Wepham Woods & Downs – Dist: approx 8 miles, 13km. Time: 4 1/2 hours. The walk involves some long slopes. The tracks in the woods can be very muddy. There are only short sections of road.
1. The walk starts from The Dover car park (GR TQ 062 064). From the car park entrance turn right through the twin gates and left along the bridleway. Follow this driveway until the bend. Go straight on along the grassed bridleway, which enters the woods. Follow this for about a mile, crossing a track and a tarmac road. Keep straight on.
2. You now pass through some coppiced hazel with oak and chestnut standards. Dormice live here but you are more likely to see a fallow deer. When you come to a crossroads in the path turn right.
3. Follow the footpath, crossing a track and a small bridge, until you come to the edge of the wood and a stile. Follow the path on, to Warningcamp pond and Clay Lane. Turn right beside the pond and the O1d School House. Pass the telephone box and follow the road on up past the houses ignoring the road to Warningcamp on the left.
4. Where the overhead wires cross the road, turn left into the field by the Angmering Park Estate sign. Follow the hedge on the right. Across to your left you may see Arundel Castle and the Cathedral. The hedge ends and the path bears right from the track, beside the metal covers. The footpath leads to a gate overlooking a valley.
5. Descend into the valley, an Environmentally Sensitive Area. Here farming methods are used that are compatible with protecting the countryside. Bear right along the valley floor, ignoring all paths leading up out of the valley. Continue on, arriving at a surfaced "gallop". Cross this, go through the gateway and follow the bridleway, parallel to the gallops, all the way up the valley.
6. On the skyline to your left are a farm and a reservoir (the mound with the fence on top). In the valley Roman pottery fragments have been found and Bronze Age lynchetts: mounds and hollows formed by earth slides due to continued cultivation. Continue on up the valley.
7. After a bend in the valley, go through a gate beside the gallops. You will see some ridges running across the field. These are the Wepham Down Bronze Age earthworks. Across the gallops are more Bronze Age lynchetts and some Bowl barrows. Keep to the field edge beside the gallop.
8. At the next gate a short track leads you to a concrete track. Turn right, away from the gallops and walk for 100 metres along the concrete to a gate on the right. Go through the gate, up the hill and into the small wood.
9. Go through the twin gates. To your right you will see the route you took up the valley and the sea beyond. To your left is Harrow Hill, a Bronze Age camp, flanked on the horizon to left and right by Chanctonbury and Cissbury Rings, also ancient camps. Next you pass through some large earth banks, which are a Bronze Age Cross Ridge Dyke. This is roughly in line with Chichester Cathedral, which you can see on a clear day across the Coastal Plain. The Isle of Wight may be visible beyond. Carry on, past the triangulation pillar in the field on our right.
10. When you arrive at the gate beside the box hedge, go through it and turn right up the track. Below in the valley there once was a medieval village. Go over the cattle grid and continue on through Upper Barpham Farm, bearing right by the old barn. This was the site of another medieval village.
11. After leaving the farmyard, a bridleway turns off the road to the right, by the Angmering Park Estate sign. Follow this straight on into the woodland. When you come to a staggered crossroads go straight on (i.e. turn right then immediately left). Follow the path on through the Douglas fir and beech plantations.
12. Carry straight on along the bridleway, passing a block of houses and a Southern Water enclosure, until you come to a house at the edge of the woods. Follow the bridleway signed to the left. From the end of this lane you can see the gate by the entrance to the car park.