THE MIDHURST WAY
A Circular 2- Day Adventure with Stop-Over for Londoners - Description
A CIRCULAR 2 DAY ADVENTURE FOR LONDONERS.
THE MIDHURST WAY is a 'new' long-distance route from Arundel to Midhurst, West Sussex, approximately 19.25 miles from the Start Point at Arundel Station to the Finish at North St Bus Station in Midhurst, adjacent to Capron House, The South Downs National Park HQ, in the Southern UK
Here is a news announcement published on the 18th October 2010..
THE RIVER ROTHER BRIDGE AT ROTHERBRIDGE RE-OPENED.
After four and a half months closure the bridleway over the River Rother at Rotherbridge was re-opened on Saturday 16th Of October.
The old bridleway bridge was closed on safety grounds having been deemed ‘unfit for purpose’ and a new bridge constructed in one piece lifted in by crane two weeks ago. Initial efforts to get the crane down the lane were unsuccessful according to a footpaths representative at WSCC as it turned out too fat and had to be replaced by a slimmer model.
The new bridge, 24 feet long and 8.5 feet wide with a balustrade of just under 6 feet,. cost a reputed £80,000. Once in place, the approaches had to be built up and four-bar fencing erected. A chain was added to the southern approach - now removed because of complaints - to prevent cattle grazing in a near-by meadow from straying onto the bridge.
This crossing of the River Rother has a long history and once carried the main road to Petworth about 200 years ago. The name Rotherbridge comes from the Anglo Saxon Redrebruge meaning cattle bridge, the River Rother being named after Rotherbridge not the other way round. The northern extension of the route is today called Hungers Lane and is a deep, dark, sunken lane in a tunnel of undergrowth and trees. It emerges on the A272 at Petworth Park .
The reconstruction of this bridge has come at an opportune moment. A new long distance walking route mainly over public paths, bridleways and lanes called the Midhurst Way has been formally opened by Friends of Midhurst this last Saturday. The Midhurst Way , approximately 20 miles long, starts at Arundel and finishes at Midhurst. It follows the downs to West Burton and thence to Rotherbridge via Sutton and Barlavington. After Rotherbridge it goes north via the lower part of Hungers Lane, thence to Tillington, River, Lodsworth, Cowdray Park and Midhurst.
Planned as a two-day adventure for Londoners and others from the UK and abroad who prefer to travel lightly and use public transport most walkers are expected to start their journey at Victoria Station and to travel to Arundel by train. An overnight stop-over in the Coultershaw or Tillington area should prove popular with good B&B’s and restaurants near-by.
The return journey to London would start at Midhurst Bus Station and thence by train from Haselmere to Waterloo Those walkers wanting to have a three day adventure could have a stop-over in Midhurst or Easebourne and continue to Haslemere station over The HASLEMERE - MIDHURST WALK. This starts at the North St Car Park and fnishes at Haslemere Station and goes via Easebourne, Henley, Fernhurst.
The HASLEMERE - MIDHURST WALK of 9.5 miles is also a one-day outing in its own right with a return to Haslemere by taxi (see below) or bus. The journey would start from LONDON WATERLOO. There are frequent fast trains to Haslemere with a journey time of 50 minutes to 1 hour. BJ's Private Hire has an 8-seater taxi. 01730 716327 or 07732 590806.
There is only one flaw in the Midhurst Way at the moment and that is bus provision, which is not adequate on the week-ends when most people will want to walk the way. It is, therefore, especially welcome to learn the The South Downs National Park Authority are going to investigate public transport provision with the view to securing an improvement.
. Click here for a close-up of the bridge and its design.
Here is a schematic view of the Midhurst Way .
Here is a suggested mid-week itinerary for a one-day hike. But, please check train times and buses for yourself.
LONDON VICTORIA - Depart 07.17 am Arrive ARUNDEL STATION 08.50 am.
WALK TO MIDHURST. Arrive in time for tea at Ye Olde Tea Shoppe, North St, (closes 17.30pm, open Bank Hols and weekends). Please phone if you are a party with your numbers and ETA. Or, The Cowdray Farm Shop & Café in Easebourne, on the route a mile from Midhurst, which closes at 6.0 pm
MIDHURST BUS STATION - Depart 17.34 pm Arrive HASLEMERE STATION 18.09 PM
HASLEMERE STATION - Depart 18.15 pm Arrive LONDON WATERLOO 19.14 pm
SOUTH DOWNS PARK EXPLORERS.
A small group of local 'explorers' headed by the editor, John Trueman and his wife Rosemary has, over the years, stitched together a range of different walks in West Sussex, utilising existing tracks, paths and lanes which are public rights of way. The Midhurst Way was first walked by John and Rosemary in 1977 when they had a flat in Surbiton. They fell in love with the area and bought a house at Henley near Midhurst in 1978, where they currently reside.
