Marian, Linda, June and Maddie took walkers from the old railway station in Lavant into the centre of Chichester along many footpaths and roads until we reached the city walls. The town was originally built by the Romans about 2,000 years ago and after a couple of centuries they decided to build a wall around their encampment. It was never used in anger and fell into disrepair until the Hundred Years war with the French prompted the inhabitants to do some repairs in 1378. It actually had an 800 seat amphitheatre but sadly this was destroyed by a crashing B-17 bomber in 1944. The morning was quite cold but not impossibly so, but we were nevertheless pleased to reach our lunch spot, The Crate and Apple. After some very good food many walkers then did a walk around the Cathedral and nearby gardens before eventually catching a bus to get back home. The morning walk was about 4 miles and another 3 or 4 were walked in the afternoon.
Jean's walk started from a one time Temperance Hall, now a public house owned by Fullers. It was a bright and somewhat chilly morning and after heading down towards Whitmore Vale, we turned right towards Whitmore Vale Farm before climbing up to the hilll surrounding the Golden Valley. After crossing the Tilford Road we headed for the Devil's Punch Bowl and the National Trust cafe in Hindhead. It was an excellent place for our coffee stop with additional snacks available in the cafe. From there we headed towards Haslemere and crossed the Hindhead Hill road to Tyndalls Wood and Nutcombe Valley. Another climb and we were overlooking the new A3 and the road tunnel from the comfort of Miss James' Bridge. The bridge is surfaced to allow animals to use it as well as people. Miss James (1831 - 1910) was a musician and a ladies companion who inherited her employer's estate, moved to Hindhead and was instrumental in raising enough money to buy Ludshott Common for the nation, as well as paying for and donating Grayshott Church and some nearby cottages to the village. She also gave land at Bramshott Chase and Nutcombe to the National Trust. After crossing the old A3 we took a more convenient route back to a very enjoyable lunch in the Fox and Pelican . The walk was around 5 miles.
Denis led a Magnificent Seven up in the woods above Rogate and also spent some time looking at the incredible bike track routes in the woods at Tullecombe. Toadstools/mushrooms were shooting up everywhere, but only about 4% of the varieties are worth eating, 1% can kill you and 20% may make you sick, whearas magic ones are just magical, so they say, so be careful (the sighting of a small dragon was not thought to be caused by any mushroom ingestion). Walkers reached The Jolly Drover in Hillbrow to enjoy a pleasant lunch before heading back to Rogate via Rogate Common and Slade Farm. The weather had been excellent during the morning but there was a bit of drizzle on the trip back to Rogate Recreation Ground. Many thanks to Isabel for mapping and Pauline for the photos.
Peter's walk was a stroll around Levin Down, near Chalton. It is a nature reserve looked after by the Sussex Wildlife Trust. The name Levin Down is thought to originate from the Saxon leave-alone Down and farming hasn't spolit it over the centuries. The Hardwick sheep keep the grass trimmed and Juniper thrives on this hill, as well as many varieties of wild flowers. The views were beautiful on a bright morning and the walkers were escorted by a dog for much of the walk but the dog cannot be blamed for anyone who may have slipped up. Lunch was taken in The Fox Goes Free and was excellent, but then William III often used to visit, so it must be good! The walk was about 4 miles.
After gathering together on a chilly morning the first building on the walk we passed was Middle Lodge built in 1840 as one of the entrances to Stansted Park, a 1,800 acre estate, now owned and managed by the charitable trust “Stansted Park Foundation”. Continuing in the forest in an area known as Batty’s Park our leader got confused on the many paths and took a bit of a diversion, but it didn’t detract from admiring the autumn colours and from keeping an eye out for the many deer frequently seen and heard nearby. A coffee break was taken in the grounds of Christ Church Forestside, built by the owner of Stansted House in 1852 to serve its estate workers. Further on the walk was again diverted, this time by woodland management which currently is concentrated around the control and managing of trees affected by Ash Dieback also known as Chalara, caused by a fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. This disease is a substantial threat to the UK’s forests and trees growing in parks and gardens. Lunch was taken in the Castle Inn at Rowlands Castle before the walk continued along the Avenue looking towards Stansted House. We passed a memorial marking the spot where a 23 year old Canadian air man who died when his Typhoon crashed here in 1944. The Avenue is also part of the Monarchs Way footpath which starts in Worcester and runs for 625 miles to Brighton. However, not wanting to go to Brighton that day, the group diverted and went back to the car park having covered six and quarter miles in total.