RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk

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The only way to stay dry is to stay high. Why are they called Downs when they are Ups?

This week I have returned to Wepham which is east of Arundel. Turn left off the A27 while travelling east at either Poling or just east of Arundel railway station.

My map shows you how to arrive at the sharp corner on the minor road which has room for a dozen cars, TQ046073. Walk northeast along the track past the derelict barn and into the woods at Gibbet Piece.

The paths divide into five ways here so care is needed. Take the blue arrow bridleway straight ahead downhill. This follows 
New Down valley north-east below the woods of Tenantry Copse.

This path is muddy, but where isn’t in this February filldyke weather? The path climbs slowly up the valley which was carved so spectacularly during the Ice Age.

To your right is Barpham Hill that was used by Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age tribes as holy places of sanctuary, burial, and communion with their ancestors and recent dead.

One of their earthworks runs towards your path from the right.

On Wepham Down the Gallops circle back left and what now becomes a footpath with it. You are now turning south-west and stay on the plateau towards the group of trees called Norfolk Clump which you should keep to your left.

The whole of this downland chalk farmland is also a conservation area for rare and endangered species of birds such as grey partridge, stonechat, corn bunting and skylark.

Next week it will be a super birding place where migrants such as wheatear and whinchat might be seen resting on the fenceposts as they journey north.

It is also one of the hunting grounds of peregrine falcons and hen harriers which I have seen here from time to time. Down slope past the underground reservoir 
will bring you to a left footpath turn over the scarp to Home Farm.

It leads on down to a footpath junction, so turn right and then left down the old hazel coppice rue to The Knell woodland.

Turn right on the bridleway up the chalky track turning left at the top with its magnificent views all around you. And so back between the hedges. Much better being up than down.

Though my old Alvis does not mind flooded roads as modern cars do with their delicate mechanisms.