NEW! Midhurst River Walk, just opened courtesy of The Cowdray Estate and The National Trust at Woolbeding. Here are three pages of photos
WARNING. The Midhurst Way is only suitable for experienced walkers. You need to be fit, resourceful, able to read a map well and adaptable. It's not a mindless trudge. You need to keep your wits about you and keep plenty of time in hand for route stops and exigencies - Editor.
Summer Walks. Contact Keith McKenna of FOOTPRINTS OF SUSSEX for organised walks along the Midhurst Way. 01903 813381. www.footprintsofsussex.co.uk First walk: Starts at Arundel 9.00am Saturday 21st May and continues on Sunday 22nnd May. Book now!
Charity Walks. Organisers please note that one option is to hire a coach (Richardsons in Midhurst 01730 813304) and start from the free Cowdray Car Park adjoining The Cowdray Farm Shop in Easebourne village near Midhurst. There is car parking for up to 100. Walkers cars could be parked here for the day by arrangement with Cowdray 01730 812423, the bus dropping off walkers at Arundel Station for the return hike of circa 19.25 miles. See map.
Testimonial Tuesday March 29th, 2011
"I would like to express my gratitude to those responsible for the directions
from Arundel to Midhurst on the website violetdesigns etc. I followed the route,
with a friend, on Saturday last and we spent a glorious day in wonderfully
varied countryside. The directions were very helpful and informative and added a
great deal to the enjoyment of the day". Signed JDS.
JDS's route was from Croydon to Arundel by train, Midhurst Way from Arundel to Midhurst, return by bus to Pulborough railway station , thence to Croydon.
Testimonial Monday 23rd January 2012
"Overall, a good, interesting, testing and scenic route"
Martyn (left) and Peter (right) completed the Midhurst Way in 5 hrs. Martyn commented "The route was great, with good, well maintained paths with plenty of variation in scenery and little road walking. Likewise passing many churches and buildings of historical interest.With the route marked onto Explorer maps the way was straight forward to navigate, helped by local knowledge"
Peter further added this "Some of the paths/tracks are very rocky and others have tree roots. There are some steep ascents and descents which need some care. It could be muddy in places in very wet weather. Overall, a good, interesting, testing and scenic route. We parked in the town up by the Cathedral , other parking on the road by Lower Castle main entrance gate running down to boating lake, free parking. Parking in main Car Park is charged. Station is limited and also charged".
Editor's Comment on Peter Chittenden's observation. From the yew forest in Sherwood Rough to the top of the downs - above Arundel - the track is narrow, hard going (steep) and in places dificult to follow, but the place with the most difficulty is the earth -and - plank stairway down the following scarp above Fairmile Bottom and the A29 road. It's slippery after rain.
Peter Chittenden and Martyn Greaves are keen marathon runners - Martyn has been running for 40 years and Peter for 30 plus years - with Peter competing in the 100 Mile Himalaya Challenge in 2010 and the 10 mile Snowdon Mountain Race.in 2011. Martyn has run in 30, 50 and 100 mile races here and in the USA and has completed the Ben Nevis Mountain Race.
Apart from crossing three main roads the only bit of the walk - a short stretch - on a pavement by a main road is between Heath End and the turn-off after the old railway bridge near The River Rother at Coultershaw Bridge which leads to Rotherbridge.
The route is mainly over footpaths, bridleways, tracks and quiet country lanes. At first it is a gentle and later quite stiff climb from Arundel up the wooded dip-slope of the South Downs to the crest at Yew Tree Gate which overlooks the busy main road - the A29 from Pulborough to Chichester - at The Fairmile, a popular picnic spot.
Thence an open downland walk with views in every direction until you reach West Burton, a hamlet nestling at the base of the downs with its own stream. The countryside now changes to broad, gently undulating fields of corn in summertime until you reach Bignor. Here is the site for the Roman Villa now surrounded by vineyards. Underneath the downs there is a network of winding lanes and small villages, woodland mixed with open fields, low hills and streams, ponds and lakes.
After Bignor you come to Sutton and a popular pub, The White Horse (picture right) Then Barlavington with the famous old yew tree. On the next downland rise the views across to Burton Park and Petworth are breathtaking. (For those contemplating breaking their hike hear you can make a short diversion to Toad Hall at Duncton west of The Way or to The Carriage House east of The Way at Burton Park)
As you approach the River Rother Valley and Rotherbridge the scenery changes yet again to a wooded riverine environment immediately followed by wide stretches of open farnland, gently rising to Tillington and its beautiful church. You're now on very different geology, sandstone, which supports a totally different ecology to the chalk downland. Quite noticeable is the way land useage has changed in the last five to ten years and large vineyards belonging to Nyetimber and Upperton Farm stretch across the upland landscape for several miles. Is this to become the new champagne country? Read about this year's bumper harvest in the Daily Telegraph.
The Midhurst Way follows this sandstone upland - it stretches from near Petersfield in the West to West Chiltington in the East - through River to Lodsworth, home of the unique Lodsworth Larder. Allow a little time to visit the larder, built by a woodsman Ben Law of Channel 4's Grand Designs fame, in local oakwood, and financed and staffed by Lodsworth and its volunteers.
