Cocking Park

A fine little walk of 4kms (2.5 miles) through meadows, by streams and old oaks, with views of the Downs is yours for the taking. Park roadside in Bex Lane, the side road off the A286 between Cocking and Midhurst SU882188.

Now west for 300m back to main road, crossing this into the lane opposite. Pass 300 year old oak on right, then cross the old railway line which is barely visible, and turn sharp right on yellow arrow over stile into polo pony paddock. Follow left hedge to another stile by another mighty oak. All this looks like old parkland and is called Cocking Park, an old sporting playground for pheasant battues.

The next little meadow goes steeply down to the right, into a rather marshy dell, with more fine old oaks, where find a concrete footbridge in which are imprinted horse's hooves, over a tiny stream that originates near Bepton. There are two more footbridges, prettily crossing the stream as you wend your way past Pitsham Place.

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At the gate back into another meadow, note two or three sedges. Keep left, following the blackthorn hedge to another crossing of the stream, then turn right along the house drive with its lime trees. There is a very pretty little valley here.

Coming to Pitsham Farm take the left hand track passing the farm uphill north-west, following a neatly trimmed blackthorn and wild plum hedge to the old brickworks with its cottages and barns and dozens of house sparrows. Here turn sharp right on yellow arrow eastward, to cross another meadow. The next stile is under power cable poles. Heyshott Downs ahead and half right behind are Harting Downs.

Stay on the same course ahead and find a stile under another oak, when down into stream and Ranunculus meadow. You now pass through the edge of somebody's garden, when turn right passing under a wonderful old railway bridge with hart'stongue ferns growing into its brickwork one side and then liverworts on the other.

Pass a magnificent straight and tall scots pine on right. Cross main road after walking 30m left along pavement so that you have a good view up and down, and enter Oaklands Lane. Note Norfolk reeds on left. Right to Dunsford, having a look at Richard Cobden's obelisk.

At hilltop, sharp right into a grassy lane, an old shaw. Stay more or less south along the meadow hedgerows on left, though the route is not very obvious you will enjoy the magnificent Downs ahead with the old chalk quarry, soon coming to a crossing of Costers Brook in a mini ravine. Continue south to Bex Lane, and right back to the Morris in the shade of the old oak trees.

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