Three miles (5kms) of beautiful flowers in a wildlife corridor await you as you stroll between the cornfields in the best countryside in the world.
Park near St Michael’s church, Up Marden SU795142. The church alone is worth the visit being unspoilt, a 13th-century timewarp.
Set off westward down the track between wheat and barley noting the flowers of woundwort, cranesbill, nipplewort and hedge bedstraw.
This is an old shaw or right of safe common passage through one-time difficult countryside.
Hedges either side of ash, field maple, and wild roses have not been cut for 50 years so is a woodland strip, with green woodpeckers, blackcap warblers, and yellow hammers.
Downhill you pass old beech trees and a patch or two of southern woodsedge sprawled across the path.
At bottom cross over an eventing horse trail – jumps and water splash to right.
Our path now goes uphill into a narrow galaxy of wild flowers and butterflies, a linear nature reserve which is wonderful.
Note the flowers of greater knapweed, agrimony, cowslip, St Johns’ wort, yellow medic and even one wayfaring tree.
Towards the top as you pass an old shelter belt of scots pines the flowers are woundwort, wild basil, red bartsia.
Turn right along hard track north-north-east. It is a pity many of the barley field headlands have been blanket sprayed. This only serves to encourage wood brome grass which is useless to wildlife.
The hedge here is very rich with ash, blackthorn, clematis, dogwood, hawthorn, rose, spindle, elder and whitebeam.
At the Georgian house with its lovely wildflower driveway and cypress fortification the view opens out spectacularly with Up Park, Beacon Hill right, Jubilee Clump left.
The wildflower corridor continues with mignonette, bristly oxtongue, hedge bedstraw, field milk thistle, lady’s bedstraw.
Follow this track down to the road where turn right. Here you pass the ancient earthwork called Bevis’s Thumb. He was a mythological giant and this is just his thumb.
Eastwards the lane passes Fernbeds Farm with its pond and mallard and lots of swallows.
Climb the road hill to top where turn right up track to climb up to Apple Down.
The telegraph wire here is a good place to see perching birds such as stonechat, yellowhammers, linnets.
Masses of butterflies feeding on marsh thistles along the way up and over southward.
View east of The Trundle, West Dean Woods and as you enter the last wheatfield past a woodland strip a lovely view south-east to the Kings Graves on Kingley Vale (bronze age tumuli) Isle of Wight south-west.
The woodland edge path takes you straight back to St Michael’s and the memory of an old Morris.