This is a one hour walk each way that commences at the yurt entrance to Willow and Coppicer’s Cabin. We recommend this walk for children over 12 as it’s a full hour at proper stride – each way. The first part is on private land at Adhurst Farm and this then morphs into public footpaths across gorgeous countryside within the South Downs National Park. The walk then drops down to Durleighmarsh Farm where there are a number of small businesses, including a farm shop, tea room, catering company, paint-your-own pottery and pick-your-own farm. Also, the visiting fishmonger on Wednesdays! The pick-your-own farm finishes at 3pm and dogs must be tied up if you’re picking. You may wish to ensure one of your group goes by car to collect you at Durleighmarsh – sometimes with families that’s best!
Ensure you start the walk correctly!
You will be departing the farm ON FOOT; you will not be using the entrance when you drove in. There is only one road to cross and after that it’s only footpaths and no roads at all. I’m going to describe in pictures and text the recommended start route that Adhurst have provided.
As you leave the yurts you pass through Hillier’s Tree Nursery, one of the largest tress nurseries in the UK. They sell trees to town councils and landscapers all over the country and grow a wide range of specimen trees which begin their life here.
The sign above is in a red but do keep an eye out for signs in white! Continue straight through this open gate.
Once you’ve passed through this metal gate be prepared for a right hand turn into the foliage! You’re not walking to the roadside yet!
All that foliage is chestnut plantation and it will be cut as coppiced woodland to make fence posts and gates, amongst other traditional woodland products. Here’s the only tricky bit!
Although you can see up ahead a sunny meadow path out of the chestnut path – don’t continue into that meadow! Instead watch out for another sign directing you to the left where you will see some steps cut into the rising land. Walk up these steps and you will begin to hear the road. Keep dogs on leads now and children under control. You will pass through some enormous pine trees, one of which is on its side as it split in a recent storm.
To the left of this tree is an unexpected sight – a wee ten-tread wooden bridge and small latched wooden gate. It looks a bit overgrown in this photo but it’s all cleared now. Open the gate carefully and look to your right as this is a dual-lane carriageway!
Cross the dual carriageway’s central reservation via a short, mown track. TAKE CARE, look both ways. Once safely across climb over the metal gate on the other side. Or squeeze through the fence rails (made from the chestnut coppice you just walked through).
Watch for the next sign as you’ll be making a right hand turn in a moment. This will lead you to more tree nursery plantation in a fifty acre field.
Keep walking alongside the plantation and you will be in a narrow corridor with stock-proof fencing on one side and hedgerow on the right side. You can’t go wrong here as you’re hemmed in!
The reason for the stock proof fencing at six foot high is to prevent the deer from munching on the young trees. Wild deer live all around the area and they’re constantly on the look-out for tender foliage to eat.) When you reach the gate at the end you’ll see a sign directing you to turn left!
You are now on the official Public Footpath that you can see on an Ordnance Survey Map. If you want to be absolutely certain you’ve got it right you will see a blue shipping container on the left of this stretch – with some enormous harvester wheels leaning against it.
In July and August the crop is wheat. Look out for the scarecrows! We watched skylarks diving about and singing their hypnotic lifting tunes. In mid-summer you’ll also see butterflies galore.
In the distance you’ll see more trees and you will be passing through this shadier area at the end of these wheat fields. If you do this walk in May it’s covered in bluebells – a sight to behold.
Go through the wooden hurdle gate and continue down through the woodland track.
Continue along for about fifteen minutes until you see a Public Footpath sign that points you in every direction (useful, eh?) and then go right, (towards the A272 if you have your google maps on you).
This right turn drops you right down to Durleighmarsh Farm through an ancient hedgerow so overgrown that it’s become a virtual tunnel through the landscape. In fact, up ahead you will see an iron footbridge above you! This is used by anyone at the pick-your-own farm to get from one field to another without falling into this Alice and Wonderland-like tunnel!
Once you reach tarmac do a switchback up the steep drive to the car park and tea room and farm shop.
You have arrived!
If you want to continue your walk check out the Serpents Tail walk which can continue on from here. If you’ve picked too much fruit – or come for the Wednesday morning fishmonger – then you may wish to phone for a taxi to take you back! 01730-303030 for Petersfield Taxis.
If you chose to drive here instead it’s simply one mile up the road from Adhurst on the A272 – the photo below shows it from the A272 with its topiary teapot!