Saturday Walkers Club

Midhurst Way: Arundel to Midhurst Walk

Long walk though a remote and less visited part of the South Downs National Park

Length 18.9 miles ( 30.5 km) with 1850 ft (550 meters) of ascent
Toughness 9 out of 10 - (or 5/10 if done over 2 days)
OS Maps OS Explorer Maps: Ol33 (was 133), OL10 (was 121)

This is a very long (19 miles!) walk through a less visited part of the South Downs National Park. As a 1-day walk, its only suited to the longer days of summer. However, its can be split into 2 shorter walks by staying at a pub or B&B. en route. There is no public transport along the route to spit it into 2 one-day walks.

The route is over footpaths, bridleways, tracks and quiet country lanes. At first it is a climb from Arundel up the wooded dip-slope of the South Downs to the crest at Yew Tree Gate, a popular picnic spot.

Thence an open downland walk with views in every direction until you reach West Burton, a hamlet nestling at the base of the downs with its own stream. The countryside now changes to broad, gently undulating fields of corn in summertime until you reach Bignor. Here is the site for the Roman Villa now surrounded by vineyards. Underneath the downs there is a network of winding lanes and small villages, woodland mixed with open fields, low hills and streams, ponds and lakes.

After Bignor you follow the South Downs Way come to Sutton and a popular pub, The White Horse, then Barlavington with the famous old yew tree. On the next downland rise the views across to Burton Park and Petworth are breathtaking.

For those contemplating breaking their hike hear you can make a short diversion to Toad Hall at Duncton west of The Way or to The Carriage House east of The Way at Burton Park

As you approach the River Rother Valley, Coultershaw and Rotherbridge the scenery changes yet again to a wooded riverine environment immediately followed by wide stretches of open farnland, gently rising to Tillington and its beautiful church. You're now on very different geology, sandstone, which supports a totally different ecology to the chalk downland. Quite noticeable is the way land useage has changed recently, and large vineyards stretch across the upland landscape for several miles.

The Midhurst Way follows this sandstone upland - it stretches from near Petersfield in the West to West Chiltington in the East - through River to Lodsworth. Adjoining the Lodsworth Larder (a community eco shop) is the Hollist Arms. Two miles ahead is the Cowdray Farm Shop & Café in Easebourne. But, before getting to Easebourne on the outskirts of Midhurst, home to the Cowdray Estate, enjoy Cowdray Park to the full as you drop down the hill and espy the 1000 year old Queen Elizabeth Oak, still standing solidly with a full crown of leaves. Fourteen people shoulder-to-shoulder can stand inside the trunk.Lots of other magnificent old trees still grow on this wonderful open-grassed hillside, a place of timeless beauty. To commemorate the Queen's Jubilee, Cowdray have planted an avenue of 60 lime trees on the hillside so they flank the Way above, and to, Steward's Pond.

As you traverse the fairway of Cowdray Golf Course, you are on a broad hill with panoramic views to the horizon in the West, the downs above South Harting. The Liberal yellow paintwork of the Cowdray houses give visual credence to the belief that Midhurst is in reality a sunny place as well as being so in the minds and hearts of its people. H.G.Wells who grew up here said " Midhurst has always been a happy place for me. I supposed it rained there at times but all my memories of Midhurst are in sunshine'

The final visual joy, as you trudge the last mile, preceded by the smooth-as-velvet polo fields with their mown stripes, is Cowdray Castle enclosed on two sides by the serpentine River Rother, and its wooded river bluff. As you go down the Castle Causeway turn round and look at the castle in the evening light . It's magical. There is no place quite like it.

This walk's website has the latest information about the walk, more detailed directions, and photos

Walk Options

This walk can be combined with the Haslemere to Midhurst walk to form the Midhurst Way - a 3 day south to north traverse of the South Downs National Park.

Eat and Stay

The White Horse (01798 869221) at SUTTON has good food

At the mid-point is COULTERSHAW BRIDGE over the River Rother - with the excellent Old Railway Station (01798 342346) for b&b and Badgers Inn (01798 342651) for food (and b&b).

