RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk: Warningcamp
Some of the prettiest countryside in England is kept by the Angmering Park Estate east of Arundel and last week I enjoyed a new walk of 3.6 miles (5.7kms) over the best.
I parked on the corner of the minor road northeast out of Warningcamp TQ046073 which has space for about ten cars.
North uphill across fields between well-kept hedges of blackthorn, wild rose and spindle brought me on to the brow with a glimpse of Arundel Castle left and Glatting Beacon twin towers far ahead.
I turned sharp right downhill on a slippery chalk road with two or three song thrushes singing around me. This is a cold, quiet ravine with dog’s mercury and ivy growing in abundance.
At the bottom I turned sharp left on blue arrow, the Monarch’s Way, eastward.
Now I came into a beautiful deep grassland valley with a magnificent display of common yellow hill ants’ castles all the way up the left slope.
These are a requirement of blue butterfly larvae in which to over-winter. Come summer the place should be alive with downland butterflies.
Green woodpeckers calling in the old elder trees also need those ants.
It is all sheep-grazed to keep out scrub and coarse grass, so your dog has to be under control.
I noticed some flat iron plates with welded numbers on, let into the ground at surface level that are shooting place numbers. Sweet corn strips to hold pheasants were now usefully feeding rooks and finches.
At crossways, I turned left and stayed on King Charles’ escape route along the base contour, a route which took me into hazel coppice with ash standards and a long, curving narrow flooded meadow that reminded me of a miniature Beaulieu River.
The ash and oak trees along my walk are about 115 years of age and were therefore a possible Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee planting.
There is an old chalk quarry on the left which shows those 15-inch steps with flint layers indicating regular climate swings 70 million years ago.
At the road turn right along the causeway which is as pretty a place as you could wish for, what with the old oaks, the flooded meadows, and the view left of the white chalk cliffs at Offham hanger.
Leave the road at corner, climbing a stile into a meadow, then follow the roadway below you with a distant view north to Blackdown and a splendid view over the Arun meadows.
Rejoin the road and then in Wepham sharp right at sign saying Norfolk Estate Home Farm and climb the hill on concrete road past a 1661 Tudor cottage.
The track takes you up and over Warningcamp Hill, where you turn right at the corner into a long cool, quiet, descending ravine and rue to the muddy bottom, where you turn right and rejoin your outgoing path back to whatever old bus you ventured out in.
How I miss the old Morris Minor; I used to call it Snowdrop so this month reminds me of her.