RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Upperton Common

Upperton Common abuts Petworth Park which lies to the south-east.

Limited parking at end of Westland’s Copse Lane SU947237. Distance 3kms (1.8 miles).

Blue bridleway arrow south-west soon finding River Common pond on your left, fringed with willows, clumps of iris and whorled mint in summer.

The water eventually drains into River Lod near Salmonsbridge Farm to west.

Keep left on blue arrow at junction, south-east now to cross the bracken and birch slopes ahead. To your right is Roundabouts Farm.

One of the birds I look out for on the common is the woodlark, especially in early spring when it may be passing through on migration to breeding zones such as Ashdown Forest.

I did once hear it on Upperton Common. The song is sweet and a lilting, down cadence: louder and more wistful than that of the willow warbler.

Woodlarks look like skylarks which have lost their tails.

Keep left at each direction arrow which soon appear, especially left at first yellow arrow as you change direction north-east.

Pleasant mixed woodland below you of holly and beech trees.

You now reach the Tillington – Lurgashall road where your footpath takes a sharp left turn north-west and runs fairly steeply downhill until you reach the stream whose spring originates from the high hill on the edge of Petworth Park, and which feeds into the pond we saw at the start.

There are small footbridges to cross this ditch. Pendulous sedge grows here.

Birds usually seen here are marsh tits and both green and great spotted woodpeckers.

The cathedral arches of beech we have walked beneath are their homes.

The understorey of holly is also the home of the holly blue butterfly.

When you come to the oaks, do look up to see polypody ferns growing on the lateral branches. This is a common sight in Devon and Wales, but not so frequent in Sussex.

Look for the slots of roe and fallow deer throughout this walk, probably muntjac too.

On my walk a Morris Traveller had stopped to have a chat with the Alvis shooting brake.

“Thought you were one of us,” said the Morris, apparently. “Are you on HP?”

“None of your sauce,” said the Alvis.