RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Hoe Copse, Cocking to Heyshott

Here is a quiet country walk of 3.1 miles (5kms) through woods and fields of the weald and in sight of the Downs.

Park roadside SU891187 on road to Heyshott off the A286. Strong footwear in wet weather. Easy stiles.

Walk 100 yards east down road finding a metal green/white public footpath sign through gate into Hoe Copse. Wayside flowers include stitchwort, red campion, bush vetch. Nice new oak plantation guarded by tubes from the herds of fallow deer which browse the hazel coppice heavily.

Follow all yellow arrows and fingerposts throughout this wood. Keep right at bottom of slope as you descend to the stream. The closed canopy oaks are small and straight and probably support a good number of high-forest butterfly species such as white admiral and silver-washed fritillary, to be seen in July. Honeysuckle and violets support these two species by feeding their caterpillars.

Uphill to a sandy clearing, turn right, soon left on yellow arrow, and immediately right on the forked track; this time marked by a fingerpost. Then left on yellow arrow with another young oak plantation to your right. The track now dives into a tunnel of trees. You now come to the edge of the wood with a small stream that flows after heavy rain and banks with bluebells and a few willows. Cross this gully eventually by a footbridge and climb the steps to open skies.

Follow field edge right, and a very pleasant diversion is on down the stream and fish ponds to Cocking village with its graceful church and stream and view south to the old chalk quarry which once produced the famous white bricks known as Midhurst Whites.

You can then follow the lane eastwards which will join up with my mapped walk across the corn fields past Sage Barn.

This lane will return you to Heyshott though I choose to take the path across the fields as shown on map. You rejoin this field path at track junction – easily missed.

Through Hampshire Copse note whitebeam on right, field maple on left as you enter, and enchanter’s nightshade among ground flora. Meadow, stream, then a hedge with hazel, dogwood, field maple, honeysuckle, bramble, dogrose, blackthorn and elder.

Keep left on entering Heyshott, rest a while on the seat near Cobden Club Hall with its wood made from HMS Arethusa. Note the four large old female yews in churchyard, and inside the church the plaque to Cobden, and the impudent lion and unicorn on 17th-century wall painting inside door.

Roadwalk back across Heyshott Common, managed by Murray Downland Trust as is the magnificent slope of Heyshott Downs behind.

Left at road junction near the old pond, and so back to old Alvis which like the Morris Traveller seems part of this olde-worlde scenery we have enjoyed today.