Explore patchwork fields and the peaceful River Rother
<10 miles. 7-8 miles
Location: West Sussex
Duration: 3-4 hours
By bus: Buses run from Petersfield, Midhurst and Chichester. Visit traveline.info/se for full details.
By rail: The nearest railway station is Petersfield. Visit nationalrail.co.uk to plan your journey.
This walk takes you through beautiful peaceful English countryside with some tranquil river spots along the way.
Points of interest
Rising from several springs near Empshott in Hampshire, the River Rother winds its way through some stunning locations in the South Downs National Park. Willow and alder trees border much of the river, along with a patchwork of traditional water
meadows, pastures and hedgerows. The Rother Valley is a rich habitat for wildlife so keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers and herons on the banks. Otter have also been
spotted on some parts of the river so tread quietly and you might be in luck
At Nyewood you’ll get a clear view of the old disused railway. This line from Petersfield to Midhurst was opened on 1 September 1864, with stations in Elsted and
Rogate. The station at Rogate still stands today on the parish boundary at Nyewood, however the line closed on 5 February 1955.
As you approach South Harting from the north west you’ll see the site of the iron age hill fort on Torberry Hill to your left. Now covered in trees you can still appreciate the commanding view it once had across the landscape.
Winding 65 miles across spectacular countryside this well marked trail takes in some of the most stunning heathland in the South Downs. Following this route is a great way to spot fantastic wildlife such as shy adders, sun-worshipping lizards and the beautiful silver-studded blue butterfly. Keep your eyes on the ground for sundew, common cotton grass and a variety of heather, while above you might spot skylarks, Dartford warblers and the tuneful nightjar.
- From the bus stop outside the shop, head west down the main road, round the corner and take the first footpath on your right just before Parsonage Estate. Cross the field, pass through the hole in the hedge and turn right along the lane.
- Continue along the lane as it bends to the left, pass Slade Farm and at the sharp corner take the marked Public Way straight ahead.
- Continue along the path until you reach a junction with the Sussex Border Path. Turn left following the Public Byway sign.
- Continue past Durleighmarsh Farm to the A272. Take care crossing the fast road then turn right and follow the old A272 slip road adjacent to the main road.
- Turn left at the road following signs to Durford Mill. Cross the River Rother, then turn left at Wenham Edge following signs for the Serpent Trail along the lane.
- Where the lane bends left, bear to the right of the grassy triangle and follow the Serpent Trail footpath right along the edge of the wood. Cross the stile and bridge to walk alongside the large sand pits.
- Cross another stile and continue to follow the Serpent Trail way markers, turning left at the T-junction around Down Farm and continue along the track under the power lines.
- Cross the field passing through the tree line and turn left where the path splits. (For a longer walk take the path right to join the Harting walk at point 4). Follow this path crossing two stiles and a concrete bridge until you reach the road at Nyewood.
- Turn left along the road, crossing where the pavement ends, then turn right at the bend following the Serpent Trail along the road.
- Where the road enters a small wood take the wooded footpath left at the next bend.
- Turn left onto the bridleway, then where the track forks follow the footpath (between the tracks) keeping the hedge on your left – bear right at the T-junction.
- Turn left at the road then immediately right at the signposted footpath. After 10m
bear right following the signposted footpath between the hedges and follow the footpath across the field.
- Turn left along the lane and after 100m turn right to cross the River Rother using the wooden bridge. Bear left along the river, then turn right following the signpost
across the field.
- Continue across the next two fields following the signposts. At the third field bear right across the field, through the housing estate, turning left at the T-junction, then right at the main road back to the bus stop.