Knepp Wildlands

13-Oct-18 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Wild Exmoor ponies, Knepp Wildlands

13-Oct-18 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Shipley windmill

13-Feb-17 • andympoole11 on Flickr

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Knepp Castle

13-Feb-17 • andympoole11 on Flickr

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Old English Longhorn cattle

13-Feb-17 • andympoole11 on Flickr

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Pond and Roe deer from lookout

13-Feb-17 • andympoole11 on Flickr

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Blue Idol (Quaker) House

13-Feb-17 • andympoole11 on Flickr

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Christs Hospital to Billingshurst via Knepp Castle walk

Long flat walk with an emphasis on fauna in a re-wilding area, and passing several historic buildings.


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Fri, 07-Dec-18

Date # Post
Sat, 13-Oct-18 16

Saturday Walk A Safari in Sussex at the Knepp Castle Re-wilding Project

SWC Walk 283: Christ’s Hospital to Billingshurst T=SWC.283

Distance: 16.9 Miles or 27.1 km for those more metrically minded (with shorter bus options available)

Difficulty: 4.5 out of 10

Train: Take the 8:46 AM Portsmouth Harbour train from London Victoria (stopping at Clapham Junction at 8:53 and East Croydon at 9:03), arriving at Christ’s Hospital at 9:49. Return trains from Billingshurst are at 28 and 57 past the hour until 22:28. Buy a day return to Billingshurst.

This walk has only ever had one Sunday outing which was well received. It very interestingly spends about 6 kilometers exploring a 10-year old re-wilding project taking place a Knepp Castle, featuring Old English Longhorn Cattle, Tamworth Pigs, Fallow Deer and Exmoor Ponies (unfortunately, no native elephants or giraffes…) As an added bonus at this time of year, we may be lucky enough to see some deer rutting taking place…..Although long, the route is more or less flat, so probably not as challenging as you may think just looking at the numbers…..You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

The recommended lunch spot is the Crown Inn (01403 710 902) in Dial Post (what a name!) (8.9 miles/14.3 km into the walk), food served until 2:00pm. Tea and other post walk refreshments can be had at the Railway Inn across from Billingshurst Station.

Enjoy the walk!

I want to see the Knepp Wildlands but not walk 16 miles. There is an option for a 10.5 mile walk with a bus to Horsham and an earlier lunch stop. Is anyone interested?
If only 10 miles, surely one can start an hour later are you up for this? That is the swing factor for me to join you.
would like 10 mile walk but what time would you start? 8.46 or 9.46am?
I take your point about the later start, but if I go on the 8.46 at least I get to socialise with my friends in the rest of the group on the way down. If I take the latter train I am relying on two anonymous people deciding to turn out, who may not...
Definitely up for the 10.5 mile option with earlier 08.46 train
and see Knepp Wildlands don't mind an earlier lunch stop
Hi, I went on the previous Sunday outing (albeit it was the Sunday before the August bank holiday) and don't remember the full walk finishing too late, even though we dallied to observe magnificent beasts gathering by a watering hole and I don't mean the pub at the end. Anyway it's highly recommended.
To walker, are you planning to walk from Christ Hospital to George and Dragon at Dragons Green for lunch (5.2miles), then to Knepp Castle? Where do you plan to take the bus to Horsham? In addition, if you take early train, you will arrive at the pub prob at 12pm or even before. A later train seems a better option. The Crown Inn would make the morning too long 8.9 miles in a 10.5 miles walk
Lunch at the pub at Dragon's Green, yes. Arriving there about midday, yes, which does not seem too tragic. Easier to get a table, faster to get served. A 2.5 mile an hour pace suites me fine. The bus location is described in the walk directions I intended to do the slightly longer route via the Dial Post pub. The bus is hourly, more or less on the hour at 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm also 6.30pm and 7.30pm and it goes to Horsham.

I would like to get the 8.46 train in the morning for the reason already explained. If others want to get the 9.46, don't let me stop you. I was just pointing out what I am going to do and inviting anyone who wants to join me.
A few of us will be taking 9:46am train from Victoria and doing a short cut about 10 miles with lunch at Dragons Green (~5miles into the walk) and catching bus # 23 at Perryland Farm near the Crown In at Dial Post (4:02pm, 5:02pm, 5:59pm)to Horsham. Buy a day return to Christ's Hospital. All welcome to join us.
Just to say, I may not be on the walk after all. I have been in the gluey phase of a cold since Tuesday and it shows no signs of letting go. I hope those who take the 9.46 train have a good day.
Anyone who went on this walk (or regrets missing it) should listen to Radio 4's Today program, which had a long report about Knepp and re wilding this morning (0810 0826). Stargazer chose an opportune day to post this walk!
7 walkers took the later train. warm with sunny intervals. Good pace in the morning, except in one field where we were greeted by a large hurd of cattles in our path, then they started to run back and forth, thank to our cattle protection officer, we managed to across the field in one piece. Arrived at George & Dragon at 12:30, only to learn the pub was fully booked by the classic car club, absolutely no food will be served before 2pm. No despire, off we went to Countryman, near Shipley (only about 1 mile or so on the country lane but off the main path). We lost 1 walker By then. Nice lunch at Countryman with huge portion for starters. Another short cut on the country lane after lunch to join the official route. Soon we entered Knepp Safari park, the ‘highlight’ of the walk, but safari appeared to have gone vegan. We only saw two deers in the distance, swans and ducks on the lakes, but no farm animals....After a quick visit to Knepp Castle, we decided to call it a day, caught 4:06 bus to Horsham. Drinks at the atmospheric Black Jug 5 mins from the train station, then caught 17:30 train back to London.
Four of us visited Mr Tiger who has been well looked after by the hospital staff and more importantly has kept his humour and sharp wit. We hope he will be back to full health soon.

