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Sussex walk around Levin Down

PUBLISHED: 14:48 21 March 2016

Views towards the downland village of Singleton, north of Chichester

Views towards the downland village of Singleton, north of Chichester

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Enjoy views, butterflies and wild flowers on this circular walk at Levin Down nature reserve, says Hazel Sillver

Levin Down

Levin Down nature reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust. The distinctive hill, which is a patchwork of chalk grassland, heath and scrub, gets its name from its geology and steepness – being impossible to plough or grow anything upon, in days gone by farmers referred to it as ‘Leave-Alone Hill’. The diverse flora and fauna here include the green hairstreak butterfly, scrub warblers and finches, juniper, cowslips, wild thyme, clustered bellflower, gentians and the rare autumn lady’s tresses orchid.


Weald and Downland

The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum (wealddown.co.uk, 01243 811348, PO18 0EU) is just outside Singleton. Explore replicas of traditional rural buildings and watch craft and domestic demonstrations, such as cooking, flour milling and blacksmithing. 


Where to refuel

Head to The Partridge pub in Singleton village (thepartridgeinn.co.uk, 01243 811251, PO18 0EY) or The Fox Goes Free pub in Charlton village (thefoxgoesfree.com, 01243 811461, PO18 0HU) – you can drive to Charlton or head there on foot, by veering off the walk route at stage 8.


Compass points

• Location: Singleton, near Chichester, West Sussex

• Distance: 2¾m (4.4k) – 1.5 hours to walk

• Terrain: a lot of up and down; grass and chalk paths.

• Where to park: in Singleton village, next to the school


Route

1 Walk up the wide signed footpath that runs from the bus stop between the school playground and the graveyard. Go through the gate into the field. Maintain direction, walking on the narrow path that leads uphill alongside hedging and eventually veers right towards a gate at the top of the field.

2 Go through two gates into another field. Maintain direction, heading uphill on a grassy path and ignoring the path that joins from the left. After the hawthorn tree, the path veers slightly right and leads towards a signpost.

3 At the signpost, maintain direction following the path towards a gate.

4 Go through the gate at the top of the field and maintain direction, walking on the right hand side of the fence. Eventually the grassy path leaves the fencing and begins to run alongside the tree line.

5 The path veers away from the trees and leads towards a gate. Go through the gate and follow the signpost right towards Goodwood, walking downwards on a wide chalk bridleway. After a few metres, head right following the footpath sign along a narrow path through hedgerow and going over the stile. Head left, walking along the edge of the field alongside fencing.

6 Go through the gate on your left into woodland. A narrow path leads past hazel trees and eventually takes you over a stile and onto heathland.

7 After the gate, the path gradually slopes downwards past hawthorns to a signpost. At the signpost head right, go through a gate and walk alongside fencing towards another gate.

8 Just before the gate, head right at the Sussex Wildlife Trust information board, following a narrow chalk path up the slope. The path soon divides – head left, following the lower narrow path that runs just above scrub and woodland.

9 After the steps and the gate, the path meanders through scrub and leads you through two more gates. After the gates, head left, walking alongside the tree line. Eventually head left again, passing through the two gates you came through at the beginning of the walk, and retrace your steps downhill back to the car.


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