RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Petworth’s wild daffodils

Wild daffodils grow at more than 100 places in Sussex and this is one of them. Distance three miles (4.9kms). Large car park Petworth town centre SU976215 then back to the square and right into Angel Street and A283, passing 1896 Sacred Heart as you leave main road left.

Yellow arrow takes you northeast downhill to a stream crossing in the wide open meadows grazed by horses from Flathurst stables. This footpath, joined by another from the town tracks uphill for 1km to a summit where breath-taking views open widely.

To northwest is Blackdown where Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson lived. Visible on clear fine days is the Hogsback near Guildford. Wild daffodils grow in the grassland valley in foreground. I have heard woodlarks on passage here, singing in March en route to Ashdown Forest.

You will pass to right (south) of Scots pine clump as path turns east downhill to a lovely rue forming a deep tunnel through the sandstone which climbs again towards Brinkshole Heath. The oaks are big and support, during my passage through, the obvious presence of nuthatches, marsh, great, blue, and long-tailed tits, great spotted woodpeckers and I thought green woodpecker.

Turn right, southeast into what used to be a heather moor, now converting itself into woodland of oak, birch, holly. The honeysuckle shows that white admiral butterflies should breed here, the caterpillars feeding on the leaves, the adults emerging in July, a lovely sight to see.

You pass a curious building called Goanah Lodge which appears to be a heraldic gateway towards Petworth House. Your path now turns right, after a dogleg, a few points west of south across a gently-downsloping plateau of young oaks, then open fields with a stupendous view of the South Downs. The electricity cables here usually have a perching yellowhammer, stonechat, even whinchat and a wheatear.

The farm and reservoir are passed then field oaks and a field to the main A283. Right for 80 yards along pavement, left across meadow footpath to minor road in Byworth turning right up the village street past a GR postbox.

Then left westward down a rue back to that tiny stream you crossed earlier. Here a stone footbridge and even a spring, both of which drain down south into the Rother a mile away. There are alder trees here with redpolls and siskins in them as I passed, but no grey wagtail today.

Your path clambers up the brackeny slope northwest, soon reaching the houses along the southern edge of which you track. On coming to the road turn right for the last 500 yards back to the car park.

Because Petworth folk have one foot in the past with their classic architectural examples of many modes of culture and distant time; their sometimes eccentric treasures of how people saw the heavens and those beneath, you would expect them to not only invest in but to use classic transport. I am often not disappointed therefore to find an old Morris Traveller in this car park, waiting on its owner like a favourite horse.

* See the March 15 issue of the Observer to view a map of this walk.