RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Walk: Gibbet Piece to Quakerscorner

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Somewhere in the woods of this week’s walk to the west of Angmering Park Estate, the bones of highwayman Jack Upperton lie buried.

In 1771 he robbed the Steyning–Portsmouth mail coach, was tried and hung at Horsham and gibbeted for two years in these woods.

Gibbet Piece is the name of the wood where we start our 4.8-mile (7.5k) woodland walk.

The gibbet had rotted away by 1920, but the hole it left in the ground reputedly broke a horse’s leg and was filled in.

Someone laid flowers recently on the site, but I could not find it last week.

There is said to be paranormal activity there.

You can park on the corner of the minor road half a mile east of Warningcamp or at The Dover off the A27.

I started from the first car park and walked northeast past Hill Barn to Monarch’s Way then turned right on yellow arrow into Gibbet Piece, which today is a young beech wood.

The woodland track is firm afoot and continues southeast for half-a-mile. It passes what look like two second world war bomb craters.

In 1940 Stuka dive bombers destroyed Poling Radar Station which was two miles southwest. I believe military huts were relocated under the trees here.

Descend the slope to a crossway where a Southern Water pumping station is located, turn right on fingerpost southward.

You pass a magnificent old beech on bank to left, another like a gibbet to the right in a meadow.

The woodpeckers visit this quite often.

Path bends left past ornamental chickens and ducks, and comes to The Dover.

Turn right down tarmac road on fingerpost past the sign saying private road to Dover House.

Continue ahead south-westerly past Quakerscorner Copse.

This was a piece of coppice wood managed by the religious sect and today is rather damp, with a wide, medieval rue still visible with its banks.

It is a fine wood for spring flowers such as bluebells and wood anemones.

Note the old pond soaks and the pendulous sedges growing in clumps. Twenty-six paces after passing a Turkey oak, you will come to a right turn on yellow arrow.

Follow this forest track as it bends right through Braxby Copse and Bushy Field and back to the pumping station.

Did you see the fallen oak sawed in half?

I counted the rings and made it to be 150 years old.

Walk north up the bridleway into a long avenue of young Douglas firs.

In several places you pass old flint quarry pits, and the iron posts marking the park.

Finally you reach the tarmac track, so turn left on the blue arrow.

At this turn there is a bank with a very good chalk grassland flora containing wild strawberries among other flowers.

This track is Monarch’s Way and takes you back to your car.

You get a good view all around from up here, and the wind blows fiercely from the sea.

Then you think you can hear the creaking of the gibbet while the crows curse and stand in the thorns, looking as black as devils.