Monday, 5 January 2015

Black Down - West Sussex Historic County Top & Navant Hill

Walk Summary
The Noah's Ark public house, Lurgashall.
Walk start and finish point.
Bit of a late start if we want to visit all 4 planned peaks today but this time (unlike Leith Hill) will have the main peak in first half of walk just in case.
Bit of difficulty finding paths through Upper Barn Hanger Wood resulting in a bit of an adventurous ditch crossing on way to Navant Hill.
According to only 2 other people have been to Navant Hill before. I am sure there have been more than that but felt it only polite to properly photograph and log the high point, much to Gina's amusement (amazement). Anyway all this ate in to the day so early on we cut our losses and decided to only go for Black Down making it a very pleasant, though muddy walk as well as being back at the van in good time well before (or just on) dusk.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 05 January 2014
Walkers - Steve Smith, Gina Smith

Accommodation - Gatwick Caravan Club Site
Start Point - The Noahs Ark public house, Lugashall (GR - SU 93737 27189)
Start Time - 11:45
Finish Point 
The Noahs Ark public house, Lugashall (GR - SU 93737 27189)
Finish Time - 16:05
Duration - 4hrs 20mins
Average pace - 1.62mph
Distance Walked - 7.02 miles
Height Ascended - 320.95metres

Other walks on this trip
02nd Leith Hill - Surrey Historic County Top
03rd Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex Historic County Top
05th Black Down, West Sussex Historic County Top
06th Betsoms Hill, Kent Historic County Top

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (254E - 444E&W)
Hewitts (138E - 317E)
Marilyns (158E - 1550E,W&S)
Black Down (61E - 115E,W&S)
Deweys (241E - 427EW&S)
HuMPs (364W - 2977EW&S)
Black Down (108E - 179E,W&S)
Historic County Top (49E - 63E&W 94E,W&S)
Black Down (27E - 31E&W -34E,W&S)
E: England. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland

Walks Description
Navant Hill
Navant Hill high point
covered by brambles in Tolt Coppice
Setting off along the PROW to Park Farm the route seemed obvious along what became a forest track through Hog Coppice. It was not until we came to an unexpected path from the right that I realised that was the path we should have come out from. It looked very overgrown little used and very muddy.
Back on track we found the footpath sign pointing off ahead and right towards Upper Barn Hanger Wood. As soon as we entered the wood there was a stream to cross after which an obvious path off to the left. This brought us out on the west side of the wood and on a PROW past Upper Barn Cottage. Off plan but going in more or less the right direction. It was not until we reached the field end that we had a difficult crossing of a ditch, up a bank the other side and through overgrown but not impenetrable holly bushes. If we had been on the other side of the fence inside Upper Barn Hanger there was a wooden sleeper making the ditch crossing much easier, but separating us from that was an even thicker and this time impenetrable hedge. So rather than turning back and finding the less obvious path through Upper Barn Hanger to approach Navant Hill from the south we battled across the ditch, turned right and approached Navant Hill from the north through Hillgrove.
Footpath to Navant Hill comes out just
beyond gate on drive to Tolt Coppice Farm
Leaving Hillgrove we passed Navant Hill on the right along Hillgrove Lane and found a clear path turning back north through Tolt Coppice which led to the high point.
Continuing north after the summit the path faded a bit but did reappear for us to follow bringing us out on the private drive to Tolt Coppice Farm, explaining why we could not find it on the way out of Hillgrove

Black Down
Black Down trig point
First summit bagged we decided to cut the walk short and only go for Black Down so the plan now was to return to the pond near our difficult ditch crossing and follow the path west until it splits around Shopp Hill Farm and come out on Jobsons Lane taking the first junction left signposted to Roundhurst.
By now we were thinking about lunch but decided to wait until we reached the car park at the junction of Quell Lane and Fernden Lane. Who knows as it is marked on the map and near the county top it may have a coffee shop similar to Leith Hill. Well that plan came to nothing. The grand expected status of the car park implied by the blue P on the map did not deliver a coffee shop, in fact barely enough space for 4 cars, but there was seating on the yellow salt box for us to sit whilst we had our lunch.
Lunch venue in car park a
 junction of Quell Lane and Fernden Lane
Suitably refuelled by lunch we were energised sufficiently to make the final assault on the summit. Follow the path near the private entrance to Telegraph cottage and follow the sunken on a gentle ascending spiral around the east side of Black Down until it joins the Serpent Trail. Carry on following this and it will miss the summit and take you straight to Temple of the Winds, a bronze age circular bank. So soon after joining the main path look for a path off to the west and find the trig point and nearby highest point of West Sussex.
Temple of the Winds on Black Down
The Temple of the Winds also has curved stone seating as well a memorial to the Hunter family who donated this land to the National Trust.
Both here and at the trig points there are excellent views to be enjoyed but not today due to the murky weather and poor late afternoon light.
Main objective achieved all that remained was for us to head north for a short distance along the Serpent Trail before forking left down a sunken path, not dissimilar to the one came up, down to Cotchet Farm and Fernden Lane. The same Fernden Lane near the car park where we had lunch. Gina realised this and rather than cut across more muddy fields we decided to follow Fernden Lane to the car park, down Quell Lane to Jobsons Lane and turning left down Dial Green Lane to Lurgashall. An easy 2 miles along tarmac roads we managed in an hour.

More Photographs
Time for reflection. Pond near Upper Barn Hanger between Navant Hill and Black Down
Click on photograph to view slide-show