Rowlands Castle circular
7 August. On a day that started with torrential downpours, seven intrepid walkers and two leaders braved the elements to do this 10-mile walk. In fact, the weather was kinder to us than we had imagined it might be and we had no thunder or lightning, a bit but not too much rain and even some sunshine.
The morning took us along part of the Monarch’s Way, the route of King Charles II’s escape from Parliamentarian troops to France. There is an article on this 625-mile walk in this summer’s Rambler’s magazine Walk.
Arriving at the Barley Mow in Walderton, we were promptly served our pre-ordered lunch before continuing eastwards on the Monarch’s Way gradually uphill before turning northwards and eventually along the top of a hill from where we had a view across fields to the distant Chichester Harbour.
After a gentle downhill section, passing horse paddocks, there was a steep climb at Watergate Hanger, necessitating treading carefully on the slippery chalk and negotiating recently fallen trees. Onwards around the fields of Broadreed Farm and then Stansted Forest until we reached Forestside and a chance to stop for a rest and a peek inside Christ Church.
The final section, after passing stables, took us through a rather overgrown stretch of path where we had to fight the brambles and nettles and then joined Staunton Way through fields of sheep. The last field did have cattle – just a few young males, though one looked more like a bull, but he paid us no attention as we gingerly approached and the two at the gate quickly moved away from us, thankfully.
Arriving back in Rowlands Castle the unanimous decision was to go straight to catch the hourly train rather than pause for tea.
Thanks to all who turned out and to Mary Jane and Sigrid for their photos.
Linda and Chris