RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk: Rake to Milland

THIS is a 4.8 mile (7.5kms) walk through the woods and commons either side of the busy B2070 road that runs between Rake and Liphook.

There is plenty of parking on the track running north off this road just eastward out of Rake by Chapel Common, at SU814282. Cross the road following a green and white metal sign into woods of old Scots pines and birches, all of which the woodpeckers bore into for beetle larvae and to make nesting holes.

In summer you can find bilberries to eat as you might in most places on the Sussex sandy heathlands.

The footpath joins a restricted by-way after about 400 yards, and turn left there, through the trees, for three quarters of a mile until you reach the chapel of St. Luke’s, close to the road. This was built in 1878 and has a sort of military presence, quite different to the remains of the small chapel nearby.

Turn right just before the building, southeast, down the lane, with banks of moss either side, then turn sharp left on yellow arrow, east, into the woods.

In another 300 yards take the sharp right at cross ways, steep down the sandy steps, then turning left, northeast, along the bridleway before you reach the houses. Turn left again, and follow until you reach the minor road called Milland Lane (part of a Roman Road) where turn right.

This is a high banked lane like those in the West Country. Follow this for about 300 yards, then look for the bridleway on the left, which crosses a ford, and then goes past a large pond.

This water springs from Great Hanger above. Stay eastward on the blue arrow, ignoring that which goes north up to Milland Place.

But take the next two, blue arrows, as you travel north- eastward under Hatch Hanger. This eventually circles round to the right when it meets the very end of a small tarmac lane.

Turn sharp left here, up a muddy lane with high banks. This ends in a great sandy cavern or grotto, with trees like monsters hanging off the cliffs. The bridleway circles to the right, and joins another at the top.

Turn sharp left along the edge of the wood. This crosses meadows, coming eventually to Milland Place. There is a view of Weavers Down near Woolmer Forest to the right. At Milland Lane, cross over this road onto the footpath over the fields.

You now enter woods of Open Access. After 150 yards leave the footpath and find the way left, down a forest ride for 100 yards, turn right down another. This will bring you back to St. Luke’s. Here you can cross the B2070 into Chapel Common.

This too is Open Access, and a nice path through the heather and gorse under the birch trees too, brings you back to those four wheels and soft seats into which you will happily recline after the lovely old autumn woods.