Pulborough to Petworth walk
Across the Arun valley and Greensand Hills to an attractive town with one of the National Trust's finest properties.
Main Walk: 15½ to 19 km (9.6 to 11.8 miles). Up to four hours 45 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, buses, sights and meals, allow at least 11 hours.
Circular Walk, omitting Petworth Park: 23¾ km (14.8 miles). Five hours 50 minutes walking time.
Long Circular Walk, including Petworth Park: 26¼+ km (16.3+ miles). At least six hours 30 minutes walking time.
Explorers OL10, OL33 & OL34 (previously 121, 133 & 134). Pulborough, map reference TQ043186, is in West Sussex, 18 km SW of Horsham.
6 out of 10 (7 for the Circular Walk, 8 for the Long Circular Walk).
Petworth House is one of the National Trust's finest properties but it is not easy to visit without a car. The idea here is that you can do a three-hour walk to the town and spend the afternoon visiting the house or exploring the deer park, then catch a bus back to Pulborough.
The present mansion was built in the 1690s and contains the National Trust's finest art collection, including paintings by Turner, van Dyck, Reynolds and Blake, elaborate carvings by Grinling Gibbons and many classical sculptures. The House is open daily except for a few days at Christmas; admission for non-NT members is £14.40 (2019).
There is no charge to enter Petworth Park, landscaped by Lancelot “Capability” Brown in the 1750s and widely acknowledged to be one of his finest creations. Seen from the house, the gradual transition from the parkland with its lakes and clumps of trees to the woods in the distance looks entirely natural but required an immense project to achieve. It is open all year round from 8am to dusk.
Petworth Cottage Museum at 346 High Street is a Leconfield Estate worker's cottage restored and furnished as it might have been in about 1910. It is open Tue–Sat afternoons and Bank Holiday Mondays from April to October; admission is £5 (2019).
Petworth is of course the highlight of the walk but the route from Pulborough across the Wealden Greensand is not without interest. You start by heading north across some low hills where you might see racehorses being put through their paces, and continue under the gaze of a tall brick folly, the Toat Monument. The route then heads west to cross the River Arun at Pallingham, where it was once joined by the Arun Navigation. The Wey & Arun Canal Trust are gradually restoring this and the canal which linked it to the River Wey at Shalford – an important transport link between London and the South Coast in the 19thC – but a glance at the abandoned waterway will show you the scale of their task.
The rest of the morning section is on potentially muddy paths across wooded hills, interspersed with more open sections giving views of the South Downs and the High Weald. Eventually you emerge on a hillside with a dramatic view of Petworth across an open valley. After lunch in the town you can do as much or as little walking around Petworth Park as you wish: some routes are suggested but you can of course wander freely around this deer park.
For a longer outing you can complete a Circular Walk back to Pulborough on a more southerly route between the A283 and the Rother valley, with views of the South Downs along the way. This is a mixed landscape of farmland and wooded commons, with Hesworth Common being particularly attractive. The route passes two fine old churches at Fittleworth and Stopham, and crosses back over the River Arun on the medieval Stopham Bridge. The final 4 km is the same as the Amberley to Pulborough walk (#39).
If you want to shorten this option you could take the bus to or from Fittleworth or Stopham, where the afternoon route meets the A283 (see Transport below).
There is a half-hourly service from Victoria to Pulborough (hourly on Sundays), taking 1 hour 15 minutes.
There is no station in Petworth but a direct bus route along the A283 to Pulborough station: Stagecoach 1 runs hourly (Mon–Sat) and two-hourly (Sun & BH) up to about 7pm.
If driving, the station car park at Pulborough costs £6 Mon–Fri, £5.95 Sat, £2.25 Sun & BH (2020).
Take the train nearest to 09:20 from Victoria to Pulborough.
There are no refreshment places on the walk route until you reach Petworth (after 12 km), which has two pubs near the town centre. The Angel Inn (01798-344445) has a fairly up-market menu; The Star (01798-368114) has a patio area on Market Square and serves traditional pub food to 2.30pm Mon–Fri, all day at weekends. Some of the cafés and tearooms in the town (like Tiffins: see below) also do light lunches.
