RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk: The Dover
This walk of four miles (6.3kms) is the sort of country which the speckled wood butterfly lives in, by and large. Park your Rover at The Dover, TQ061065.
This shady car park is run by the Angmering Park Estate and is closed after dark. It is found if you are travelling east along the A27 three miles east of Arundel.
On leaving, you also have to travel east before reaching a junction for westward travel. Butler’s Copse is old woodland coppice replanted here and there and retains some good spring flora such as bluebell and wood anemone, red campion and gypsy lace.
Walk east along metalled road and cross over the bridleway coming in from Hammerpot Copse. You’ll see some western red cedars and larch along the way, with old oaks, elders, and sweet chestnuts. Continue on east to the T junction where the bridleway now bends to the left.
Keep on north-east on this bridleway, which crosses another junction, and after a mile it will take you up to Monarch’s Way. Woodland flowers such as hemp agrimony will provide nectar for speckled woods in season. The pines have goldcrests and firecrests up in their dense boughs. This is also a useful wood for siskins, and even crossbills, which I have seen in the past. These reddish-orange birds from Scandinavia look like small parrots as they swing about feeding on pine cone seeds.
Keep left on the junction, the bridleway running near The Buckmans fields to left. Left on Monarch’s Way in Michelgrove Park; and now walk west for a mile on the main top ride, with beech on left and scots pine on right.
Flowers along this straight ride include nettle-leaved bellflower, marjoram, and hardhead. Ignore the footpath to left which runs back down through the stud farm. Take the next left, a bridleway, which runs south for a mile down a valley all the way back to The Dover, through beech and Douglas fir plantations.
You pass a Southern Water pumping station and a farm, and some old beech trees where there are woodpecker holes, and nuthatches swing upside down to watch you pass that way.
By now, old Rover will be tired out when he climbs back into your Rover in The Dover.