RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Peppering Farm, Burpham

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You will be on top of the world with this 4.5-mile (7kms) walk over the downs and into the Arun valley. Park TQ037090 Burpham behind the pub then after a glass track across the road to St Mary the Virgin with its plain perpendicular flint tower built about 1350.

Inside it is calm, peaceful, secure with some careful restoration of what is mostly 13th-century. Note 1930 stained glass window to Flt Lt Tickner Edwards, RAF, killed Aden 1928. He was a relative of the romantic novelist and naturalist of that name. Also deepcut chevrons and grotesque heads on south side.

Leave northward on footpath then on reaching minor road, left to experience the open freedom of the hills. The views stupendous on all sides.

To the right (east) is Harrow Hill, 300ft higher than you at this point. To the left the slopes of the Arun valley towards Whiteways Lodge. Behind is the grey and silver sea.

At Peppering High Barn enter FWAG conservation area and turn right on yellow arrow close to the buildings. Peppering: name seems to derive from OE pyppel, Norman puble, meaning pebble. Stoney ground. Edward Lear complained about Peppering’s stoney roads in 1829.

Along this track you pass a lone multi-stemmed sycamore tree with wound hole inhabited by large garden snails. Curious but sensible. Wild bird strips along the track encourage corn buntings, goldfinches, linnets.

The blue flowers are chicory, introduced and native in Sussex. The flocks of finches attract hen harriers which overwinter here. Last week a very rare bird: a pallid harrier was also recorded (see Nature Watch below).

This whole area is a fine place to see other rarities such as red kite, buzzard, wheatear, lapwing and grey partridge.

Keep ahead on blue arrow past rough copse on the left and after 400m turn left on purple arrow (west). This area is known as The Burgh, Saxon word meaning fort perhaps relating to that along Arun at Burpham. To the north distant views of Black Down and Leith Hill.

Track turns SW at public way junction leading you down to a deserted farm building called Canada. Canadian troops practised here for D-Day.

Sharp left here on blue arrow. Stay on this bridleway as it curves right, (south) around downland valley to right. A nice strip of downland turf on your left with scabious, hawkbit, sheep’s fescue grass and yarrow.

For those of you unsure of your feet, stay on the heights back to Burpham. Otherwise, turn right on yellow arrow for the steep stepped slope down to the Arun meadows. At bottom turn left on blue arrow. Ignore yellow arrow right to Arun banks.

Pass an old chalk quarry in the woods and continue straight ahead on yellow arrow. This meadowland path with sheep everywhere takes you past the old Saxon moat, perhaps part of that Burgh or fort and SE back to your old Alvis with wooden bodywork like an old Morris, both of which are good travellers to these lovely places we are so lucky to have on our doorsteps.

You don’t get walks like this anywhere else in the world.