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Explore West Sussex – Quick Travel Guide

Sussex was one of the first Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in Britain and its name means ‘land of the south Saxons’. Sitting on the south coast of England, West Sussex is a quiet county of small towns and picturesque villages. Here you’ll find beautiful countryside, coastal retreats, and mysterious tales and legends of days gone by.

West Sussex is home to historic buildings, ruined castles and ancient monuments. The remains of a Roman palace at Fishbourne and a Roman villa at Bignor are well preserved and make interesting trips while on West Sussex holidays. These historical sites are tucked away and the Roman villa at Bignor is accompanied by a pretty village and some lovely walks.

West Sussex is full of legends and stories of the past. This county also demonstrates a large interest in ghostly happenings and UFO sightings in the area. West Sussex has many haunted inns,

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South Downs Clouds Time Lapse Video

A 70 minute original 4K HD video condensed to 5 minutes time-lapse. Filmed from Springhead Hill in the South Downs National Park, West Sussex, England.

Looking north, overlooking Parham House and Estate. On the distant horizon you can see the North Downs of Surrey and Hampshire, some 19 miles away.

If you look carefully you can see the gliders and tug aircraft taking off and landing at Parham Airfield, to the centre-right of the video.

Clouds form and vanish in the blink of an eye, constantly changing shape.

South Downs Weather Time Lapse Video

Filmed in 4K on the 25th July 2015. Select the best viewing quality on YouTube to suit your playback device. Looks great on a large screen TV. Please follow my YouTube channel for more videos from the South Downs National Park.

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Eartham Wood Summer Walk

The South Downs National Park varies in landscape by the mile. Exposed flint-strewn hills, steep chalk escarpments, dense wooded slopes. My recent 24 mile walk took in all of that.

I would walk a route that I had walked before in sections but not all in one day. Recently I have been walking east, towards Steyning Bowl, Devil’s Dyke and Clayton Windmills; it was time to walk west again.

Leaving Storrington Village

I set off from Storrington, the busy and well equipped village in West Sussex. Crossing the high street noisy with leisure traffic you would be forgiven for not realising that just 1/2 a mile to the south the scene is very rural.

The boundary of the South Downs National Park crosses Greyfriars Lane and the lack of housing development is very noticeable from this point onwards.

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Storrington Time Lapse Clouds 4K Video.

45 minutes of video condensed to 90 seconds time-lapse. Filmed in 4K HD. Kithurst Hill in the South Downs National Park gives commanding views over the village of Storrington, West Sussex.

This is looking north towards the North Downs of Surrey on the far horizon. Shot on the morning of 6th July 2015.

I wonder how this view will change over the years. Will the beautiful countryside survive the property developers?

Chantry Hill Time Lapse Clouds

Clouds race across a blue summer sky. An original 43 minute video condensed to a 90 second time-lapse. Filmed from Chantry Hill in the South Downs National Park, West Sussex.

Video shot look east towards Sullington Hill and Chanctonbury Ring.

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Just An Ordinary 40 Mile Walk

“What, in one day?”, “I bet you hurt after that?”, “why?”, “I could never do that”, “Good luck”, “wishing you the very best luck”, “well done you”, “really proud of you”, “bet you felt great.”

Just some of the many comments made to me before and after my modest plan to walk 40 miles along the South Downs Way last month, June 2015.

My route was very simple, no explanation needed, leaving Storrington West Sussex at 7am and walking along the South Downs Way as far as Jack and Jill, the Clayton Windmills in East Sussex (near Ditchling Beacon) and returning the same route. A total of 40.8 miles in 15 hours to the minute.

Preparing Mentally and Physically

If you read my blog on a regular basis you will know that I walk about 12-20 miles per day-hike.

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Steyning Bowl Time Lapse Videos

Ever since I first walked to Steyning Bowl in the South Downs National Park and admired the view I had wanted to capture the scene on video, as shadows from the clouds raced across the contours of the landscape.

Monarch’s Way – Steyning, West Sussex

I parked my car at Chanctonbury Ring car park and walked east along the South Downs Way until it met a concrete track called Sopers Lane, high above the West Sussex village of Steyning. This farm track forms part of the Monarch’s Way, a 615 mile national trail. Fortunately I was only walking about half a mile of it today.

