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Walking Weekend Spring in West Sussex and South Downs

.. walk the Heritage Coast & National Park

Fri 20 Apr 2018 - Sun 22 Apr 2018
Abingworth Hall, Thakeham, West Sussex # RH20 3EF
Arrive 4pm for meal at 7pm
£199 Mem En-Suite Twin Share, £219 Guest En-Suite Twin Share, £239 Mem En-Suite Single, £199 Mem En-Suite Double Share (Deposit £40)
2 nights accommodation, 2 breakfasts, 2 picnic lunches, 2 evening meals & 2 days of guided walks with a choice of walks each day
Local transport (bus coach or train, where required)
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Overview: This is a new centre for Walkwise and a perfect opportunity to catch up with everyone or meet new friends while exploring the beautiful South Downs and its beautiful flora. For those of you who are familiar with the South Downs you will no doubt be well acquainted with many of the tracks and drover’s roads that crisscross the chalk escarpments and meadows. This maze of footpaths creates an endless variety of routes which seamlessly blend the beauty of the land with forgotten villages and historic Inns. We’re be staying at the lovely HF Abingworth Hall in Thakenham, which makes the weekend very accessible by car or rail. The hotel is well positioned for exploring the delightful surrounding South Downs Countryside.

The Walking: Having visited the area many times before we know just how beautiful the Sussex Countryside is, the unspoilt villages, undulating chalk downlands and lovely escapements with panoramic viewpoints. To add interest to your days there are ancient settlements, iron age forts, lovely villages and great pubs too. We are truly spoilt for choice with the walks. One favourite walk follows a section of the South Downs Way along the crest of the Downs to Rackham Hill and Kithurst Hill. From here we descend onto the lower slopes and head towards Arundel along the Monarch's Way. We’ll enjoy great views of Arundel as we descend from the Downs towards the Arun Valley. The Monarch's Way follows the route of King Charles II as he made his escape from the Battle of Worcester.

Another possibility is an excellent day out in the Arun Valley. This walk combines the tranquil peace of the meandering River Arun with the romantic charm of the picturesque village of Amberley whose majestic castle overlooks the Wild Brookes nature reserve beyond. Various routes now lead out onto the wonderful open South Downs where we cross The Burgh before returning to the river at South Stoke. From here the going is easy as the river is followed again via Swanbourne Lake to the charming town of Arundel where there will be time for refreshments in one of the numerous pubs or cafes before returning to the hotel.

Yet another alternative is to walk the around the awesome Cissbury Ring which encloses the whole top of the hill, from here its then also possible to wander over to Finton of the Downs. The Cissbury Ring is not just any Iron Age Hill Fort, it’s a huge site! In fact Wembley Stadium would easily fit into it! Both walks today will explore this historic site but there are other interesting facets to this day. We will use our height to explore the high ridges of the Downs and gain unbroken vistas over the surrounding countryside. Good paths and tracks then lead us over the beautiful Chanctonbury escarpment and we’ll even pop into the occasional village to get refreshments at a local Inn or Tea Shop, just to help out the local economy!

As ever, we’ll provide a minimum of two walks on each day, led by professional and knowledgeable walking guides, allowing you to choose a walk which suits you best on the day. On both days there will be a harder walk of 10-12 miles with up to 2000ft of ascent, and a gentler walk of 7-9 miles with less ascent. All walks are weather dependent and own transport or coaches may be taken to the walk starts.

Accommodation: Situated close to the village of Thakeham at the foot of the South Downs, there has been a house on the current site since the 13th century. After a devastating fire in 1910, the building was completely rebuilt in a distinctive style. Today’s Abingworth Hall has 25 ensuite bedrooms each having their individual layout and character, as befits a historic building, and are all located in the main house. In your room you’ll find a TV with digital radio, hair dryer, towels and tea and coffee making facilities. The spacious public rooms include three comfortable lounges, the largest of which opens onto the attractive conservatory and bar. There is also a fine dining room and ballroom. Abingworth Hall is surrounded by eight acres of gardens including a putting green and croquet lawn as well as the heated outdoor swimming pool, though we’re just a little early as this opens in May. Like all the HF Country Houses, it is tailored for walkers like us with boot room, drying room and also just as important they have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits. WiFi is accessible in all public areas but due to the area in which the house is located, the mobile phone signal is patchy. HF have a reputation for fabulous food and they pride themselves on the quality, using local produce wherever possible. The wide choice at breakfast includes local eggs and sausages, and you’ll find a range of home-baked goods amongst the choices for in their famous self-select picnic lunches. Dinner is the social highlight of the day, offering three courses with plenty of choice. This might include Sussex lamb, locally grown Thakeham mushrooms or a Sussex cheese board. With your meal, enjoy a drink from the bar which offers a range of wines and local beers. There’s a vegetarian option at all meals and they cater for gluten-free diets.

This event is organized and supplied by WalkWise UK Ltd, whose terms and conditions apply, obtainable on request and for whom your local SPICE group acts as an agent. Those booking enter into a contract directly with WalkWise UK Ltd. For availability and bookings contact your local SPICE group directly. For terms and conditions go to












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Updated Thursday 19th April 2018, 11:34

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