GROUPS across the area are getting out their hiking boots and walking poles in readiness for this year’s Sussex Day.
From June 14-16, a string of community walks will take place.
The aim of each is to celebrate both Sussex Day, and the inauguration of the Midhurst Way, a long-distance path of 19.25 miles from Arundel to Midhurst.
The walks, organised by groups drawn from towns and villages along the Way, are from Fernhurst, Midhurst, Lodsworth, Tillington, Arundel, and Haslemere.
Launched by West Sussex County Council in 2007, Sussex Day has become a popular way for Sussex residents to celebrate the county’s rich heritage.
The date, June 16, was chosen because it is St Richard’s Day – which marks the life of St Richard, bishop of Chichester from 1245 until his death in 1253.
The Midhurst Way starts at Arundel railway station and ends at Midhurst bus station.
It travels via The Fairmile, West Burton, Bignor Roman Villa, Coultershaw, Tillington – Petworth Park edges the Way to the east of the village – Lodsworth and Cowdray Park.
The countryside covered by the Way is beautiful and varied, starting with the chalk downland near Arundel, moving to the Rother valley with its adjoining parkland full of lakes, streams and ponds, then to the sandstone uplands with vineyards and forest between Petworth and Lodsworth.
It finishes with grassy slopes full of ancient trees – the Queen Elizabeth Oak is about 1,000 years old – near Steward’s Pond and Cowdray Golf Course.
A short stretch of metalled track completes the Way from the Cowdray Farm Shop and Cafe to the Castle Causeway and North Street, Midhurst.
The Arundel Walking Festival is integrated with Sussex Day and the Midhurst Way inauguration, but is independently organised by Martin Alderton. Raising money for charity, there will be 39 different walks over the three days to suit every need.
Contact Martin Alderton on 078584 70565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
IN Tillington, Gerald Gresham Cooke is inviting everyone on his Sussex Day walk on Monday, June 16 from Tillington to Midhurst via the Midhurst Way.
The seven-mile walk is free for all. The group will be leaving the Horse Guards Inn, Tillington, at 9.30am through the Midhurst Way which goes via the Lodsworth Larder, with a cake and toilet stop.
The walk will wind through the lovely 70 Lime Tree Avenue, Queen Elizabeth Oak (‘old when Queen Elizabeth I saw it’), Cowdray Golf Course, and an optional refreshment/lunch stop at Cowdray Farm Shop and Cafe.
Return by a 20-minute bus journey, which goes to Tillington every hour.
Details from Geraldgreshamcooke@gmail.com or ring Gerald on 01798 342151.
For the full feature, including details of walking routes and events, see this week’s Midhurst and Petworth Observer (June 5).