Length: 26.0 km (16.1 mi) [shorter walk possible]
Ascent/Descent: 439/422m; Net Walking Time: ca. 6 ¼ hours
Toughness: 8 out of 10
Take the 09.06 Portsmouth Harbour & Bognor Regis train from Victoria, arriving Pulborough at 10.17 (you have to be in the rear part of the train, as it splits in Horsham)
Return trains: xx.23 and xx.55 to 18.23, then 19.05, 19.35, 19.59, 20.36, 21.36, 22.38, 23.08.
Buy a Pulborough Return.
This walk is a winding excursion through the Rother and Lod valleys in central West Sussex, routing through various quaint, remote villages, some atmospheric woods and several fine commons, part-wooded, part sandy heathland. Frequent southerly views of the South Downs and of Black Down to the north and long stretches in deep, shady holloways add to the mix, making this a very varied outing.
After leaving Pulborough on a westerly route familiar from other walks, past the picturesque Stopham Bridge and church and on to Littleworth Common, the walk leads in a southerly direction through the Rother valley and picks up the Serpent Trail Long Distance Path up to the idyllic Sutton Common heathland and various woods to Burton Park, a large estate with multiple ponds in a fold of the South Downs.
Leaving the Serpent Trail, the two recommended lunch options are back in the Rother valley, in Coultershaw Bridge and Tillington, and in the afternoon the route rises to Upperton and Hoe Hill, in between dropping into the Lod Valley through woods and fields. The finish is a descent back to the Lod River at Halfway Bridge, where another well-run pub helps whiling away the wait for the bus back to Pulborough.
Note: The route off Hoe Hill includes a precipitous descent down a very narrow and slippery gully.
A Morning Shortcut cuts out Sutton Common heathland (cuts 1.2 km and 48m ascent).
An Afternoon Shortcut cuts out several woods and the last sharp ascents around Hoe Hill by taking a much more direct route through the Lod valley (cuts 4.4 km and 135m ascent). Rated 7/10.
Note: Both Shortcuts are currently only available map-led.
After the walk you will need to catch a bus line 1 (Midhurst – Worthing via Pulborough Station) from Halfway Bridge. Convenient stops for further shortcuts are: Tillington (late lunch stop) and Petworth (reached shortly after lunch via an alternative route through Petworth Park). The bus leaves Midhurst hourly on xx.30, then 17.40 and 18.45 and passes Halfway Bridge a few minutes later, Tillington 8 and Petworth 15 later resp.
in Coultershaw Bridge
(13.0 km/8.1 mi, food to 14.30);
Petworth Ending: Audit Room Café
at Petworth House
(NT); Plenty of options
For walk directions
, height profile
and gpx/kml files