If you are visiting Petworth House you could have lunch in its Audit Room Café and/or tea in its Servants' Hall Coffee Shop, which are open until 5pm (earlier in winter).
If you want some refreshment after walking around Petworth Park there are several tea places in the town, including The Hungry Guest café (01798-344564; open to 5.30pm Mon–Sat, 4pm Sun) at the bottom of Lombard Street and Tiffins Tearoom (01798-344560; open to 5pm Wed–Sat, 4pm Sun; closed Mon & Tue) on the High Street.
The suggested place to stop for refreshment on the Circular Walk is the White Hart (01798-874903) at Stopham Bridge, a picturesque spot by the River Arun 2¼ km before the finish. There are only some fast food shops near the station itself, although the taxi office has been known to sell hot drinks and snacks. The nearest place in the town centre is a Thai Restaurant & Bar, River Moon (01798-874141).
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
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.
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- Main Walk (15½ to 19 km)
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- Turn left out of the station and take the footpath on the other side of a chainlink fence up to a lane. Turn left to cross the railway and bear right onto a track heading north past Old Place. Go across fields and The Gallops to Hill Farm Lane.
- After leaving the station building, do not go down to the main road but instead turn left. Head briefly towards the main car park but almost immediately veer right by a small bicycle shelter to get onto a public footpath on the other side of a chainlink fence, with the car park on your left and a service road to an industrial estate on your right.
- In 300m this footpath comes out onto a minor road and you turn left, crossing over the railway. In 75m, where the lane curves round to the left, bear right to head N on a track past an attractive stone house, Old Place. You soon go past an old mill pond (opposite the converted mill, now a cottage) and looking back to your right you can see another imposing house behind the pond, Old Place Manor?.
- After passing the buildings at Middle Barn Farm keep right as indicated. Where the track curves right, go through a wooden kissing gate to continue in the same direction on a grassy track between hedges, then along the left-hand side of a large field. Follow the FOOTPATH ↔ sign through a wooden kissing gate and onwards between more large farm fields, with a wire fence on your right.
- At the far end keep ahead across The Gallops?, taking heed of the warning notices about racehorses. The well-signposted right of way takes you through a series of gaps in hedges towards some farm buildings. Keep ahead through the farmyard, passing a landscaped quarry down on your left. You come out onto a lane (Hill Farm Lane) with a distant view of the Toat Monument? ahead on the horizon, 1¼ km away.
- Turn left briefly onto the lane and then right onto a footpath. Go past Littlehill Copse and then head west to join the Wey-South Path at Coombelands Lane. Head north and west on this path to reach the River Arun at Pallingham.
Turn left onto the lane, heading W. In 100m go over a stile on the right onto a footpath going steeply downhill through trees, then along a grassy track between hedges. The track ends at a three-way footpath signpost in front of a hedge, where you turn left.
The right of way is through a wooden gate onto a narrow and potentially overgrown path between the hedge and a wire fence, but it is evident that some walkers prefer an easier path along the field edge; in the field corner there is a gap in the fence where you could join the enclosed footpath.
- Continue in the same direction along the right-hand edge of a second large field. At the far end go through a gate in a hedge and up a short fenced path towards some houses. Go through another gate and turn left as directed to go around two sides of a small field. In the top corner go through a wooden gate, bear left across a gravel drive and go over a stile onto a lane (Coombelands Lane).
- Turn right onto this lane, joining the Wey-South Path? (WSP). Follow the lane for 500m, gently downhill at first and eventually crossing a stream in a dip. After a short climb the lane comes to Pickhurst Farm.
Turn left onto a tarmac driveway going past the left-hand side of the farmhouse, signposted as a bridleway. In 400m turn right in front of the gates to Sheepwash Farm. In 150m you come to a Y-junction: the left-hand fork is a private drive to Lock Cottage but the other track and the stile between them are both rights of way.