The South Downs Way path runs along the southern edge of Steyning Bowl, over Annington Hill but I think the views from the Monarch’s Way track are equally impressive;

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Poppies at Blackpatch Covert

Springtime was very much over, the bright yellow fields of rapeseed all but vanished from the South Downs National Park. Swaying fields of wheat, a contrasting lush green under hot yellow summer sun now covered the landscape.

Splattered like random giant paint drops, amongst these fields of green were vivid red poppies, emerging from the disturbed land adding a dash of brilliant colour.

Finding the South Downs Poppies

I hadn’t planned on discovering poppies on this walk, I was heading to Blackpatch Hill because I enjoy the peaceful location. I started this walk as is often the way, in the West Sussex village of Storrington, walking off of the busy high street down Greyfriars Lane.

Once on the South Downs escarpment at Kithurst Hill I walked south through a field towards the WW2 Churchill Tank,

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Walking The Wey South Path

Disused canals normally conjure up images of discarded shopping trolleys and part submerged cars. The semi-restored Wey and Arun canal offers walkers the chance to get right amongst nature and couldn’t be any more removed from the stereotype.

Billingshurst to Houghton Bridge

Explore the South Downs without the car. A station to station canal walk. In 1 hour and 20 minutes from London Victoria you could be at Billingshurst railway station in rural West Sussex.

A few minutes walk from Billingshurst station sees you in unspoilt countryside, far away from the crowds and noise of London.

You can walk 15 miles along the route of the old Wey and Arun canal all the way to Houghton Bridge (Amberley station), where you can take the train back to London after having a rest at the riverside cafe or the local pub.

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31 Mile Hike To Devil’s Dyke

A 31 mile hike to Devil’s Dyke in East Sussex, starting from Storrington in West Sussex. Walking along the South Downs Way under a gorgeous blue sky.

At the beginning of May I had walked 25 miles in a day, which at the time was a personal best and I knew that I had a few more miles in me.

Storrington to Devil’s Dyke

I had driven to Devil’s Dyke near Brighton many times over the years but I had never walked further than the car park, so I decided it would be an ideal destination in the South Downs National Park for my personal record-breaking walk.

A look at the map showed that Devil’s Dyke was just over 15 miles along the South Downs Way from the village Storrington in West Sussex,

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Escape The South Downs Way

A 6.5 mile walk, escaping the busy South Downs Way, towards Wepham Down in West Sussex. Warm sunshine, wildlife aplenty and a clear mind. Sounds bliss doesn’t it.

The month of May was proving yet again to be a mix of warm sunny days and April-esque heavy rain showers. I picked a warm sunny day for this walk, it would be rude not to.

I had pleasant walking company for a change, which was great as normally my mid-week hikes are a solitary event. Various time constraints on the day meant that we would only have a few hours walking but the feel-good factor from those few hours of concentrated solitude would last for many days.

Kithurst Hill Car Park

Blink and you would miss it;

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Video: Kithurst Hill Spring Views

Overlooking the West Sussex village of Storrington is Kithurst Hill, rising to a summit of 213 metres / 699 feet. From close to the South Downs Way there are dramatic views west, north and east. With rolling hills towards the south.

Kithurst Hill, South Downs National Park

There are several steep footpaths leading from Greyfriars Lane, Storrington to the South Downs Way or you can drive up Chantry Lane and park in the stoney car park and walk a short distance west and north.

The main SDW path passes close to the Kithurst Hill view point but doesn’t offer the very best views, for that you need to walk north from the South Downs Way to a parallel path. There is a trig point marked on OS Maps and the view-point is close to that.

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Washington to St Botolph’s Church

A misty walk from Washington car park on the South Downs Way to St Botolph’s Church by the River Adur. 13 miles of beautiful Sussex South Downs views.

A few weeks prior to this walk I had been chatting to Gary Middleton who lives south of Chichester about walking somewhere together. A plan was made to meet at Washington car park at the foot of Chanctonbury Hill.

Gary hadn’t walked this section of the South Downs Way before so he was pleased to be able to leave the maps behind and have a guide for the day. I was pleased to have some great company and a chance to see how many hills I could remember!

With rucksacks loaded and boots laced firmly we set off from Washington car park towards the east.

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Kithurst Hill South Downs Way Video

I walked up my local South Downs hill, Kithurst Hill one saturday recently. I wanted to shoot a short video to give a feel for the calming nature of the location.