Adjoining the Lodsworth Larder is the Hollist Arms, if you're in need of refreshment, though two miles or so ahead is a rival watering-hole, the Cowdray Farm Shop & Café in Easebourne, known as The Food Emporium or Fortnums on Rother by locals. But, before getting to Easebourne on the outskirts of Midhurst, home to the Cowdray Estate, enjoy Cowdray Park to the full as you drop down the hill from above Steward's Pond and espy the 1000 year old Queen Elizabeth Oak, still standing solidly with a full crown of leaves but a lot shorter than in its prime. Fourteen people shoulder-to-shoulder can stand inside the trunk.Lots of other magnificent old trees still grow on this wonderful open-grassed hillside, a place of timeless beauty.
As you traverse the fairway of Cowdray Golf Course which is about half a mile from Steward's Pond you are on a broad hill with panoramic views to the horizon in the West, the downs above South Harting, and nearer-by the polo fields which host the Veuve Clicquot Cup in July each year. The golden colour associated with Veuve Clicquot and the Liberal yellow paintwork of the Cowdray houses give visual credence to the belief that Midhurst is in reality a sunny place as well as being so in the minds and hearts of its people. H.G.Wells who grew up here said " Midhurst has always been a happy place for me. I supposed it rained there at
times but all my memories of Midhurst are in sunshine'
The final visual joy, as you trudge the last mile, preceded by the smooth-as-velvet polo fields with their mown stripes, is Cowdray Castle enclosed on two sides by the serpentine River Rother, and its wooded river bluff. As you go down the Castle Causeway turn round and look at the castle in the evening light . It's magical. There is no place quite like it.
MAPS. Explorer 133, Explorer 121.
BREAKING THE JOURNEY
A hike of 20 miles approximately - with so much to see en route - is, for many people too much in a day.If you decide to break he journey there are many B&B's and several eating-places to chose from. A shortish first leg from Arundel makes the The White Horse at SUTTON a good stop-over with good food and b&b. A mid-point is COULTERSHAW BRIDGE over the River Rother - Petworth to Chichester Rd - with the excellent Old Railway Station for b&b and Badgers Inn for food (and b&b). A b&b in BURTON PARK is The Carriage House and , if you take a short diversion to DUNCTON, Toad Hall. The Cricketers at DUNCTON do good grub. A few miles further on north , TILLINGTON has the Horseguards Inn with good food and b&b. It's close to Petworth and Petworth Park and makes for a convenient spot to spend an additional day exploring locally. For Duncton Map click here.
Ye Olde Tea Shoppe, Midhurst 01730 817081. Comestibles 01730 813400. The Cowdray Farm Shop & Café 01730 812799. The White Horse at Sutton 01798 869221. The Hollist Arms Lodsworth 01798 861310. The Horse Guards at Tillington. 01798 342332 . The Old Railway Station at Coultershaw 01798 342346, Badgers Inn at Coultershaw 01798 342651
PRIVATE HIRE CAR.
As a fall-back in the event of problems or a change of schedule BJ's Private Hire Tel No is 01730 716327 or 07732 590806.He has an 8-seater for groups as well as the conventional taxi. Please book ahead if you plan to have an early meal in Midhurst before going back to London and need a taxi to take you to Haslemere.
Three Counties Taxis, Haslemere :01428 644321
Walkers staying in Midhurst wishing to walk the Midhurst Way may get to Arundel by private hire car. Brian Lintott (BJ's) charges £28 to take 4 to Arundel and £58 to take 8. Important to book well in advance for a party of 8 .Brian also takes luggage from point to point for walkers doing the South Downs Way. Walkers requiring picnics may get these from Comestibles Deli. Picture of ghostly Cowdray Castle to the left.
There are over 16 B&B's in Midhurst, the most central being The Swan Inn, Pear Tree Cottage, The Town House, & Lyndale House For evening meals there are numerous pubs eg.The Bricklayers in West Street and restaurants. Bars include BJ's in Knockhundred Row and and Seven Fish in North Street. There are often gigs in and around Midhurst, the most regular venues being Faustinos in North Street - every Wednesday evening. For more about MIDHURST click here.
In recent months many new shops have opened in West street - see pictures here - and others in Rumbold's Hill (Marmadukes Vintage Clothing & Collectibles) and in North St. A major new store of interest to all walkers is STOCKLEY TRADING - equestrian and outdoor clothing - see pictures here. Situated next to Seven Fish Restaurant & Bar (welcomes walkers 24/7), close to the MIDHURST WAY and NORTH ST CAR PARK it is a 'must' destination.
Coming early March 2011, is the new, Midhurst Pharmacy with ancillary products in the former Parkland Motors Showroom across the street. And Caffe Verdi - welcomes walkers - also in North St, is having a refit and adding the next door shop to its premises. Re-opens circa Tuesday 18th January.
Please now go to MIDHURST WAY DIRECTIONS.