I much enjoyed this walk last week through the pine woods and heather slopes of the MOD training grounds at Longmoor Camp on the Hampshire/Sussex border. Distance 6kms (3.6 miles).
Park off road at end of long lane that runs north from the B2070, east of Rake.
This is the car park for Chapel Common SSSI. Walk west through Langley Wood along byway noting striking browse line made by rabbits under all the holly bushes.
Tall straight chestnuts, some thrown by the 1987 hurricane.
Turn right on reaching road, noting hard ferns and male ferns growing on roadside banks.
Massive oaks, ashes, and Wellingtonias grow along this road, and an old lime by the deep ditch with attendant jackdaws.
Cross the main railway line noting line of Norway spruce, then left on blue arrow keeping horse boxes on your left.
This brings us to the open access land around which we shall walk and which gave Langley its name: Long Leah, meadow clearing.
Roman road here. So walk left, keeping cattle trough on your right, along woodland path, with silver birches and a golden mass of tufted hair grass (Deschampsia caespitosa).
Also some vast old coppiced oaks with multi stems. Enter MOD land with its bylaws, and keep to right along fenceline. Lovely quiet place with old scots pines. Nightjars and woodlarks in summer, goldcrests and crossbills in winter.
There has been some severe gulleying in past which MOD are trying to mend. This is a hotspot for rare bees and wasps. Nicely cleared of birch scrub to allow heather and ling to increase.
You can leave the path opposite radio tower or turn right on blue arrow downhill through heathland finding blue arrow right. Brief view of Folly Pond below.
Path returns along southern edge of the open access land which you can enter through kissing gates.
The woodland on left has some decrepit old willows that made nest sites for marsh tits.
At four-crossways keep straight ahead on blue. Lots more tufted hair grass.
As you approach the end of access land note a wonderful old multi-stemmed scots pine on your left, about 150 years old.
Downhill, note small dogs’ graveyard under a yew tree on your right. ‘Mike’ died a century ago. Rather poignant.
At Derby Cottage model meerkats, herons, and Aphrodite keep them company. Return along same outward route to Morris not quite in the graveyard yet.