Halnaker to Chichester or West Dean: Scenic steep chalk downlands around the Upper Lavant Valley, Cass Sculpture Park, the Goodwood Estate, and unrivalled views from St. Roche's Hill
Length: 22.9 km (14.2 mi) [shorter and longer options available, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 498/524 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours
Toughness: 7 out of 10 (with several steep ascents around lunch, so may feel tougher than that)
09.06 Portsmouth Harbour train from Victoria (CJ 09.13, EC 09.23), arrives Chichester 10.37 [train splits at Horsham]. Then take the Number 55 bus at 10.45 at the Bus Station (direction Tangmere, usually from Stand 6), arrives Halnaker Crossroads 11.05. The bus runs every 20 minutes, should the train be late. The pdf lists nearby cafés to while away the wait.
Return trains are on xx.09 and xx.39 (92 minutes journey time). Buy a Chichester return.
This West Sussex walk involves a bus connection on the way out. Its main purpose is to explore the scenic steep chalk downlands well north of Chichester around the Upper Lavant Valley, between St. Roche’s Hill and the South Downs chain, while enabling a visit to Cass Foundation’s Sculpture Park
(ticketed entry, on a >4 km extension) in the morning, and passing through the Goodwood estate as well as through Chichester’s Old Town at the end. The lonely grassy or wooded hillsides of the beautiful Lavant Valley are dissected by quiet flat-bottomed valleys, and feature several pretty villages, as well as providing for stunning views.
Most of the climbing is done between the lunch pubs, but the longest ascent comes straight after the late lunch option, up to St. Roche’s Hill, from whose treeless summit you have some of the best views of any SWC walk.
Out-and-backs at the start to Halnaker Hill (and its windmill) or Boxgrove Priory add 5.1 and 2.6 km respectively.
An extension to Cass Sculpture Park adds about 4.4 km and 109/112m ascent/descent, depending on your exact route through the park. Budget 2 hours out and back. This is doable in combination with the full walk and that extended walk would be rated 10/10.
A shortcut around lunch reduces the length of the walk by 3.6 km and the ascent by 167m (rated 5/10).
Another shortcut around lunch reduces the length of the walk by 800m and the ascent by 93m (rated 6/10).
An Alternative Ending in West Dean cuts out 6.5 km (rated 6/10).
A Cass Sculpture Park only-walk, returning to Halnaker for the bus to Chichester, would be 8.1 km long. This can be combined with one or other or both of the following out and backs for a full walk:
An infrequent bus service (number 99) runs past the early lunch stops in East Dean and Charlton. You need to phone ahead to book a stop though (01903-264 776)!
A half-hourly bus service runs from Singleton, West Dean and Lavant to Chichester.
A half-hourly bus service from the fringes of Chichester cuts 2.5 km at the end.
On the full walk the scheduled lunch stop
is The Partridge Inn
(11.4 km/7.1 mi, food all day), just before the ascent to the highest point of the walk: St. Roche’s Hill. There’s also the Star and Garter
in East Dean
, but that comes a bit early (5.6 km/3.6 mi, food to 14.30), unless you fit in the Sculpture Park beforehand.
Tea: Chichester has lots of commendable drinkeries and eateries. For details check page 2 of the pdf.
, route map
, height profile
, walk directions
and gpx/kml files