The main route stays on the WSP. The alternative route in [?] is slightly shorter but it crosses a water meadow which could be boggy in wet weather.
- Take the right-hand track. In 300m, after passing some derelict farm buildings, follow the track round to the left at a junction.
- In a belt of trees the track crosses the abandoned Arun Navigation? on the hump-backed Pallingham Bridge?. Continue along a fenced track between water meadows, in 100m passing a stile on the left (the alternative route).
- Go over the stile onto a mown grassy path through a meadow. After passing Lock Cottage the path turns left down a slope, at the bottom of which a short boardwalk takes you across the abandoned Arun Navigation? into the corner of a water meadow.
- Turn right and aim for the middle of the far side, 200m away. Go over a stile in the wooden fence and turn left onto a fenced track.
- Cross the River Arun? on a footbridge and then a backwater on a more substantial brick and stone bridge. Go up to a broad track, with a new development at Pallingham Quay Farm on your left.
- Take the footpath heading west past Pallingham Quay Farm, which goes around a large field. Go through a copse to join a bridleway heading south. At the top of a hill turn right to head west past Springs Farm to Bedham Lane.
- Assuming the right of way has not been diverted by the new development, leave the WSP by crossing the track (slightly to the left) into the corner of a field. Go up its left-hand edge alongside a ditch for 50m, then cross it on a plank bridge to continue in the same direction on the other side. At a waymarker post in front of a pole carrying overhead cables go across a driveway and a dirt track used for exercising horses into a very large field.
- Veer right to go around the long field edge, initially heading W and gradually curving round to the left. Ignore turnings into the wood on your right (including a public footpath after 500m), but in the field corner 50m further on go over a stile onto a woodland path, heading S.
- Keep ahead where the footpath crosses a woodland track, then go over an old stile and turn left onto a bridleway. Follow this uphill in a slow curve round to the right, soon passing the attractive Lane End Cottage on your right. 200m past the cottage, turn right at a three-way signpost and go through a metal fieldgate into the corner of a large field.
- Keep ahead along the field edge, heading W and soon with views of the South Downs on your left. In the next corner go through a side gate into the top corner of a long narrow field, sloping down to the left. Follow a grassy path slightly left down the slope to the opposite field edge, then up the slope on that side of the field.
- Keep ahead past a fenced-off area to the top corner and go over a stile onto a farm track, with Springs Farm off to your right. Ignore a footpath into the wood on your left and go along the track for 400m to a minor road (Bedham Lane).
- Turn left briefly onto Bedham Lane and take the footpath heading south-west through a wood. Turn right at a path junction to head west, eventually passing a huge sand pit at Bognor Common. Turn right onto a lane going down towards Riverhill, then take a footpath going north-west near the edge of the wooded Flexham Park. Turn left onto a bridleway to meet Kingspit Lane at its junction with Riverhill Lane.
- Turn left briefly onto Bedham Lane. Immediately after the driveway to Warren Barn go over a stile on the right into a wood, heading SW. In less than 50m keep ahead at a three-way footpath signpost, then in a further 200m turn right at a second signpost. In 25m bear left to go down across a small valley, passing a pond at the bottom and climbing up the other side alongside an old stone wall.
- At the top keep ahead along a grassy track between some new woodland and a hedge, heading W. In 200m the track goes into a wood where you immediately bear right onto a narrow woodland path, as indicated by a footpath signpost. At the end of the wood go over a stile into a field and continue along its edge towards another wood, still heading W.
- On the far side go over a stile in a wire fence and take the path half-left into the wood. In 200m continue on the broad track ahead (slightly to the right) at a four-way footpath signpost in a clearing. Follow this track for 500m, crossing some wide access tracks into a huge sand pit (Bognor Common Quarry) behind the belt of trees on your right.
- At the far end turn right onto a lane going steeply downhill, ignoring a signposted footpath opposite. At the bottom ignore another footpath on the right, cross a stream and go uphill. Where the lane makes a hairpin turn to the left, bear right at a footpath signpost onto a broad track into a wood.
