About us ~
Bikes ~
 Videos ~ Gallery ~ SearchLinks

Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 24th April 2010
Bignor - Eartham Woods - Selhurst Park - Tegleaze - Barlavington - Sutton - Bignor
13 miles
OS Landranger Map 197

When you go over the top of Bignor Hill and start on the old Roman Road of Stane Street, you really start to feel like a Roman in Britain. You can dominate a view that hasn't changed much in centuries and walk on the same road that those ancient invaders trod on their way to Noviomagus (Chichester). So to be followed along the route by a Roman soldier in full battle dress brought forth some very strange feelings. It was uplifting, thrilling, romantic and dramatic of course, but also slightly distressing when you consider that thousands of these conquerors marched along this ancient highway to enforce their iron rule over England for nearly 400 years (AD 43 - 410). They didn't think too highly of us either:
“They are tall and bandy-legged with crooked bodies” (Strabo)
“Savages” (Tacitus)
“Creatures which are half-man and half-beast live there.” (Anon)

The very friendly Roman we met today had chosen the hottest day of the year so far to invade West Sussex and his heavy armour must have been acting like a figure-hugging radiator long before midday even came along. His work today though was very important and thankfully relatively benign, as he was only exhorting taxes from the local peasants in aid of Chestnut Tree House Children's Hospice in Arundel.
On leaving Stane Street our walk continued up and down through Selhurst park (not the football ground), up to the top of the Downs at Tegleaze and on to Duncton Down. A fantastically wildlife-rich area where you are forced to keep stopping to take in all the views and peace and quiet. The final stage of this walk is the stroll through the tiny villages of Barlavington, Sutton and Bignor, and the stunning footpaths that join them.
This is a real gem of a walk no matter where on the earth you come from and should certainly be compulsory for all that want to see the true richness of Sussex at its very best. We started from Bignor church but there is very little parking there. There are car parks dotted around the route though, notably at Bignor Hill, Eartham Woods, Selhurst Park and Duncton Down.

The very start of the walk, just south of Bignor church.

Along the small stream that's always running off of the Downs...

and up the steep wooded path to the top of Bignor Hill...

... where we were met by Andrew the second invasion period (AD 43) Roman soldier.
His amazing uniform was completely authentic, as were his hobnailed sandals, which he said were very comfortable to walk in.


Gill surveys the view from Stane Street and imagines herself as a marauding Roman invader.
(You've got to watch the quiet ones!)

The black buds of Ash trees are now in the process of bursting...


Watch your step!

You can't get more art nouveau than mother nature.

Self-heal seemed to be blooming in every field.

Masses of butterflies too, including many Brimstones, Commas, Speckled Wood, Orange Tip and Peacocks.

Goat Willow

Barlavington's little church surrounded by spring blooms.


Many of the fields had gambolling lambs in them. A perfect spring day for everyone.