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Route for a Sussex walk around Stanmer Park

PUBLISHED: 11:38 05 March 2019

Stanmer House (Photo by Deirdre Huston)

Stanmer House (Photo by Deirdre Huston)

Deirdre Huston

Brighton’s pleasure ground Stanmer Park forms the backdrop for this wintry walk

Stanmer Park

This popular park on the outskirts of Brighton provides a wonderful example of an 18th century large house, working village and church and is the focus of a Restoration Project with Heritage Lottery Funding to restore its notable designed landscape. The restoration aims to restore the historic essence of the parkland’s setting. The Frankland Monument will be restored along with the walled garden and orchards and the layout of the park will be improved to open up views, and incorporate suitable parking and access.

As you wander, a sense of community is evident. Stanmer Preservation Society improves, protects and preserves the village and its environment for the benefit of the public. They also look after Stanmer Rural Museum’s collection and archive, the donkey wheel and organise events. On Sunday afternoons, they open the church and run a bookstall. Stanmer churchyard bears witness to the Pelham family as well as local workers such as a headmistress and a labourer who died of sunstroke in the harvest field. Don’t miss Home Farm Orchard, planted with Sussex apples such as Eastbourne Pippin, Crawley Reinette or Sussex Mother. In winter it may play host to redwings and fieldfares.


Where to refuel

In the heart of the village, Stanmer Tea Rooms (BN1 9PZ; 01273 604041; no website; open 10am - 4pm) is under new management and plans to continue offering traditional fare such as cakes, cream teas and all-day breakfasts.

Stanmer House Restaurant offers drinks, snacks, meals and afternoon tea in the rather luxurious restored formal rooms of the 18th century mansion. The open fires are a welcome sight in winter.


Information

• Location: Stanmer Park and nearby downland

• Distance: 4.8 miles (7.8km) – two hours to walk plus stops. Three mile (4.8km) shortcut good for rainy days and families

• Terrain: Some gradients. A mixture of surfaces

• Parking: Upper Lodges Car Park, Ditchling Road, between Brighton and Ditchling Beacon. Gates close at 5pm. BN1 9QB

• Map: O.S.Explorer 122

• Further information: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk

The walk

1 Go to the wooden signpost at the centre of the car park. Walk east along the tarmac bridleway away from the car park past the Stanmer Park Restoration Project notice. Go through a metal gate and walk between the houses: Upper Lodges.

2 Turn right at the signpost and go around the metal gate. Keep left at the fork and stay on this track as it gradually descends through the woodland.

3 At the clearing, pass two paths on your left. Walk straight on past the car park. After a few steps reach a fork. Turn left down the left hand path. Continue to descend through woods. The steep wooded slope on your left gradually becomes more gentle. Glimpse downland fields through trees.

4 Turn left at a crossroads of paths, and walk down the slope to double back along the edge of the woods next to a field.

5 Turn right at the Frankland Monument. Continue past the dead trees and turn left at the bench. Walk a few steps to the large open grassy area and turn right. See the Amex Stadium on your distant right and glimpse Stanmer House on your left. Walk down to near the car park and road. Turn left and walk parallel with the road.

6 Walk left along the road past Stanmer House. Stay on the road as it curves right. Divert left along a narrow mud track to see Home Farm Orchard or walk on past the church.

7 Turn left along the unsigned footpath and residential road past the barns. Pass public WC and Stanmer Tea Rooms then more flint cottages.

8 For a shortcut, turn left up the steepish but hard-surfaced bridleway and lane and continue up until you reach the car park. Otherwise, at the signpost, walk straight ahead along the bridleway and farm track. Pass a couple of barns. At the fork, keep right on up the bridleway with fields on both sides. The slope becomes steeper.

9 At the top, turn left at the crossroads and walk past the pylon to steadily climb this wooded track. Glimpse downland right beyond trees and a flint wall. You may notice a marker post and, towards the top, a house and barn. At the wooden signpost, continue straight ahead along the bridleway through the woods. Continue straight on at the next signpost too. See a corrugated iron barn on your right and walk straight on past a faded marker post and kissing gate to a field.

10 Reach a marker post near the road and continue straight on along footpath 31. This woodland path runs parallel with the road. Go through a gate into Brighton & Hove Access Land. See far-reaching downland views to the Amex Stadium and a dew pond, (possibly dry) but head right to stay on the unsigned mud footpath which continues through a rough grassy field, parallel to the road. Go through a gate and take a few steps to the left side and then continue straight on along the footpath and field boundary. After a small section of concrete path, go through a gate. Walk straight on along a wooded track. Recognise the tarmac track from the start of your walk and turn right past the lodges to the car park.


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