RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Walk: Hat Hill and The Trundle

West Dean and Goodwood estates provide rite of passage for much of this 6.2-mile (10km) walk.

With two strong climbs, it provides a right good workout, too.

There are two public houses en route, both providing parking if you use them, in Singleton and West Dean.

Otherwise there are the car parks either side of the Trundle on Goodwood racecourse hill.

Let us begin by the horse course and trot gently downhill along Knight’s Hill road towards Charlton.

Views are wonderful north to Levin Down nature reserve and beyond to Charlton Forest.

After 500 yards, left into fields along the West Sussex Literary Trail and the steep drop down to Singleton.

Here you will find the Blessed Virgin Mary with its Saxon, Norman and medieval parts, its Crusader graffiti, and its tablet to a famous hunt master by the name of Thomas Johnson whose epitaph concludes: “… Unpleasing truth – Death hunts us from our birth, in view; and Men, like Foxes, take to Earth”.

An old female yew tree in the churchyard is currently loaded with little Chinese lanterns which are its red fruit.

Cross the A286, and the cricket pitch and climb north-westward up Hat Hill which in spring and summer has downland flowers and butterlies such as small copper and common blue.

View behind of the Open Air Museum.

You cross the route of the old Midhurst railway line.

Follow the old hedge of field maples, hazels, and blackthorn bushes which support a colony of the autumn-flying brown hairsteak butterfly.

Arrival at Puttocks Copse reminds us that buzzards nested here centuries ago, as they still do.

Turn left on yellow arrow over stile through coppice wood which in spring has several species of orchids.

Turn left again at the minor road and trot downhill under the autumn leaves to the main road.

A pavement takes you west, past the gates to West Dean College, and The Dean public house, where turn left down side road to West Dean Stores with its little café.

At the River Lavant, turn right along the road past the ornamental stone bridges, then find Monarch’s Way running uphill along the stone wall of the West Dean arboretum, all the way to the Goodwood boundary above Lavant Down.

The arboretum, which is where its late owner Edward James lies buried, has the tallest Douglas firs in the south of England.

Now we have the final furlongs to the summit of this glorious walk as we climb the ramparts of the Trundle, an Iron Age fort.

Its banks have some of

the best chalk flora in

Sussex with a mass of pyramid, spotted, and early purple orchids in May, June and July.

Not to mention the chalkhill blues and a score of other butterflies.

By now you will be blowing, as much as the autumn winds, but feeling the better for it all after this land in view.