Take a walk on the wild side

Written by John Randall

So here we are in Lockdown 3.0 and the pandemic has thrown up a lot of challenges, as we all adapt to the ‘new normal’. If there can be any silver linings from lockdowns, it has given my wife and I the opportunity to explore the South Downs, starting from our doorstep in Church Green, Shoreham as part of our permitted exercise.

During the past 11 months we have discovered the many footpaths that criss-cross the Downs that form a natural backdrop to our area. Having walked many of them several times now since last March, we have witnessed the unfolding beauty of nature through all four seasons and as February begins, we are now seeing tentative signs that spring 2021 is just around the corner.

Here’s one of our favourite short walks that offers some great views over Shoreham and the English Channel beyond.

Church Green, Slonk Hill, Southwick Hill and back (1 hour 45 mins, 4 miles, 287 calories). Start and finish – either your home or New Barn Road (Shoreham)

If driving to the start, park with consideration for residents in New Barn Road then walk up the road until a bridge takes you over the A27.

Continue ahead toward Slonk Hill Farm. Just ahead of the farm gate the path takes a sharp right turn. Follow this round the edge of the field and through some trees until you come to a track/road (Stone Road).

Turn left, past a field (on your left) with chickens, ducks and geese. After 5 minutes you pass the entrance to the Happy Valley Riding School.

Continue ahead and after the few yards the track/road turns into a footpath. Keep to the path as it gradually rises before making a sharp turn to the right.  To your left is a wide valley and on your right a hedge row.

After half a mile the path comes to T junction.  Turning right takes you towards Southwick Hill. (The footpath to the left will eventually take you past Erringham Farm and onto Mill Hill Road, where you can walk back down into Shoreham.)

The right hand footpath continues to rise towards Crooked Moon Ridge, giving stunning views across Shoreham and Southwick, including the entrance to the Shoreham Harbour and on a clear day the wind farm on the horizon.

After a ¼ mile the footpath meets the main track coming down from Truleigh Hill. At this point there’s a bench where, if you’re lucky, as it’s a popular spot, you can take a rest and enjoy the views.

Continue the main footpath as it gradually descends to Southwick Hill with a triangulation point to your right. The path continues to descend as it makes a gradual turn to the right.

Where a number of paths cross, keep right and continue to descend keeping views of the Holmbush retail park to your right. Here the path narrows at times before coming out at the top of Upper Kingston Lane. From here, my wife and I cross over the Old Shoreham Road via the footbridge and head back to Church Green.

If you’ve parked in New Barn Road, turn right along Kingston Broadway, past a parade of shops and the Wadurs swimming pool.

Cross the main road via the traffic lights. Turn right towards the Royal George Pub. Continue along the Upper Shoreham Road until you come to the entrance of Southlands Hospital and New Barn Road on the opposite side of the road.

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