This is a woodland walk by the River Lod and back through Lodsworth and a look at the grave and the home of EH Shepard and his picture creations of Pooh and Piglet, Ratty and Mole on his headstone.
Distance 3.2 kms (2 miles) with parking off A272 at Beggars Corner, Halfway Bridge between Midhurst and Petworth.
The old road curves to the right after which you should find yellow arrow left, northeast, reaching the edge of River Wood. Cross a curved stile in the fenceline, entering the wood.
The wet clay has nurtured some lovely straight oaks and there is honeysuckle here too which ensures that you will see those big piebald butterflies, the white admirals, in July, together with silver-washed fritillaries and speckled woods. I have also seen purple hairstreaks on the crowns of oaks in late summer.
The land slopes steeply to the Lod with its flood plain sometimes like a tiny Punjab. Sharp left after 600m in the wood onto the bridlepath, down the slope into a holly wood where you might see holly blue butterflies in May, then again in August when their children fly.
At the stream, sharp left staying on bridleway, and crossing Eel Bridge. Here the villagers once trapped baby eels returning to their ancestral home from the Sargasso Sea.
Climb up out of the river valley after playing Pooh sticks. AA Milne’s original Pooh-sticks bridge was at Hartfield in East Sussex but Eel Bridge is a good second best.
Turn left into the overspill cemetery where rests the artist, with tales of the riverbank on his tomb. To see the house where he lived you will have to walk a little way west to the main street, south of the Hollist Arms, and find the blue plaque on a largish, comfortable brick house at a corner, otherwise the bridleway continues south from the church.
St Peters has little bits of typical 11th-century Sussex churches, but has been somewhat re-marketed by the Victorians, bless them, with more zeal than feeling for heritage. But inside it glows and has an interesting modern tapestry with scenes of nature and wildlife, and a scene of Morris dancing.
As you leave the village southward, the occasional apple trees remind us that Lodsworth once boasted a big cider industry.
Coming out into the fields, enjoy now the lovely view left into sandy soil gulley of gorse and grass, blackberry bushes and bracken slopes, that run down to the Lod again. It is all a microcosm of our English history, literature, landscape and wildlife condensed into just two miles.
Even the old Morris fits the scenery.