RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Storrington

Visit the high and lonely Downs and meet the ancestors on this five-mile (8kms) walk south of Storrington. Park at Chantry Post TQ087120 at the end of Chantry Lane off the A283.

Friday, 2nd September 2011, 12:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 7:31 pm

Take the southeast bridleway diagonally across fields to a second bridlegate into another field then follow the fenceline.

Ahead are two famous round hills: Blackpatch and then Harrow Hill to the right.

Both were mined for large flint nodules which our ancestors turned into weapons of war and agriculture from 2500-10000BC. These are two of the finest remaining flint mines in Sussex.

In 1922, 100 shafts were rediscovered on Blackpatch. The shafts had been dug to expose a seam of flints 11 feet underground.

Seven shafts were found then, with galleries radiating sideways. Soot marks from rush and tallow candles were found.

Workers here rough-dressed the nodules for fine chipping and polishing in factories elsewhere. Holes showed where red deer antler picks had been used.

The summit of Blackpatch has a burial mound or tumulus from the Bronze Age and a 200-year-old dewpond site.

Fine downland turf hereabouts with ladies’ bedstraw, small scabious, totter grass, and hawkbits.

Butterflies include meadow brown, common blue and small copper.

The path contours under the hill to meet a small copse on left and then two lines of dying beech trees that run southward towards Myrtle Grove farm.

Follow track as it now bends right and descends past horse paddocks of Longfurlong farm.

Right on Monarch’s Way, leaving this after 400 yards onto footpath, northwest, through farm buildings.

Keep buildings to your right, looking for stiles into horse paddocks.

Cross the meadow valley to the bridleway running north. There is sometimes a bull in these fields so if in doubt, follow fencelines towards the beech trees around the edges of these fields.

The Minotaur is not always in residence here. If in serious doubt, you could stay on the Monarch’s Way a bit longer, as shown here on my map.

Whichever way you choose, the bridleway you want to return you the 3kms back north to the Morris, (sorry, Alvis) with its Minotaur emblem on its nose, joins up with your outgoing bridleway and takes you back over these beautiful open hills.

The landscape would almost be recognisable even now to our ancestors of the past eight millennia with their cornfields, Iron and Bronze Age cattle and sheep, and the wide-open skies.