RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Walk: Duncton Down to Glatting Beacon

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I enjoyed this 6.2-mile (10km) walk on a very clear, fine day earlier this month.

The views to all points of the compass were the best I have ever seen.

I parked at Duncton Hill carpark which overlooks the Weald, SU955161. There is an alternative park at the far end of this walk at Glatting Beacon SU974130 if you start there. Or you can use public transport on the bus route between Chichester and Petworth which stops where this walk crosses the A285 at Littleton Farm.

From Duncton carpark I walked back up the hill, following the road on the footpath to the entrance to the quarry, then crossed the A285 eastward and walked on upwards over the cornfield of Duncton Down.

The view over Surrey hills as far northeast as Leith Hill lifts the spirits like a magnet picking up an empty beer can.

Northwest, the Shoulder of Mutton rises where first world war poet Edward Thomas has his memorial stone. Blackdown Hill, where Sebastopol poet Alfred Tennyson lived, is north of us here.

Two ravens beginning courtship accompanied me over this hill. Path dives into recent ash woods on ancient droveway. I turned sharp right on fingerpost where some recent hazel coppicing will reveal various woodland orchids in four months. Right again on bridlepath sign uphill, following woodland edge eventually around the top of Barlavington Hanger, going southward until I came upon the splendid view east of Amberley Wildbrooks, then all in flood together with Pulborough Brooks.

What a scene, with the green slopes of Amberley Mount and on east to Firle Beacon. Notices here tell us local farmers are doing as much as they are able to integrate wildlife such as skylarks, barn owls and flocks of finches that need to feed on winter stubbles. Downhill to the six crossing paths where I kept straight ahead uphill through a root field where I saw shepherds purse flowers with groundsel – both useful for skylarks.

Through bridlegate and into a chalk grassland reserve where you will see spotted orchids and cowslips in early summer, then downhill from Farm Hill into groves of beech trees.

After another gate I crossed a banked causeway over the fields where elder bushes provide fruit for fieldfares and blackbirds.

At the next track junction in a muddy lane I kept straight ahead through the dog-leg, uphill, over a meadow, to the twin towers, but turned sharp right just before them. This took me southwest to a brilliant view over the English Channel where a carved tree trunk seat provided a useful perch for lunch.

Sharp right at this five crossway took me northwest along the South Downs Way over Sutton Down and Littleton Down and past two splendid Bronze Age earthworks and down to Littleton Farm, the bus stop, and across the A285.

Uphill 200 yards and sharp right on yellow footpath fingerpost to enjoy the wonderful hedge rue where robins, blackbirds, great tits and a score more species breed among the ivy and old timbers.

The farm is a model of integration between wildlife and food production. A stile took me into a meadow, and keeping to the wood edge then into the hazel coppice.

I found what seemed like a Roman road but probably is not, back to the quarry, my old Alvis, and a well-earned cup of hot chocolate. I bet you too will feel fulfilled by this fabulous walk especially if you choose a fine day.