Isabel led this circular walk from the car park in Duncton Common and from there we headed west towards Heath End and Burton Park Road. We started out in the rain but all in good spirits - probably anticipating a splendid lunch. After some further showers we reached the end of our 4.1/2mile walk and headed for the White Horse in Graffham. After a very good lunch we had another amazing raffle organized by Marian and twelve lucky ticket buyers went home with a superb prizes. Thanks also to Mary for organizing this last big lunch of 2019.
Marian, Linda, Maddie and June led the walk through Petworth Park, the work of Capability Brown in the 1750/1760's. It was a frosty morning with low lying mist for much of the day and even with a bright sun, the frost remained in the shaded areas. It was a very pleasant walk with a break in the car park where coffee and snacks could be purchased. Petworth Park is full of the mounds of yellow meadow ants, often mistaken for molehills. The mounds may be up to 150 years old, a metre deep and act as a nursery for aphids collected by the ants and used as a food source. They are especially fond of the larvae of the Chalkhill Blue butterfly as they secrete an especially tasty substance, so the ants take good care of them during the winter. The later views towards the South Downs were enhanced by the mist in the Rother valley. Lunch was excellent in the Horse Guards pub in Tillington and most of the walkers then returned to the Park for a short walk into Petworth Town. Thanks to Marian for photos and Pauline for the map. The walk was about 6 miles in total.
Twelve brave walkers joined Paul on a walk along the River Lavant valley. The forecast was not exactly encouraging but nevertheless we all started out in the rain. Fortunately it stopped halfway through our walk. We started out on The Monarchs Way, diverted onto the West Sussex Literary Trail and then returned via the New Liphis Way (also called The Centurion Trail), this last part being the old Chichester to Midhurst railway track. The actual distance covered was just over 4 miles, despite the number of trails we had used! The last part of the walk we actually had some sunshine, before eventually retiring to the Royal Oak for an excellent lunch.
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.