounds
- Re-enter the forest through a gate (just after the mounds - don't follow the wide track)
- Continue through the forest back down to the bottom, and return to your car
- Continue along the ridge... then retrace your steps
- You could frop down to the left (west) to 1 of the pubs in Stoughton