RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Amberley Mount

editorial image

If you choose a clear day, you will fly like an eagle above Sussex and even into Surrey on this 3.8-mile (6kms) walk across the heights.

Limited roadside grass parking at Canada farm buildings TQ039111 up tiny rough minor road from North Stoke, Amberley. Northeast on maroon arrow uphill on stony track on to the high plateau cut by deep valleys into wide open fields.

Track sides are planted with wild bird strips that provide food for finch flocks mainly goldfinches. Lots of skylarks here too and even grey partridge.

This part of the Norfolk Estate is a conservation area organised by FWAG. After 500m, left at crossways through metal gate, steep downhill into confluence of two valleys with the remains of an ancient dewpond at the bottom.

Valleys carved out of the chalk during the past two Ice Ages, ten to 18,000 years ago.

Now sheep-grazed to retain the splendid downland turf that has wild orchids in spring and 25 species of butterflies in the summer.

Keep to right of the huge pond outline and look right to hedge for a blue arrow that will take you up out of this deliciously-silent place redolent of a century past and the writings of WH Hudson, northward up the track to Amberley Mount, and the turning right onto the South Downs Way.

There are few views in the world as good as what you see here. Far to the west is Shoulder of Mutton Hill at Steep. Northwest is Blackdown, 14 miles and north are the North Downs at Guildford, 22 miles.

Below to the north is Arun valley and Amberley Wildbrooks while Parham Park with its brackeny hills and deer park is a mile below on the left.

After just under a mile along the SDW you come to the Rackham Banks which are ancient fortifications before Rackham Hill. Here is a crossway, where you take the bridleway right with a shelter belt of pines, birch and cypress trees.

Follow the path, keeping these trees on your right and after 300 yards join the maroon arrow and continue east. The country of bare hills and wide open chalky fields is a favourite haunt of birders who see peregrines, buzzards, red kites and ravens.

After another 300 yards turn right on to stony track southwest for almost a mile when you turn right onto restricted byway maroon arrow. To the left you will see Harrow Hill, the famous Neolithic encampment and hillfort with flint mines.

Your track now returns west and southwest back to Canada and in my case an old car the Canadian troops practising for D-Day on these fields would have thought was ultra modern.

This was one of the best walks I’ve ever had, but do choose a clear calm day for those views.