- In 100m, where the main track curves down towards some houses, bear left onto a woodland path climbing gently and heading NW. In 350m keep ahead at an oblique path crossing, but at the next crossing 250m later turn left onto a broad track, marked as a bridleway. Follow this uphill for 100m to come out at a road junction, with a minor road on the left (Riverhill Lane) joining Kingspit Lane on a bend.
Head west into the wooded Brinkshole Heath and cut through it to a footpath running along its southern edge. Follow this footpath out of the wood, over a small hill and into Shimmings valley. Take the left-hand of two footpaths going up the other side of the valley, leading along the A283 to Market Square in the town centre. Go up Lombard Street to St Mary's church and Petworth House.
- Go straight ahead across Riverhill Lane and briefly join Kingspit Lane, heading W. Before the road bends left and starts to go downhill, cross over carefully and take a potentially muddy track into a wood, still heading W and with farm fields behind the trees on your right. In 200m ignore a driveway on the left opposite Montpelier Farmhouse, but 75m later fork left onto a track.
- Go straight on at path crossings for the next 400m, until you come to a T-junction with a wider track. Bear left briefly onto this track. Ignore a fork to the left and then turn right at a path crossing onto a public footpath, as indicated by a yellow arrow on a post. Follow this track near the edge of the wood for 300m, with occasional glimpses of the distant South Downs on your left.
Where the main track bends right at a corner of the wood, fork left onto a narrow and potentially overgrown path downhill through trees for 250m, heading W again. At the end of the path go over a stile into an open grassy area and aim to the left of a clump of trees ahead on a small hill.
As you go over the brow of the hill there is a fine view of Petworth 1 km away on the other side of Shimmings valley, with the town dominated by its large parish church and (directly behind it) Petworth House.
- On the other side of the hill there is a tall hedge ahead. Aim well to the left of the church; where the hedge zig-zags right and left there is a fieldgate leading into another field. Go through this (or a wooden kissing gate in the hedge) and head SW down the hillside, now with another tall hedge on your right.
About halfway down bear left at a three-way footpath signpost and aim for the nearest tree in a short line pointing towards the town. Go alongside a ditch by these trees to the bottom of the valley, cross a stream on a stone bridge and climb the steep slope ahead. At the top go through a new wooden gate and straight across a footpath running along the rim of the valley.
The retaining wall on the level path here needed some major repairs in 2018/19. This footpath is the main route out of the town on the Circular Walk, so if a notice shows that it is closed you will have to take the alternative route mentioned at the start of §H.
- Continue uphill on the lane into the town, passing the Catholic church. Soon after joining the A283 (Angel Street) you come to the Angel Inn on your right, the first of the possible lunch stops. The Star pub is 200m further on, where the main road (now New Street) turns into Market Square.
To continue the walk, make your way to the north-eastern corner of Market Square. Go up the cobbled Lombard Street, passing The Hungry Guest café and coming to the imposing parish church of St Mary the Virgin? at the top, on the other side of Church Street.
There used to be a stop outside the church for buses back to Pulborough, but this is no longer shown in the timetable. Unless you are assured that buses do stop here, you should follow the directions in §G to the stop on Angel Street.
- The Church Lodge (town) entrance to Petworth House? is on the left. If you are visiting this National Trust property, the following notes may be useful:
- The Audit Room Café is just inside the Church Lodge entrance and the Coffee Shop a short distance along the main corridor through the Servants' Quarters.
- As well as the house itself, visitors have access to some waymarked walks in the partly-wooded Pleasure Grounds to the north of the house, walled off from the main park.
- There is a gate leading into Petworth Park outside the north-western corner of the house. The leaflet given to visitors includes a park map with suggested routes, similar to the ones described in §F.
- If you show the sticker given to you on arrival you can re-enter the grounds from the park and then exit at Church Lodge. Alternatively, leave the park via Cowyard Tunnel as described at [?].
If you want to start the return leg of the Circular Walk without visiting Petworth Park, go to §H.
