RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Shillinglee Lake South aspect

From Petworth take A283 to Northchapel, turning right onto road to Balls Cross. Park on road verge at SU971298 – length 4.2 kms (2.75 miles).

Walk back to where on right, steps go down (sign fallen in undergrowth!). Pond below with ducks, over stile, and across short causeway dam. Farm complex ahead.

Straight ahead (north) up slope round garden hedge to steddle stones and out onto farm track bearing right past house and continue past two wooden raised small barn sheds. Willow carr on right.

Continue up slope to open fields where two patches of useful agricultural weeds.

Proceed along grassy track under telegraph wire with hedge on left. When across field, track meets a narrow plantation running east/west: go through narrow gap at FP post and turn right into plantation ride. Pleasant woodland strip, mature oaks, hazel and holly bushes.

After a few yards turn left at next FP post where tall Scots pines begin, past holly bush, over ditch, and out onto hay meadow.

Turn right along edge of wood to your right, skirting left and round fence posts marking wet gulley and continue keeping to wood edge, then over to FP sign with corrugated iron barn on right, through gap to southern corner of Shillinglee Lake, where low wall makes very pleasant spot to sit and eat sandwiches.

View good, but little about: pair of grebe diving and calling, moorhen, one wild duck (female mallard), a few woodland birds in lake-edge bushes. Nice farm buildings – a very English pastoral scene.

Continue round with lake on left, Park Mill Farm on right; note sluice emptying into deep gulley on other side where once working mill machinery, and further on another similar but larger sluice.

Leaving lake, up road past cottage on left, to corner, where FP post, leave road and continue straight on into meadow, and immediately over stile, hedge and woodland on right. At corner old gnarled oak.

Pass through metal gate into large open pasture field, continue straight ahead with field tree hedge boundary on left (mature oaks, blackthorn but no fruits).

At corner turn right round field hedge and continue down – a few parasol fungi on my visit. At bottom corner turn right (west) on bridleway sign, continuing round field.

At field corner go through arched gap in hedge and continue ahead as before. At next corner proceed through little gate into woodland and continue ahead, ancient field boundary bank on left.

Cross substantial footbridge over steep water course. Continue with fenced field to right, tangled wood on left – path nettles. View of Park Mill Farm, passed earlier, to right.

At end of field, path enters far end of plantation ride with tall Scot’s pines, continue to where entered earlier, turn left through gap and return across agricultural field (hedge now on right) to farm, bearing left through steddle stones and round hedge down to the pond and back out onto road: where car has snoozed in the winter sunshine.