RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk: Lurgashall and Spring Coppice Wood

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I start at the church where Alfred Lord Tennyson worshipped during Victoria’s reign. Then I wander along 2.7 miles (4.3kms) of fields and meadows, and finish in a lovely wood where the bluebells will soon be blue as the spring sky.

Lurgashall is small and beautiful with a pub, a shop and St Laurence’s church and there is various roadside parking to encourage you to visit all three establishments.

In summer, they play cricket on the green. Map reference is SU937273.

The name Lurgashall meant either a good place to hunt with a spear or a grass hollow for good grazing.

The Noah’s Ark pub dates to 1537. The church started life with the Saxons.

It has a male and two female yew trees guarding the doors.

The male will be starting to shed clouds of pollen this month, what Tennyson called ‘living smoke’.

The door has 1756 graffiti, the font is a rustic celebration of the return to power of Charles II, while decorated glass windows celebrate the new millennium. Thirty local men perished in WWI from this small farmland community, according to the memorial.

Take the footpath NW out of the churchyard past more yew trees, into a meadow, and at ponds either side of the track, left up the track with the oak woods in view either side.

Nearly two miles ahead is Aldworth, Tennyson’s house he had built in 1870 to avoid the curiosity of his fans when he lived on the Isle of Wight. There is a bronze statue of him there, sitting on his garden seat enjoying the view.

Our path turns NE down to the stream, one of 15 running off Blackdown hill, all of which deliver 20 million gallons per day.

Mesolithic man once lived up there, safe at 918 feet, the highest point in Sussex.

Climbing up from the stream, the path bears left along the edge of the woods for about 800 yards to a junction.

Here turn left, SW, down the footpath in front of Shopp Hill Farm, down the hedge of holly and hazel, again crossing the stream where the wild garlic grows and makes the air pungent in spring.

At the next footpath crossways, turn left again, as we are making a circular walk. We are now making for the wood called Spring Coppice which is chestnut, and runs downhill back to the village.

There are several stiles, but the flowers here in spring are lovely with probably 200 species that include wild orchids and wood anemones.

There are orchards and paddocks down the way just before you reach the road, and arrival at this gem of villages in the Sussex weald. My old Alvis didn’t look out of place in the time warp.

I almost expected to see Alfred at the wheel. Now which Alfred would that be, do you suppose?