7 early risers emerged on the platform at Christ's Hospital with 1 more who missed the train catching us as we were leaving the lunch pub (using some creative means), making for 8 early risers, together with I understand to be 8 on the later train, making for a total of 16 on this very interesting Sussex Safari under warm savannah skies. One more doing a separate circuit (not included on the official count) also joined the early risers at the lunch pub. I believe the early risers managed to tick off the "Big Four of Sussex" Tamworth Pigs, Long Horn Cattle, Ponies and Fallow Deer. This is a very interesting walk which I would recommend again even outside the rewilding project, there is a sense of wildness with the lovely South Downs always in the distance. Also, seeing the pigs and cattle wandering about doing their own thing is really very special...Lacking a mid afternoon refreshment stop, 4 of the long walkers enjoyed a brief break on a bench at the Quaker House before the final push into Billingshurst for refreshing bevies before catching the 18:28...Would be interesting to hear how the late starters enjoyed their day....
I see our reports crossed last, the correct figure is 15 for the combined long and short versions of the walk. Sorry to hear the late starters did not see many critters...maybe all the short cuts bypassed them.....
Sun, 27-Aug-17 11

Christs Hospital to Billingshurst [New Walk]

Christs Hospital to Billingshurst
27.1 km (16.9 miles)
Difficulty 4 or 5 out of 10
A long (but flat) new walk visiting the estate of Knepp Castle where a re-wilding project is into its 10th year. Expect to see Old English longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs, Exmoor ponies, fallow and roe deer, and, if you're really lucky, maybe even a purple emperor. The walk also offers views of historic buildings (Shipley Windmill, Knepp Castle, as well as a listed farmhouse and an old Quaker Meeting House associated with William Penn).
Trains Get the 9.02 Bognor Regis train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 9:09, East Croydon 9:23) arriving Christs Hospital 10.09.
Return trains from Billingshurst at xx:33. Get a return to Billingshurst.
Lunch The Crown Inn, Dial Post (01403 710902) after 14.3 km (8.9 miles). A 16th century inn on the village green with fare ranging from sandwiches through to venison from the re-wilding project. Food is served till 2.30 and the pub closes at 4.
Tea The Railway Inn opposite the station.
Directions: here
Options: There are shorter options involving the 23 bus to or from Horsham (see text). These inevitably miss out some of the walk's highlights and the bus is 2-hourly (approx) on Sundays.
  • Here are the times for the 10.8 mile (Knepp Castle to Billingshurst) version [Get the 10:25 train to Horsham from Victoria arriving there 11:47. Then the 23 bus from stop L at 12:04 (direction Worthing), alighting at the "Partridge Green turn" at 12:32. From there, using the alternative start (Partridge Green bus stop to Knepp Castle), you would get to the The Crown Inn for about 13:40.] 10.8 miles is the total length to Billingshurst from the bus stop (see comment below) .
  • The versions heading back to Horsham (from Knepp Castle or Dial Post) would need careful timing to meet the infrequent bus at Partridge Green (13:58, 16:08 and 18:08 direction Crawley). Trains leave Horsham at xx:00 and xx:44. I'll let you work the rest out.
I know the pub and it can get busy with diners so will reserve a table. If anyone else intends to dine then add a post and I'll book an appropriate sized table
The shorter version appears to be longer than the original. Can you clarify.
Hi, very much looking forward to my first walk with the group. Linn
The shorter route of 10.8 miles includes 0.7 miles from the bus stop to joining the route and the 10.1 miles remaining (16.9 6.8), although does not include the recommended short diversion to view the new castle itself
Thanks jfk and Andy.
Ive tweaked the wording slightly to make it clearer
Nine of us on the train, another two materialised for a late lunch at the Dial Post (and expressing some derision for the time we'd taken to get there) making 11 in all for a beautiful walk, full of interest especially in the rewilding area. The viewing platform over a pond populated by fallow deer, cattle, a heron and wold pigs had a Jungle Book feel in the beautiful sunshine. I didn't partake of the pub lunch but everyone must have been served efficiently considering we didn't get there till 2. A couple of people managed to down a quick beer at the Railway Inn, Billingshurst before the 1833 train. Many thanks to Andy for putting this walk together, a great day out.
That's wild pigs obviously, not a new species!