9 October. As a walk leader, one always hopes for decent weather and smooth running public transport. Things were looking decidedly shaky at the outset – it was quite misty; trains were being cancelled at Victoria and there were warnings of delays due to signalling problems. Luckily, our train was spared and we arrived at Horsham on time, and in bright sunshine. It was good to be met by Rosie, who had travelled up from Chichester to join us, our group now numbering 18.
Horsham is unusual in having an attractive large park in the centre, thanks to a shrewd purchase by the local council in the 1920’s. It was busy with Saturday football and family groups as we walked through, to the town centre and then down an attractive street of old buildings leading to the parish church of St Mary. This dates from the 13th century, and the exterior of local stone is largely unchanged.
We made our way south through woods and parkland that was part of Denne estate dating from Norman times. Turning east at Stakers farm, a 15th century timber frame building we saw some young roe deer and passed a vineyard. We lunched at Nuthurst, some of us picnicking in the churchyard and others eating in the the Black Horse. This is a classic country pub, with decent food (the pies deserve a mention) and a good beer selection.
After lunch we climbed steadily up to Sedgwick park, enjoying autumn leaves underfoot and views back down to Nuthurst. The park has the remains of a Norman castle, the current house, in private hands, is late 19 century Arts and Crafts. A sign announces that Alice Liddell spent her honeymoon here. The gardens are impressive and are open to the public on occasions.
We gradually made our way gently down through pleasant farmland with views of Horsham in the distance. The final stretch was through a nature reserve which was previously a farm and by 4.30 pm we were back at St Mary’s.
Thanks to all who came and made things easy for the leader
Special thanks to Christine and Claude for the pictures, though it was a pity you missed the roe deer.