Eartham to Puck Lane and Nore Hill Folly walk
Slindon Estate, West SussexRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Slindon is our largest traditional estate on the South Downs. This walk around Nore Hill Folly from The George Inn at Eartham is perfect for warm days in Spring, Summer, and Autumn, with much of the route overhung and shaded by trees. There is a superb show of bluebells here from as early as mid-April.
- Bus stop
Start: The George Inn, Eartham, grid ref: SU938094
From The George, walk towards Great Ballard School and follow the road to your left past a row of cottages. This walk continues straight on beside the farmyard, through a gateway by a public footpath sign, while the road turns right.
Keeping the hedge to your left, go down and past the handsome little flint and brick octagonal pumphouse. The track rises gently onwards under the gracefully overhanging boughs of mature Scots Pines until it goes straight ahead through a thin spur of woodland. Turn left at the stile and yellow-arrowed signpost.
An octagonal pump house to supply the nearby great house, built in flint and brick - traditional materials in the South Downs.
After about 130yds (120m) turn right at the yellow-arrowed signpost to keep the woodland to your left - in another 220yds (200m), go left at the stile and blue-arrowed signpost to join Puck Lane bridleway.
Puck Lane bridleway rises through ancient woodland for around half a mile - mostly beech with a typical Downland mixture of holly, yew, and ash. These woods are regenerating naturally after the devastation of the Great Storm of 1987 - we have left many of the fallen trees as havens for wildlife. The way passes a blue-arrowed signpost then curls around the back of Nore Hill for around 275yds (250m) until it meets another bridleway - bear right at the yellow arrow here.
Always beautiful now under ancient beech trees, with the promise of a vivid carpet of bluebells through Spring.
In around 160yds (150m) there's a pole-barrier, go through it and follow the straight forestry track across the top for 700yds (650m) or so. We have been thinning here to let more light through, so the remaining trees grow to their full potential, surrounded by wild flowers and other woodland plants. We also deliberately leave piles of brush, logs, and ring-barked standing trees to provide a rich habitat for wildlife. As you pass through a farm gateway into the open, your view is to the East over the rich valley and Courthill Farm.
Slanting April sunlight through beeches budding light green - early spring on the plateau of Nore Hill.
Keep the woods to your right for 220yds (200m) until you get to Nore Hill Folly - beside it is a well-sited bench for enjoyment of the panoramic views, across the coastal plain and way down to the sea.
Built in 1814 for the Countess of Newburgh's picnic parties
Go down the farm track to a 'T' junction, turn right to pass Row's Barn, then follow Lees Lane as it bears right to head back towards Nore Hill. Pass the yellow-arrowed signpost into a refreshingly shadowed tree-overhung drovers' way. Turn left at the white-arrowed post when Lees Lane enters woodland.
An inviting tunnel of hedged and overhung shade on a warm day.
Follow the way ahead then as it gradually bears right up through the woods - there is a fabulous show of bluebells all along here in the Spring, accompanied later by early purple Orchids. In around 500yds (450m) bear left at the white-arrowed signpost and stroll downhill to rejoin Puck Lane.
English bluebells on the southern slope of Nore Hill - nearby there are early Purple Orchids
Go down Puck Lane for around 135yds (125m) until you reach the stile to your right that you came over at direction point 3, then retrace your route to Eartham.
End: The George Inn, Eartham, grid ref: SU938094
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- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 3.75 miles (6km)
- Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer 121
Fairly easy terrain following bridleways and footpaths through the estate, with approx 1 mile (1.6km) gradually uphill, the rest flat or downhill. Mostly well-drained chalky soils underfoot. Unsuitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs - there are stiles plus quite a few tree-roots across the way. Dogs welcome. Please keep dogs under close control as livestock graze in surrounding fields. No dog bins so please take dog litter home.
- How to get here:
By bike: Adjacent National Cycle Route 22. See Sustrans
By bus: Petworth - Chichester Compass Bus route 99 [hourly, flexible route] - N.B. Please phone 01903 264776 on a prior day during office hours, to request Eartham stop
By rail: Chichester Station then Compass 99 bus as above; or Barnham or Amberley Stations - each about 5 miles (8km) away. Call 0845 7484950 or see National Rail for details
By car: Take turning to Eartham off A283 Petworth - Chichester, the entrance to The George Inn's car park is to your right before the pub. Postcode is PO18 0LT
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