From the top of Lombard Street, head east along Church Street and keep left into North Street. Bear left past NT offices to find Cowyard Tunnel leading into the park. Take any route through the park, then retrace your steps through the tunnel and back along North Street.
- If you are not visiting Petworth House, head E along Church Street and keep left to go round the eastern end of the church into North Street. The road narrows and you need to take care where the pavement on the left ends. About 100m past the church bear left into The Cowyard, with a “Pedestrian Entrance to Park” sign.
- Keep to the right of the NT offices and go down to a yard with some old outbuildings. At the bottom turn left and go through Cowyard Tunnel into Petworth Park.
- After emerging from the tunnel, start by climbing the slope ahead of you towards a clump of trees. Continue along the higher ground for about 500m, passing the serpentine Upper Pond? below on your left. When level with the northern end of the pond you come to a major path junction.
Short Cut 1 (2½ km)
- Turn left to go down to the wooded enclosure at this end of Upper Pond and turn right onto a path which curves left around it.
- Continue alongside the lake itself, with a fine view of the house beyond it, and resume the directions at [?].
- For a longer route, keep ahead on a broad grassy path going gently downhill towards the left-hand end of Lower Pond, 500m away. Near the lake you come to another major path junction.
Short Cut 2 (4 km)
- Turn left, then almost immediately fork left onto a path curving left through a valley between low hills. Bear right in front of the wooded enclosure at the northern end of Upper Pond.
- For the full circuit, go past the lake and fork left where the path splits. In 500m fork left again. In 200m go straight across a stony track (the old driveway through the park) onto a path which swings left and climbs towards the western edge of the park.
- Near the top of the slope bear left onto either of two paths going around the hillside. Off to the right by the edge of the parkland there is a stone tower, the Upperton Monument?.
- The route continues along the old driveway below. You can either veer left onto a path going steeply down the hillside shortly after the two paths rejoin, or follow the grassy path round to the right and then fork left to go downhill near Upperton gate, joining the driveway further on.
- Follow the stony track gently uphill, then through a small wooded area. Shortly after it emerges fork left onto a grassy path heading directly towards the house, with Upper Pond coming into view. Follow the path down towards the lakeside, merging with the Short Cut routes.
- Make your way around the southern end of the lake, then fork left off the stony track to go diagonally across the grassland in front of the house. The entrance to Cowyard Tunnel is about 100m to the left of the house.
- Leave the park through the pedestrian tunnel and go through the yard to continue along North Street, towards the junction with Church Street and East Street (where Bartons Lane on the left is the main route out of the town for the Circular Walk).
The directions in this section are for a long anti-clockwise circuit around the deer park, returning to this tunnel. There is no need to follow this route (or the suggested short cuts) precisely, but as a minimum it is well worth going around Upper Pond for the classic view of the house beyond the lake.
If you are doing the Long Circular Walk, go to §H (unless you want to break for refreshment in the town first).
- If you want some refreshment before catching the bus (or continuing the Long Circular Walk), do a loop around the town centre via Market Square and the High Street to the bus stop on Angel Street.
- Retrace your steps along Church Street and back down the cobbled Lombard Street to Market Square, passing the The Hungry Guest café. Go past The Star into the High Street and follow it round to the left, passing Tiffins Tearoom on the left-hand side and coming to a junction with Middle Street.
- Unless you want to visit the Petworth Cottage Museum (60m ahead on the left-hand side) turn left into Middle Street. At the crossroads turn right onto the A283 (Angel Street) and retrace your inward route past the Angel Inn.
- Stay on the A283 as it turns slightly right by the Catholic church. The Angel Street bus stop for Pulborough is 100m ahead, on the left-hand side of the main road opposite Sheepdown Drive.
The directions in this section are for a short loop past some refreshment places to the bus stop on Angel Street.
