Chalton to Rake

Foxcombe Farm © Shazz
Towards Butser Hill © Chris Gunns
Durford Wood © Chris Gunns

A climb through woodland to a crossing of the South Downs Way. A descent of the scarp of the Downs to Harting is followed by another steady ascent on sandy soil through more woodlands and a final stretch along the foot of Rake Hanger.

This is a trail in the Sussex Border Path collection of trails. Together they describe the full length of this long distance footpath.

From churchyard at Chalton, turn right in front of Red Lion P.H. and almost immediately fork right again at a road junction, then continue on road to right. Near top of rise take footpath to left (not first track left) (GR 734160). Head due east to stile in first fence line, then drop steeply downhill to reach road near cottage. Turn left for 30 yards then take footpath on right to cross railway footbridge and so reach Woodcroft Farm.

From farm, cross private road leading to Ditcham Park School and follow track opposite, immediately forking right on bridleway along valley bottom. After half a mile, bear left on wider track. In 400 yards, keep ahead across wider crossing track. In another half mile, where track curves to left at GR 756169, turn sharply right through gap alongside field gate and almost immediately left again to follow narrow footpath into woodland. Shortly pass old circular pool and continue uphill on narrow winding path. The climb continues for a good half mile - you should stay in the woodland but generally with the edge of the wood in sight to your right. Eventually, the path joins a wide track in same direction - follow this to the next crossing track, where you bear left. After a short distance this crosses a shingle track, where you continue ahead on a narrow path with glimpses of views to your right. Join a wider track leading downhill. This in turn joins another track where you bear left to the impressive Foxcombe House. Now keep straight ahead on the tarmac lane which climbs gently to a crossing of the South Downs Way. Continue ahead to descend Hemner Hill to join B2146 road at GR 777197 near South Harting.

Cross the B2146 with care to the footpath opposite (not shown on some maps). Follow the path through woodland around the flank of Torberry Hill until it descends to a minor road. Continue ahead on the minor road, turning left shortly at the road junction (signposted Quebec). Follow this lane (ignoring crossing path) to the next road junction - keep right (signposted Rogate). Stay with this lane for another half-mile (ignoring right fork).

On reaching T-junction at GR 783216, turn left (north) for 200 yards before turning right over stile beside metal gate and along the left edge of a field. Continue east in second field and turn left over a pair of stiles in hedge line. Head NNE to bridge across stream under power lines and on to another stile and 2 footbridges in hedge. Cross pasture to track at Down Park Farm. Turn right on track for 100 yards, then turn left to head generally north following a fence line with rough common land to left at first, then a birch copse.

At end of path (approaching isolated house) go left through kissing gate and immediately across stile ahead over metal fence. Cut diagonally left across corner of paddock to another stile over metal fence. Turn right on track to pass through remains of old railway bridge at GR 789230, then continue with right hand fence. Continue north along rough field edge, then crossing stile to meadow, bearing right to metal gate at concrete bridge over River Rother. Follow track to main A272 road at Wenham Manor Farm (GR 790236). Turn left along verge of A272 for about 400 yards before turning right on track to Durleighmarsh Farm.

At end of made-up road continue ahead on sunken track which soon heads north (ignore forks right). On reaching woodland at a bench seat (GR 787247), fork right, and later left on marked bridleway through Durfold Wood (National Trust). Stay with the marked path in the wooded valley bottom (ignoring other tracks) as it climbs steadily for about a mile. Bear right at a joining path to quickly reach a car park at a road near Hill Brow (Clayton Court). At this point (GR 791260) turn left and in 100 yards, turn right on lane to Milland. After about 400 yards, path forks left through railings on slight right hand bend in lane. In about 20 yards take furthest left of two tracks along foot of Rake Hanger. After about a mile, path joins track at houses. Continue ahead to road, keeping left on road to climb to B2070 by Flying Bull P.H. at Rake.

Sussex Cottages

Beautiful Sussex holiday cottages and self-catering accommodation perfectly located for walking and cycling the trails of this unique county