West Sussex walk: Warren Hill - Sleepy Hollow - The Sanctuary - Sandgate Park nature walk with photos and videos to guide you

Walk through woods, wonder at wildlife and explore history on this West Sussex walk with pictures and video to guide you. Reporter Elaine Hammond will take you on a linear walk that is easily accessible by bus and adaptable if you prefer to drive.

Start in Washington village and explore Warren Hill, Sleepy Hollow and Sandgate Park on this lovely journey filled with birdsong and butterflies, beautiful views and terrific trees.

You can get to the top of Washington on the no.1 bus from Worthing or Midhurst, the no.100 from Burgess Hill, Henfield and Steyning, or the no.23 from Worthing or Crawley and Horsham. Follow London Road north, then cross the A283. Just past Washington Park, turn right down Sandhill Lane to find the subway under the A24.

On the other side, walk up the ramp to the right and alongside the A24 for a very short distance before taking the path through to Old London Road. Find the footpath sign on the left and head up Warren Hill, which is fairly steep. Keep heading uphill, ignoring the flatter path off to the right, and follow the marked footpath through the trees.

You will find an opening that was once a gate on the left and it is worth going through here, because there is a bench on the other side and lovely views of the South Downs. Turn right to follow the footpath that runs alongside a fence, or stay on the footpath the other side, they both go the same way and link up again a bit further along.

Keep following the footpath until you reach a bench with lovely views then turn right to go downhill to the Warren Hill car park. This gives access to National Trust land that is a mix of woodland, broad paths, grassy glades and heath. Great for running round and a place well known in Scouting for bivouacking.

Walk through the car park and you will likely find the mobile coffee van. Carry on past that to go into Sleepy Hollow, as I know it. Continue on the path round into the trees, with the open grass to your right, and listen out for the woodpeckers – all three UK varieties can be found here. Follow the wide path through the trees to Georges Lane and cross over to go down Sanctuary Lane.

Look out for the Sanctuary shelter, where you can read the history of the utopian community that was founded here. Turn right to go up Vera's Walk, named after the community's founder, Vera Pragnell. At the end, just past a giant carved acorn, you will find the footpath that takes you to Hampers Lane.

Continue a short way before turning left into Bracken Lane and follow this road, past a footpath sign on the right and on until you come to another little yellow footpath sign. Follow this path past Firtree Cottage and Ridge Top and continue through the Sandgate Quarry works to the other side. Go straight on to come out at Hillside Road and a short way down you will find the next footpath, beside Tudor Lodge.

Soon, you will arrive at Sandgate Park, a fenced off country park that is a haven for wildlife. There is lots to explore. I completed this walk in March 2023 and enjoyed the lovely daffodils but I also saw the rhododendrons, bluebells and heathers soon to bloom. Just follow the path through the woods and heath to find what are known as fairy bridges.

These are fun to cross. Over the other side, carry on to take a walk through some terrific trees. You will find yourself at another exit point for the park but turn right and follow the line of the fence back to the river. Instead of returning across the heath, turn left to walk through the trees and follow the path round to find a lake. Here is another exit from the park but again, we will carry on round. You need to look out for another bridge ahead to the left.

Follow the path around to the left to get to the bridge then cross it and go up the windy path. This you brings you out on to a lovely open area with lovely views. You can follow the path along the top or walk through the grass and then at the fork, take either path, as both lead around to the exit we need. Go through the gate to Water Lane and you will find bus stops for the no.1 both to the left and the right, they are about the same distance away but the one to the right has a shelter with a seat. This is the only bus that serves this area but you can use it to get back to Washington to access the other routes.

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