- Make your way to the road junction by the eastern end of the church. Cross North Street and go down Bartons Lane onto a footpath heading south-east along the rim of Shimmings valley. Where the path returns to the A283, cross over onto a driveway leading to the top of Sheep Downs. Take the footpath heading south along the top of the downland and continue across a farm field to the road at Haslingbourne.
Unless you know that the main route out of the town will not be possible because of the footpath closure mentioned earlier, make your way to the junction of Church Street, North Street and East Street at the eastern end of the parish church to start the return leg.
- The alternative would be to go back along Angel Street and past the Catholic church as per your inward route. If you do this, turn right at the footpath crossing and resume the directions at [?].
- For the suggested route, cross North Street carefully at the road junction and go down Bartons Lane, passing Coach House? with its wooden notice-board on the right. Keep left as you follow the lane downhill. After the last house keep ahead on a tarmac path, passing the ruins of an old church in a cemetery on your right.
- Follow the path round to the right, with fine views across Shimmings valley. In 200m go past an old wooden turnstile and keep ahead at a path crossing, where the alternative route joins from the right.
- The path along the side of the valley runs between a wooden fence and a high garden wall for 100m, then goes past an old turnstile and comes out onto the A283. Cross over this main road carefully and take the tarmac driveway off to the left, signposted as a footpath and heading E.
- In 200m, where the drive bends sharply left down towards a house, keep ahead on a grassy path alongside a wooden fence. In a further 50m fork right to stay alongside the garden fences, now heading S along the top of Sheep Downs. Ignore paths going down into the valley and keep ahead at a crosspaths at the end of the gardens. In a further 100m go through a wooden kissing gate into a large open area.
- There is a tempting grassy path straight ahead but your exit is in the far right-hand corner, so at some point you need to veer right onto another grassy path heading in that direction (more or less following a line of overhead cables). In this corner go through a wooden kissing gate in the hedge on the right (not a gate into the wood ahead) and veer left to continue along the edge of a large field, directly towards the South Downs.
- At the end of the wood keep ahead across a large farm field, aiming just to the left of a house which comes into view as the field slopes downhill. Go over a stile to the left of a fieldgate and down the driveway between the house and its garden. At the bottom go through a side gate beside its electrically operated main gate onto a road (Haslingbourne Lane).
- Cross the road and take the footpath opposite through a small meadow. Continue past an isolated house and head south across farm fields. Turn left at a path T-junction to go past another farmhouse and across meadows to a lane. Head south-east on the lane and then take the footpath heading east past High Hoes to reach Hesworth Farm.
- Cross the road carefully (slightly to the right) and go through a wooden kissing gate into a meadow. There is no clear path but you will be coming out onto the driveway running along its right-hand side, so aim for the far corner where there there is another kissing gate.
- Follow the driveway towards a house, but well before reaching it keep right to take a narrow path on the right-hand side of a wooden fence, parallel to the drive. After passing the house keep ahead across a large farm field, heading S. On the far side continue in the same direction along the right-hand side of a hedge separating two more large fields to reach a T-junction with a farm track, 500m from the house.
- Turn left onto this track to head E, in 250m going between a farmhouse and its outbuildings. Go through a wooden kissing gate and keep ahead across a field, alongside a hedge on your right.
- Towards the end there is an awkward stile in the hedge which is the right of way, but it might be easier to carry on to the field corner and turn right through a fieldgate. Either way, continue near the left-hand side of some more fields for 250m. At the far end go through a wooden kissing gate and bear left to come out onto a lane at a bend.
- Turn right onto the lane, initially heading SE and going gently uphill. In 350m turn left onto a broad farm track leading to High Hoes, signposted as a footpath. Follow the main track round to the right, ignoring another footpath forking left into a wood. As you approach the house (350m from the road) keep left to continue on a grassy track going gently downhill, past a metal fieldgate.
- The track swings round to the right into a field where you veer left to continue along its edge, heading E. At the far end follow the track past a house and then an attractive pond on your left. Where the track bends left, veer right across a patch of grass and go over a stile beside a metal fieldgate. Bear left to continue along the left-hand edge of a field, with a hedge on your left.
