South Downs Odyssey
Odýssey n. a long, wandering and eventful journey!

South Downs Way legs

Leg 9

Cocking Hill Barn
to Duncton
Littleton Farm
5.25 miles

Our walk today started with quite a long and steady climb up to the top of the ridge, which actually wasn’t as bad as we had thought it was going to be when viewed from the end of the last leg. We didn’t have any spectacular views today as the path was mostly quite enclosed, but what was really special was just how quiet it was. Liz passed her aural test by noting four sounds in a minute (sheep baa-ing, sheep munching, a pheasant and the leaves in the trees rustling in the wind … or was that Allison communing with nature in the bushes).

And in this amazing silence we heard the call of a tawny owl, sadly this clip is not our own, but worth a listen. The Tawny Owl is nocturnal but during the breeding season in the early spring, the male tawny owls can be seen hunting during the day as well as at night. We were fortunate to hear him!

The sheep were less camera-shy today, and thankfully there were no fields of cows where we had to put our lives on the line.

Today’s walk could well have been called the “where the hell are we going?” leg, and this was even before we started the business of actually walking. Being an ex-pat from Petworth, Liz knew a great shortcut to our starting point which involved driving well off-piste through the lanes to the south of Midhurst. But the countryside was looking fabulous, with wild rhododendrons (wow, just spell checked that and I was right!!) coming into bloom. We left one car at Littleton Farm (between Upwaltham and Duncton) and drove back to Hill Barn at Cocking through the chocolate box village of Singleton.

Looking back to previous leg (to Cocking)

Cowdrey Estate Land!

Wild garlic everywhere!

 One nasty moment was a Beware of the Bull sign, which even gave the bull’s name ‘Hillfield Expo 3rd’ with a little note saying how friendly he was (no way Allison was going to believe that!) Fortunately, he had had a better offer and was nowhere to be seen.

Our map identified part of our route as the West Sussex Literary Trail and we didn’t know what this was but we can now reveal that it is a walking trail linking Horsham with Chichester Cathedral along a 55 mile route. There is of course a book, which “will bring the walk alive with stories of dozens of literary connections along the way”.

The end of today’s walk took us across a field then down a sharp hill to Littleton Farm.

Towards next stage, Bignor Hill

Another leg in the bag!

News Flash - Dail Mail Saturday 17th May

<Previous leg

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