Backup Only

This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Saturday Second Walk - Halnaker to Chichester (via Cass Sculpture Park and Goodwood)

SWC Walk 239 – Scenic steep chalk downlands around the Upper Lavant Valley, the Goodwood Estate on the Opening Day of the Race Season, unrivalled views from St. Roche's Hill (incl. of the race track below) and historic Chichester's centre

Length: 22.9 km (14.2 mi) [shorter options available, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 500 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours
Toughness:  7 out of 10 (with several steep ascents around lunch, so may feel tougher than that)

09.06 train from [!] London Bridge [!] (East Croydon 09.24 [the 08.43 from Victoria connects with this]), arrives Chichester 10.35. Then take the Number 55 Bus at 10.40 (usually from Bay 6 at the Bus Station), arrives Halnaker Crossroads 11.01. The Bus is half-hourly. The write-up lists nearby cafes should the train arrive late.
Return trains are 2-4 per hour, today mostly to London Bridge. Last direct train: 21.07. Last train with under 2 hours journey time: 22.40. Buy a Chichester Return.

This strenuous West Sussex walk makes for a long day out, as it involves a bus connection on the way out after an already long train journey to Chichester. Its main purpose is to explore the scenic steep chalk downlands well north of Chichester around the Upper Lavant Valley, between St. Roche’s Hill and the South Downs chain, while enabling a visit to Cass Foundation’s Sculpture Park (on an extension) in the morning, and passing through the Goodwood estate as well as through Chichester’s Old Town at the end. The lonely grassy or wooded hillsides of the beautiful Lavant Valley are dissected by quiet flat bottomed valleys, and feature several pretty villages, as well as providing for stunning views. Most of the climbing is done between the lunch pubs, but the longest ascent comes straight after the late lunch option, up to St. Roche’s Hill, from whose treeless summit you have some of the best views of any SWC walk.

On the full walk the scheduled lunch stop is The Partridge Inn in Singleton (11.4 km/7.1 mi), just before the ascent to the highest point of the walk: St. Roche’s Hill; a table has been booked for 13.30 hours. There’s also the Star and Garter in East Dean, but that comes a bit early (5.6 km/3.6 mi). On the short walks the lunch stops are the Star and Garter or The Fox Goes Free in Charlton (9.4 km/5.9 mi) [Shortcut II only].
Chichester has lots of commendable drinkeries and eateries. For details, as always, check page 2 of the pdf.

There are two shortcuts possible within the full walk, one going right past the race track and main stand of Goodwood, as well as an alternative ending from St. Roche’s Hill to the twee village of West Dean (with a lovely tea shop, a good pub and a frequent bus to Chichester from the doorstep of that pub).
For details, as always, check page 2 of the pdf, or the route map on the website.

For walk directions (pdf) click here. For summary, route map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.

Get Hill Fit for Ullapool – The Schedule
23/04 – SWC 251 Tisbury Circular (via Ludwell and Berwick St. John)
30/04SWC 239 Halnaker to Chichester (via Cass Sculpture Park and Goodwood)
07/05SWC 263 Haslemere to Midhurst (via Temple of the Winds and Henley)
14/05 SWC 068 (Revised) Rowlands Castle Circular


Anonymous said...

Fantastic walk. Will take Alternative Ending to West Dean and then the bus to Chichester. Bus xx14 and xx44 past the hour. Cutting 6.5km off the end of walk.

Thomas G said...

as you can see above, it's only 5 minutes between the train arriving (if on time) and the bus leaving (if on time). therefore aim to be at the rear of the train when it pulls into Chichester, as that's where the exit is, and follow page 5 of the pdf to the bus station. do the meet-and-greet there, or even in Halnaker (silent 'l'), once off the bus.

Thomas G said...

Goodwood Racecourse: there are 7 races today, the first at 13.45, the last at 17.10, so we'd be very unlucky not to see and hear some action during our ascent up St. Roche's Hill

Kelda said...


Absolutely stunning scenery and lovely weather made the trip down to Chichester extremely worthwhile.

No mud, and a very clearly navigable route enabled a fun and relaxed day out. Besides being a little on the slow-side (order at the bar next time) the pub lunch was delicious and served in our own cozy private dining room...

The post lunch climb up above the Goodwood racecourse afforded stunning views across the coastline and also the occasional race on the track below.

A few went on ahead for cake and tea, 9 headed to the pub in Chichester, followed by dinner.

Don't be put off by the bus connection at the beginning (really no trouble at all). This walk is a little bit of a stunner and well worth the effort!

Karen said...

n=14 w=cool_sunny and w=heavy_rain_shower in the afternoon.

14 walkers off the train at Chichester and dashed for the connecting bus to Halnaker. The morning was cool and bright. 8 dined at The Partridge Inn at Singleton. On this occasion, the service was very slow. A reservation had been made in advance and the pub didn't appear to be particularly busy, but no explanation was forthcoming. That said, the food when it came was very good. Due to the long wait, most of the picnickers went on ahead and were not seen for the rest of the day. (A special mention to intrepid two who also managed to fit in a pre-lunch drink at The Star and Garter - for research purposes, of course. They reported back that it was a convivial establishment.)

In the afternoon, as promised, we witnessed some of the action at Goodwood Racecourse from our vantage point on the top of St. Roche's Hill. We also noticed a dramatic dark cloud in the distance. That cloud eventually caught up with us on the outskirts of Chichester. A sudden, very heavy shower of hail, followed by heavy rain for abut 10 minutes drove us to seek shelter wherever we could find it. Arriving in Chichester at about 18:00, 9 regrouped at The Old Cross pub on North Street. 2 took off for the train and the final 7 decided to stay on in the town for dinner at Côte. The 21:24 back to London.

I believe one walker may have taken one of the short options and dined in Havant...?

Another good day out.