Kithurst Hill in West Sussex is my kind of place to relax, several paths lead off of the South Downs Way allowing me my own personal space for as long as I want to walk.

Kithurst Hill West Sussex Video

This particular evening I walked about with my camcorder and tripod and captured the hazy fading light of the watery sunset. The wind was blowing strong, carrying the sounds of the evening birdsong far and wide. The rapeseed now fading slightly in colour rippled with the wind as I stood still and watched.

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South Downs Walking – Botolphs

A few weeks ago I was contacted on the photo sharing app Instagram, by Elizabeth Bennett who was about to walk the Sussex section of the South Downs Way. Elizabeth’s reason for her walk is quoted below.

For the first week of May I’m off to walk the Sussex stretch of the South Downs Way, along the route I’ll be singing songs that are collected from, or associated with, the places I pass.

Elizabeth asked myself and others if we would like to accompany her for some of the journey. I was free on Saturday 2nd May and this date coincided with the Amberley to Botolphs Sussex section Elizabeth would be walking with a small group.

I had walked this section of the South Downs Way many times and was only too pleased to “

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Spring Evening on Kithurst Hill

What better way to end the working day than a walk around your local area; in my case that meant a walk along the South Downs Way close to Storrington in West Sussex.

There is a rough tarmac track that leads off of the Amberley to Storrington road, the B2139. The track barely signposted from the main road, climbs along the western edge of the old MOD Kithurst Ranges up to a car park on Kithurst Hill.

The car park is located adjacent to the South Downs Way and is an ideal spot to begin an evening walk, far away from the usual rush-hour bustle of Southern England.

South Downs Rapeseed

Early evening in spring is a great time to view the fields of rapeseed at their finest,

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River Adur – Our Personal Best

This 23 and a quarter-mile South Downs walk set the benchmark for me. I walked a personal best, the longest distance in a single day. Storrington to the River Adur at Botolphs near Steyning West Sussex.

What motivates you?

That question could reveal a 100 different answers in a matter of seconds. If you had asked me the question 10 years ago I doubt I would have mentioned anything about walking and hiking. I’m not sure I was particularly motivated about anything 10 years ago. So what changed?

Around autumn 2005 I took up photography as a serious hobby which meant I found myself walking off the beaten track more often than I used to. I started to look at familiar places from a different angle. Quite literally looking at places from the left,

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Cissbury Ring Circular Walk

A 19.6 mile walk to Cissbury Ring just outside the village of Findon in West Sussex. Taking in two hill forts and views of ancient flint mines.

Starting off in Storrington West Sussex, a bustling village at the foot of the South Downs I headed up to Kithurst Hill and walked east, towards my first destination of the day, Chanctonbury Ring. The morning was bright and the sky a lovely blue overhead. The South Downs Way (SDW) quiet during the first week of April.

The views from Kithurst Hill to the north and south are far-reaching, gliders soar above the escarpment here on favourable days. It’s a lovely spot for a short family walk being not too far from the car park off of Chantry Lane.

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Arundel Park – Discovering Hiorne Tower

A 19.6 mile circular walk to Arundel Park West Sussex, following the River Arun south from Houghton Bridge. It would be a new walking route for me once south of Houghton.

7.47am Monday morning. I remember the exact time because I glanced at the clock as I was gathering up my hiking gear. I thought to myself how lucky I was to be planning a walk in the South Downs National Park whilst the majority of Southern England’s inhabitants were heading to the M25 motorway and several hours of traffic jams.

South Downs Way Again

I had all day to walk and the clocks had just gone forward to British Summer Time the previous day, releasing a very welcome extra hour of daylight. Today’s walk wasn’t going to be about taking the shortest or quickest route.

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Wildbrooks to Greatham Bridge

I had never walked the Wildbrooks of Amberley or indeed Pulborough as there had always been other South Downs Sussex walks to explore; when winter arrives you cannot traverse the Wildbrooks without a boat for the area is the winter floodplain of the mighty River Arun.

So the promise of a bright spring day and receding winter flood-water meant the end of March was the perfect time to discover on foot this local wildlife haven.

Parham Park to Amberley Village

Starting out from Storrington West Sussex, I for once walked the low route to Amberley village. As you might have guessed by my photos in the blog gallery I normally walk along the high ridge, up on the South Downs Way,

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Amberley Circular Walk | Look Again

A walk from Storrington to Amberley Wild Brooks and back, watching the slowly changing seasons. Walk twice, look thrice.