A b&b in BURTON PARK is The Carriage House and , if you take a short diversion to DUNCTON, Toad Hall. The Cricketers at DUNCTON do good grub. A few miles further on north , TILLINGTON has the Horseguards Inn (01798 342332) with good food and b&b. It's close to Petworth and Petworth Park NT


Trains from London Victoria go to Arundel. Return from Midhurst by bus to Pulborough station (on the Arundel line) or Haslemere (on a different line to Waterloo requiring a more expensive ticket - a return to Chichester should be valid via both routes)

Check the times of the last bus! You might find it less stressful to do the walk in reverse, and finish at Arundel rtrain station.

Taxi: BJ's Private Hire (01730 716327 or 07732 590806). Midhurst back to Arundel - £28 to take 4, £58 to take 8.

Author This walk is © John Trueman

Bus Travel from Midhurst Updated Jul-16

There are 4 routes to choose from.

  • Catch a bus to/from a station, peferably on the same line you arrived from. If not possible, buy a more expensive ticket to Chichester, which is valid on both lines.
  • Bus times change frequently. Check before you travel. Especially the time of the last bus!
  • Stagecoach have a £2 Evening fare after 7pm

Waterloo line to Haslemere / Petersfield

  • North to Haslemere (Mon-Sat, not Sun)
    • Take Stagecoach bus #70 north to Haslemere.
    • Mon-Sat: hourly at xx:58 until 7.03pm. Takes 20 mins.
  • West to Petersfield (Mon-Sat, not Sun, early last bus)
    • Take Emsworth bus #91 / #92 west to Petersfield.
    • Mon-Sat: every 60 mins at xx:58 to 3:58, then 5:30pm. Takes 30 - 45 mins.

Victoria line to Pulbrough / Amberley / Arundel

  • East to Pulborough (daily)
    • Take Stagecoach bus #1 east to Pulborough.
    • Mon-Sat: approx hourly till 6.43pm. Sun: 2 hourly till 6.28pm. Takes 30 mins.

Both lines (a more expensive ticket to Chichester, valid for all the above stations)

  • South to Chichester (daily, till late Mon-Sat)
    • Take Stagecoach #60 south to Chichester.
    • Mon-Sat: every 30 mins till late, Sun: hourly till 6:30pm. Takes 25 mins,
    • About £4. You will need a train ticket to Chichester.
    • Chichester's trains aren't evenly spaced, if you miss one you may have a long wait.
    • The bus station is opposite the train station. Buses leave from behind it.

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Out: (not a train station)

By Car

Start: BN18 9PH | Directions

Finish: Midurst, West Sussex | [Directions]


Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234



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Walk Directions  

The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

  1. Cross the A27 and head for the two single storey cottages on the north-west side of the roundabout between the A27 and the A284 London Rd and enter the restricted byway between the two cottages, signposted Chalk Springs Trout Farm.
  2. Walk through the mini industrial estate half a mile down - a media company and others - and continue up the track to a gate. From here take the footpath up the slope to the right for half a mile until you hit a rough stone track going north-west to south east.
  3. Turn left onto this flint track - see picture below entitled Rough - which runs along the contour, drops down into a valley and up a stiff slope the other side to a footpath sign indicating half left into the forest - the metalled track goes on. Shortly, the path becomes narrow and in places obstructed with broken yew tree branches. Keep going through the yew trees, most of which are on your left or westward side - the path is difficult to see here - and follow it down hill to where you hit a track with a single post right of way sign.
  4. It now becomes a stiff uphill walk until you hit a track with a signpost showing the path to be ahead (not down the track). Shortly after this you hit the crest. Go straight ahead and follow the path down the scarp to the earth and plank stairway.
  5. Cross the main A29 road and follow the track to The Denture.
  6. Turn off right at Barhale Wood and follow path to West Burton Hill.
  7. Thence through the wood and, finally, downhill to West Burton .
  8. Turn left at the junction of the track and the lane where there are several cottages and a stream.
  9. You may need to walk round standing corn as the path has not been left by the farmer. There is a way round the last field on its southern edge.
  10. Continue left on the lane at Bignor – the Roman Villa with its vineyard is in front of you across the lane.
  11. Bear right down the lane past Jay’s Farm and after a few hundred yards where you see a footpath sign to the left just in front of a cottage take the path down this valley past Bignor Mills and across the fields to Sutton.
  12. When you hit the lane at Sutton the White Horse pub is immediately ahead. Turn left through the pub car park and follow the footpath through the gardens of private houses, across the fields, and down the slope to a small wooded stream.
  13. Bear right up the meadow, across a style in a large hedge, turn sharp left along the track to Barlavington Farm.
  14. Turn left just before the farmyard and follow the path through the churchyard to the farm drive, continue down this a short way and follow the right of way sign west past an old yew tree, down the hill to the stream, across the lane, up the next hill – a field – to where it joins the lane again with views to Burton Park to the right (north-east).
  15. Continue around the big field with wood on your left, downhill past the pond and through the park to Burton Park Farm and thence to the next lane.
  16. Cross the road and go through the wood to Heath End.
  17. Turn right on to the busy main road – Petworth to Chichester – and follow the pavement (sidewalk) until you hit the old railway bridge. You get a good view eastwards to the Old Railway Station B&B with its Pullman carriages.
  18. Turn left immediately after the old bridge and follow the lane - a bridleway - to Rotherbridge, and cross the River Rother by the new bridleway bridge. Thence via a sunken track, Hunger Lane, through the sandstone bluff to the intersection with the next lane. Turn left to Sokenholes, Coxland Cottages and Tillington.
  19. Cross the main road – Midhurst to Petworth – into Tillington and turn sharp left after 50 yards up a rise into the village, following the lane to a churchyard entrance on the left after about 100 yards.
  20. Follow the path though the churchyard, turning sharp right at the avenue of trees, pass through the gate - see picture - cross the lane, and go up steps into a field.
  21. Continue across this field into the vineyard, across a deep, hidden old lane to Upperton Farm and thence up into more vineyards owned by Nyetimber.
  22. Cross New Road and follow the lane opposite – going north-west - to River via Dene Dip.
  23. Take the footpath left after the right hand bend down a tunnel of shrubs and trees to Eel Bridge over the River Lod. Cross Lodsworth Common (not marked) to St Peter’s Well, taking Vicarage Lane – to the right of the big house - up into the village.
  24. Turn right into The Street, after 100 yards turn left past the Hollist Arms in the direction of the Village Hall. Adjoining The Hollist Arms is the Lodsworth Larder, the village shop, crafted from local forest timber and stocked with local produce and run by volunteers.
  25. Continue down the lane to a sharp left hand bend at Heath End Farm, take the footpath ahead down the edge of the wood – Heathend Copse – round the field edge, across a broken style and into Cowdray Park, with views in every direction, through the Jubilee Avenue of 60 recently planted lime-trees celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee thence downhill to Steward’s Pond.
  26. The 1000 year old Queen Elizabeth Oak is to the right of the pond, surrounded by other ancient trees covering the hillside.
  27. Continue past Steward's Pond on its southern edge, to the fence 50 yards ahead, pass through the swing gate, into a broad grassy way, bearing right, continue through the trees up the slope to where it breaks out on the fairway of Cowdray Golf Course.
  28. Cross over the golf course and down into another sunken pathway, finally crossing fields to The Race, an avenue of ancient chestnut trees.
  29. Turn left before The Race and follow the field margin to the main road at Easebourne – Midhurst to Petworth Road ; or follow The Race itself which is rougher going.
  30. Cross the main road and continue on a broad track, at first metalled, through Cowdray Park – the Cowdray Farm Shop & Café (Food Emporium) is on your right – to Cowdray Castle. Turn right through the gates over the River Rother and follow the Causeway to North Street Car Park, your finishing point.
  31. The South Downs National Park Authority new HQ, Capron House, is across the road (North Street) opposite the Bus Station