- In 200m go through a wooden kissing gate and follow a short fenced path through a belt of trees. On the other side there is a hedge ahead separating two large farm fields. Go to the right of this hedge and continue alongside it for 300m, still heading E. In the field corner bear left onto a narrow path past a house, which emerges onto a lane by Hesworth Farm.
- Turn left and go uphill on a lane into Hesworth Common. Follow the public footpath heading north-east across the wooded common, then veer left up to the trig point. Leave the common near the junction of the A283 and B2138 and take the footpath alongside the main road to Fittleworth church.
- Turn left onto the lane and follow it uphill and round to the right. Ignore a track forking down to the right, but where the lane makes a hairpin turn to the left keep ahead on a footpath into the wooded Hesworth Common.
- Just inside the common, ignore a path to the left and follow the main path on a gently undulating route through ferns and trees. In 250m keep ahead at a footpath crossing, heading NE and joining the Serpent Trail? for the rest of the route across the common.
- The path narrows and climbs up a small gully, at the top of which there is a small clearing with a bench on the right. For a better viewpoint, however, turn sharp left onto a sandy path climbing through the heather, away from the South Downs. At the highest point of the common there is a trig point and a bench in front of some trees.
- Continue on a path behind the trig point going down through the trees. This bends right and soon meets a wide path in front of a deep gully, with the A283 beyond. Turn right and then keep left, gently downhill to a car park near the junction of the A283 and the B2138.
- On the far side of the car park take a path which swings left to the B2138. Cross the road carefully onto the continuation of the footpath, running parallel to the A283 off to your left. In 100m the path zig-zags right and left to go past a brick scout hut. Continue down its driveway to Church Lane. Cross the road into the churchyard and follow the tarmac path past the church of St Mary the Virgin?.
There are many paths across this attractive common. The suggested route takes you to the trig point at its summit and leaves at a car park near the junction of the A283 and the B2138. If you get side-tracked onto a different path you might come out at another exit, 200m to the south-east. In this case head north-east down a lane past a few cottages to come out opposite the exit from Fittleworth churchyard and pick up the directions in §K.
- Go through the churchyard and turn left briefly onto the B2138, then bear left onto a footpath going past houses and a school to Fittleworth Common. Head east near the northern edge of the wooded common and then cross the A283. Take a footpath followed by a bridleway along the southern edge of Walters Plantation to Stopham church. Return to the A283 and head south-east on the main road, branching off by the entrance to Stopham House to cross Stopham Bridge.
Leave the churchyard through the gate at the bottom and turn left briefly onto the B2138. Where the pavement ends, bear left onto a footpath past wooden barriers and take the left fork in front of Orchard House. In 200m the path comes out onto a residential street (School Lane).
- If you want to finish the walk here, turn left and go along this street to the A283. The bus stop for Pulborough is just off to the right, on the other side of the main road.
To continue the walk cross School Lane onto the path opposite. In 150m it crosses a stream and after a few sharp turns enters the wooded Fittleworth Common. Keep ahead on the main path into the trees, ignoring a footpath alongside the garden fences on your left.
- This footpath is a slightly more direct route, but the path is narrow and not particularly appealing.
- The main path soon goes up a short slope and meets a clear level path where you turn left, heading E. This gradually approaches the garden fences on the left, where it merges with the other footpath. Follow the path along the boundary of the common for a further 300m, up an incline with a low wooden fence on your left and then turning slightly left to drop down to the A283.
- Cross the main road carefully and go onto the footpath opposite into a wood, ignoring a stile offering an alternative route to the right. Where the path splits after 50m, ignore a footpath waymarker pointing left and fork right. In a further 50m the woodland path swings right to head E and you now simply follow it in this direction for 700m, with a footpath joining from the right and a bridleway from the left along the way.
- The path eventually passes a few houses and leads into a lane. Go up to a T-junction (with an old manor house visible across the field ahead) and turn right. The route goes down this lane for 300m to the A283, but after 75m a short detour across the green on your left would take you to the attractive old church of St Mary the Virgin?, which is normally open.
