RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country Walk: Selhurst Park Hill to Crown Tegleaze

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Downs and woods either side of the East Dean valley give you an escape into wild country for about seven miles (11.2km).

You might not see another soul except when you have to cross the busy A285 twice.

Don’t forget this is one of the most dangerous roads in England, so they say. We also pass two memorials to WWII air crashes whose pilots may not have realised how high these hills can be.

Parking is off-road in the FC bays at Droke, on the minor road between Singleton and Upwaltham at SU925127.

Take the road east for 350 yards when you will find a yellow footpath sign up the bank on the right into Droke Hanger.

This footpath zigzags up hill to the Benges Wood.

It can be very damp and some of the trees are oddballs – Norway maples. But the scrub is now filling up with warblers such as willow, blackcap, chiffchaff and even lesser whitethroat.

At the top of the hill you reach the road that has come from Goodwood race course.

Turn left along it for 300 yards. It is usually busy.

Then you cross that A285 at its worst place – a blind hill to left.

Safely across, you enter the stony track into Eartham Wood. Beech trees make a serene canopy in which robins and blackbirds

always sing.

This goes on for nearly a mile to bridleway crossroads. Turn left, north, passing some Bronze Age crossdykes.

In a few yards you cross another bridleway. This takes you northwest across the plateau fields. But before this, as you come out of the woods, look to right for the memorial to the Dakota crew who came down here.

Descending into the valley you pass Upwaltham House Farm, cross the road to the tiny Norman church of St Mary. Its millenium west window has stained glass pictures of swallows and also duke of burgundy fritillary butterflies.

This small chequered insect is rare nowadays but does live in a few sheltered places on the downs where there are cowslips to feed its caterpillars.

Up the steep hill ahead the bridleway, you climb to the spot height of 822 feet: too high by 20 feet for a Lancaster of the Dambusters Squadron which had just refuelled at Tangmere.

There is a fine view from here on a good day with Bignor Hill and Amberley Mount to the east. Southwest is Chichester Harbour.

The bridleway now runs northeast through coppice woods called Crown Tegleaze. The name may come from the Old English word Taeg and lea meaning an enclosed glade in a wood.

Turn left at the T-junction, following the restricted byway southwest, out of the wood and across a stony field. There is a fine view to right. Coming back into the trees again, keep to the right on bridleway as a footpath veers left, 800 yards after that, you will come to a crossroads.

Take the left bridleway. It will take you the last mile down through the beech plantation back to Droke. Now that’s another funny name.

Again it comes from the OE drocen which just meant dry place. It is: stony and with no stream in its valley, but nice for walking.