Mid March didn’t throw up many sunny days. A combination of grey cloud and European smog meant any hope of spring sunshine was a rare event. I was lucky then and had a free day during the week on one such hazy sunny day.

I chose to walk once more to Amberley by the River Arun, a walk that’s familiar to me and takes in the South Downs Way and the West Sussex Literary Trail.

Storrington Mill Pond | Look Again

I’ve covered the route of this 12 mile circular walk before here – High Road to Houghton which I walked in January.

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Amberley Circular Walk

The first week in March should have been filled with the joys of spring but for reasons that will be explained it was far from idyllic.

I don’t often feel guilty when out walking, why should I for I am sharing the stunning South Downs through my words, walks and photos; bringing a little happiness to many, that’s the idea anyway.

But the first week of March wasn’t a week I could go out walking with a clear head. I couldn’t get over the feeling of guilt that potentially loomed.

Walking for Health

A close family relative suffered a heart attack during the first week of March, unforeseen and unexpected. Life was quite simply not the same from then on. I should add at this early point in the blog post that my relative has survived and is on the long road to recovery,

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Houghton Ancient Circular Walk

Houghton in West Sussex makes an ideal starting location for a South Downs circular walk. The railway station is within easy walking distance of the South Downs Way (SDW) and other long distance walking trails, such as the Monarch’s Way.

Houghton to Eartham Wood Circular Walk

If you do intend travelling to Houghton by train, make sure you get off at Amberley station as that is located in the village of Houghton. Confusing, slightly. Amberley is 1/2 a mile north of Houghton and the station. Do what I did, drive.

Historic Houghton West Sussex

The village has several historic listed buildings, including the lovely George and Dragon pub, which has parts of the building dating back to the 13th century. King Charles II is reputed to have stopped here in 1651 when fleeing the country after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester.

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Steyning Super Bowl Walk

Earlier in the week I was considering a South Downs walk either Saturday or Sunday, the last day of January or the first day of February (pinch, punch). The weather forecast was for cold conditions and a strong wind.

I looked out of the window early Saturday morning and to my (childhood) amazement I could see snow on the ground. What followed in the next 15 minutes was the quickest gathering of walking gear, goodbyes to a disgruntled partner (I can’t collect trekking poles and rucksack quietly it would seem) and departure.

South Downs Snow

As I write this blog post a few days later there is snow again on the South Downs; the weather is fickle around these parts. A few miles to the west in Hampshire there is snow and ice blocking roads up the Downs;

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Petworth Park Circular Walk

A very popular family walk around the magnificent Petworth Park, in the South Downs of West Sussex.

With a herd of over 900 fallow deer, views to the North and South Downs, plus wide open lawns to fly kites, Petworth has to be one of the most popular National Trust venues in the South East for family leisure time.

Petworth Park Walking

You do not have to be a member of the National Trust to enjoy the walk around the estate, just for free access to the main house. There are modest car park charges if not a member of the NT.

Avoid Petworth Town!

What I mean is avoid parking at the main Petworth House car park in the town centre. I start this walk from the car park that is located 1.4 miles (2.25 km) north of Petworth,

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The Fairies of Harrow Hill

I checked the weather earlier in the week and Saturday was set to be yet another cold but bright day in the South Downs of Sussex. The perfect day for a hike.

The tricky part was planning where to walk, the Wild Brooks were still flooded. I’d recently walked to Chanctonbury Ring, had explored Amberley only a few days earlier. Hampshire and East Sussex were out of the question as I didn’t have use of the car.

I opened my South Downs OS Map and looked for a focal point; some point on the map to aim for. After a few minutes scanning the numerous walking-tributaries of the South Downs Way (SDW) I had conjured up a circular (sort of) walking route.

My destination of the day would be Harrow Hill and Blackpatch Hill.

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High Road to Houghton Bridge

Walking the South Downs ridge to Houghton Bridge

Everyone was suffering from the Monday morning blues. Social media was full of the hashtag #bluemonday (the third Monday in January) which is said to be the most depressing day of the year.