- At the A283 cross the main road carefully and turn left onto the footway, with glimpses of the large Stopham Vineyard? across the road. In 400m the path moves slightly away from the road and you pass the ghostly ruins of a lodge house at the entrance to Stopham House. The path leads you over the medieval Stopham Bridge? to the suggested tea stop, the White Hart pub.
- Cross the A283 and take the Wey-South Path along the edge of a wood for 1 km. Turn right to go past Park Farm and continue along Coombelands Lane. After crossing the railway retrace your outward route back to Pulborough station.
- Go up a short pathway between the bridge and the pub to the A283. Cross the main road carefully and take the bridleway on the right-hand side of a small parking area, climbing steeply into a wood. In 500m it swerves right and left to give views out across Pulborough Brooks to the South Downs. In a further 500m, with the tree-covered Park Mound? on your left, follow the track round to the right as indicated.
- The track goes gently downhill past a house and garden to a tarmac lane by the entrance to Park Farm. Cross over the lane and follow the path round to the left. It leads into the top corner of a field by a WW Ⅱ pillbox and veers right to go down the field edge. At the bottom go through a new wooden kissing gate and down a few steps to a lane.
Turn right onto the lane and follow it round to the right in 300m by Old Place. Retrace your outward route back to Pulborough station: over the railway and turning right onto the tarmac path parallel to the tracks. Make your way around the left-hand side of the station building and go under the tunnel to Platform 1 for trains to London.
- The nearest refreshment place in the town centre is a Thai Restaurant & Bar, about 300m off to the left from the bottom of Station Approach.
- Old Place Manor was built around 1450 and has a large medieval hall. Old Place was part of the farmstead of the manor house.
- The Gallops are used by horses at the nearby Coombelands racing stables, owned by the Harwood family.
- The Toat Monument is a six-sided tower built as a memorial to Samuel Drinkald of Toat House, who fell from his horse and died near here in 1823.
- The Wey-South Path runs for 58 km between Guildford to Houghton Bridge, following the route of the River Wey, the River Arun and the canal linking them.
- Pallingham Bridge was restored by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust in 1976. The canal linking the two rivers briefly provided a trading link between London and the South Coast in the 19thC before being superseded by the railway.
- The River Arun is one of the fastest-flowing rivers in England and is tidal up to Pallingham. This hamlet's importance as a transport link is reflected in the names of two local farms, Pallingham Quay and Pallingham Lock.
- St Mary the Virgin, Petworth dates from the 13thC but has been much altered over the centuries. The sandstone base of the tower is 14thC but the top was added in the early 19thC.
- Petworth House is surprisingly close to the town centre. Medieval manor houses were usually built next to the parish church but in later periods mansions of this size were nearly always located on more private sites (or the neighbouring village re-sited).
- The serpentine shape of Upper Pond was one of Capability Brown's trademark features, designed to look like a wide meandering river.
- The Upperton Monument was probably built as a verderer's lookout in the late 18thC.
- Coach House (with its wooden notice-board warning about damage to property) dates from the early 19thC.
- The Serpent Trail runs for 103 km, from Haslemere to Petersfield. Its name reflects the serpentine shape of its route through the heathlands of West Sussex.
- St Mary the Virgin, Fittleworth dates from the 13thC but the nave was rebuilt in the 19thC.
- St Mary the Virgin, Stopham dates from the 11thC. It has fine 17thC glasswork and impressive brasses commemorating many generations of the local Barttelot family.
- Stopham Vineyard was planted in 2007 and mainly produces still white wines from Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois and Bacchus grapes.
- Stopham Bridge was built in 1423, replacing an earlier wooden bridge. The central arch was raised in 1822 to allow barges to pass. The bridge was still being used by traffic until the new A283 road bridge was constructed alongside in 1986.
- Park Mound is the site of a motte and bailey fortress, built shortly after the Norman Conquest. There is no longer any public access to the site.
» Last updated: April 30, 2021