West Sussex walk - Nuthurst

PUBLISHED: 09:04 28 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:04 28 April 2020

St Andrew's Church, Nuthurst

St Andrew's Church, Nuthurst

Deirdre huston

A lingering stroll through bluebell woods and fields as soft light dapples through the leaves and the heady scent of bluebells wafts through the air.

A stream, bluebells and ferns: Blindman's Wood has an ancient feel.A stream, bluebells and ferns: Blindman's Wood has an ancient feel.

This walk was recommended to me as a wonderful place to see bluebells, and while they may be gone by the time lockdown ends, it’s a delightful route at any time of year. The first section is suitable for most people and takes you through mixed woodland and Scot’s pine. There’s a babbling brook and the noise of rushing water is very soothing, almost soporific. In season, the small stream has fern-clad mossy banks. Light catches on the tall trunks of Scot’s pines. Towards the end of the wood, there is a section of closely packed birch trees.

Take some time to explore St. Andrew’s Church. The north chancel dates from the 12th century and is the oldest part of the building. Look out for the wooden parish chest, made from a single hollowed-out log. The fastenings indicate that this was probably a tithe chest and it’s thought to have carried taxes and tithes from the parish to France because the church was once administered by the Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy. In one corner, see an Elizabethan dole cupboard used to dispense charity. At the rear of the church, a remarkable stained glass window by Thomas Denny was commissioned in memory of a tragic young man, Alexander Moschini. See if you can spot Chanctonbury Ring and other scenes within its blue tones.

THE WALK

The Moschini window, Nuthurst churchThe Moschini window, Nuthurst church

1. Almost opposite the church, walk along a signed tarmac bridleway (also signed for Cooks Farm). Pass the entrance to Architectural Plants.

2. At the wooden waymarker turn left, staying on the tarmac path. Cross over a stream and, a few steps on, turn right at the signpost. Pass a barn and, at the next signpost, continue straight ahead on the bridleway.

3. Near a house, turn right at the signpost, along the bridleway through woods. Follow the path through Lodgesale Wood. The track runs beside some closely packed slender birches. At the lane, turn left and walk past Hop Gardens’ cottage.

4. Turn right along the signed bridleway along Newells Rough. Pass another waymarker and continue straight on. Pass a lake and continue on this path with a fenced field on one side and woods on the other. See a second distant lake to your right. Cross a footbridge and continue on past a couple of marker posts.

5. At the three-way signpost, turn right. At the next couple of three-way signposts, continue straight on along the bridleway. Walk alongside the stream. The path widens.

6. At the road, turn right and take care walking along the lane to the junction. Pass Green Acres Farm.

7. At the road junction with the white sign, walk right along Prings Lane towards Horsham. Almost immediately, after the barn, turn left at the signpost. Climb over a stile and walk on, to the right of the line of trees. Climb another stile and continue straight ahead on the signed footpath.

Pass a marker post and climb over another stile. Walk diagonally right past a small pond.

8. Beside another marker post, climb over a stile. Turn diagonally right along the signed footpath across a field. At the signpost, climb over the stile and walk straight ahead through Copperfield Woods on

the footpath.

9. Turn right at the signpost. This fenced path offers views over a wooded hill. Turn left through a gate and walk along a signed footpath across the field. At the marker post, walk right down the field edge. Continue through another gate. Arrive back at Point 2 and turn left to return.

COMPASS POINTS

Location: Nuthurst, near Horsham

Distance: 3.4 miles – one and a half hours to walk plus stops

Terrain: woodland and field paths which may be muddy. Short stretch along a lane

Easy access: The first section is tarmac and then a compacted stone woodland path suitable for those with reduced mobility. Turn back at Point 3 because after that it becomes more uneven, muddier, and with several stiles

Where to park: roadside, near the church

SAT NAV RH13 6LH

Map: O.S.Explorer 34, Crawley and Horsham

Navigation: easy

Dog-friendly: yes

WATERING HOLE

Near the start of the walk is The Black Horse Inn (Nuthurst Street, Nuthurst, West Sussex; Tel: 01403 891 272; www.theblackhorseinn.com). This low-beamed inn was originally three cottages built for estate workers and dates back to the 17th century. Enjoy a friendly welcome, local ales, a choice of menus and a garden with a stream. Booking highly recommended at weekends.

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