What better day to choose for a walk from Storrington to Houghton Bridge and back. Not everyone had the blues in my household. The weather for the latter part of January was wintry; cold frosty nights and grey damp days. The morning started off that way. Camera, boots and maps readied.

I headed towards the centre of Storrington along the familiar River Walk; a path that runs beside the River Stor. Stopping to buy some lunch from a convenience store for later on. The actual location for lunch unknown to me at this time;

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Walking Roman Streets

Walking Stane Street, Bury Hill & Eartham Wood

I had been here before in a past life. I had probably stood in the very same spot before. Not in a past life as some Roman foot soldier, nor Bronze Age man making flint tools.

No, I had been here before in a past life as a biker, the kind with a large engine. The walk starts and ends amongst a lot of horsepower.

January had delivered some good weather, so the bikers of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire were out enjoying the dry Sunday roads and a welcome cup of tea at Whiteways Cafe, situated on the A29 a few miles north of Arundel, West Sussex.

“Bury Hill” as we liked to call the car park and cafe,

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South Downs Churchill Tank – Sleeping Giant

High up on the South Downs in West Sussex, a short walk from Kithurst Hill car park, surrounded by peaceful fields, wildlife and crops, sits a now silent giant. A beast of a man-made machine.

Over 75 years ago this area of the South Downs, rising above Storrington, Cootham and Parham House would have been a hive of military activity.

South Downs WW2 Tank – HD Video

The following video was shot on 17th May 2015 by myself, an hour before sunset. The audio is very quiet because it can be very quiet in that part of the South Downs National Park. A far cry from back in 1941 / 1942.

The South Downs, with their sparse population back in the 1930s – 1940s were the ideal training grounds for battle ready Canadian troops and their metallic machines.

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Chanctonbury Ring Long Ancient Shadows

The South Downs of Sussex are legendary. People travel for miles to enjoy the rolling hills, chalk cliffs and rich history. The area abounds with tall tales and legends, from Roman Roads to the Devil himself.

I planned a walk from the busy village of Storrington to Chanctonbury Ring, West Sussex and back, some 12.5 miles round trip. I allowed myself 4 hours, as I always take far too many photos along the route.

Storrington River Walk

The morning of my walk, 20th December 2014 was wet and dark, a typical late December day. The weather forecast did offer the promise of sunshine later in the morning. I knew I had limited daylight, the winter solstice being the next day! I packed my South Downs map, a walking pole and wore my hiking boots and not my trail shoes.

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Recent Comments

  • Chris Newham on Steyning Super Bowl WalkHello Gary (or any other reader who can help). Your wonderful article suggests you might be able to help me. My mother, who used to be a long term resident
  • Tim Benham on South Downs Churchill Tank – Sleeping GiantMy son and I saw ur posts which helped us find the tank today... was splendid.... whilst there 5 other people turned up to see it... she still draws a
  • Nina French on Escape The South Downs WayHi Malcolm. Just wanted to say thanks for the guidance on the wonderful Kithurst Hill to Burpham and back walk. Did it today with Asterix the Beagle on a glorious
  • M art in hayes on 15 Litre Hydration Rucksack – Gear ReviewCan I fit a bigger rucksack over the top of this,whilst walking,sorry if this is a stupid question,I do carry water with me as I am a long distance walker.
  • Sharolyn Craft on Border Collie Dave – Chapter 8I lived your story. We rescued a Border Collie after our last one died. She taught herself how to be my husband’s Service Dog both snuffing to make sure his
  • Malcolm Oakley on Border Collie Dave – Chapter 9Hello Sophie, thank you for reading Dave's adventures, hope you are enjoying the insight into our life changes!
  • Sophie on Border Collie Dave – Chapter 9Great post! I love Dave - I'm glad you both had a great time walking out on Dartmoor. It's always so lovely there when the sun comes out. I hope
  • Malcolm Oakley on South Downs Churchill Tank – Sleeping GiantThank you for your comment. It's a beautiful location up by the tank, glad you enjoyed it.
  • Fred Brans on South Downs Churchill Tank – Sleeping GiantLooking around what to see in Storrington I found your story Aboutaleb the tank. Without your descripion I had never found it. Nice road to parking and walk way. Thanks
  • Mike Busby on South Downs Churchill Tank – Sleeping GiantThankyou for helping me find this. My father was in the Tank Regiment in the second world war and trained in Churchill tanks. Its a lovely spot and I often

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