One of my favourite woodland walks in West Sussex that handily happens to start and end by a particularly fine pub is the walk from The George in Eartham through Nore Wood, part of the Slindon Estate, belonging to the National Trust. This 3.7-mile, mainly circular route leads you past a Victorian pumphouse and a folly, with glorious views across the South Downs and the coastal plain. In the autumn, the colours are spectacular while in the spring the forest floor is covered in bluebells.
Nore Wood Walk
Length: 3.7 miles
Time: 1 hour 40 mins
Difficulty: Easy, with some inclines and rough terrain but no stiles. About 1 mile of the walk is uphill, with the rest either on the flat or downhill.
Start/End Point: The George, Eartham PO18 0LT Coordinates: 50.87721, -0.66694, OS Explorer OL10 Grid Ref: SU938094
Ordnance Survey Map: OS EXPLORER OL10 Covering Arundel, Pulborough, Worthing & Bognor Regis (and part of the South Downs) this map shows all the public footpaths and bridleways in the area and is perfect for walkers at any level.
Notes: Not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs. No dog bins.
Nore Wood Ancient Woodland Walk
Starting at The George in Eartham (1), with the pub behind you, face south (towards the church) and follow the road round to the left, heading east. There aren’t any pavements here, so do take care.
Just past a row of cottages, a track (2) leads into the fields, past a brick and flint Victorian pumphouse and up towards Nore Wood.
In the spring, look out for cowslips by the side of the path.
As you head uphill, looking back, the views are spectacular – Halnaker Windmill can be seen across the fields behind Eartham on a nearby hilltop.
The path bends to the left passing a disused stile (3) and runs along the edge of a field with the trees on your left and the field on your right. Another 100 metres will bring you to the top of the field.
Turn right here (4) and follow the tree line (about 190 metres) to Nore Wood (5), a mainly beech wood with some holly, yew and ash trees.
Once in Nore Wood (5), turn left (north) and follow the bridle path called Puck Lane. This is an old drovers’ lane, where once livestock would have been lead on foot between pastures or to market. Many of these lanes are hundreds of years old even dating back to medieval times. Puck means nightjar in all-but-disappeared Sussex dialect. It was also a name for fairies in English folklore.
Nore Wood Bluebells
Around mid-April and throughout May, although the exact time varies greatly from year to year, you’ll see bluebells blanketing the ground between the beech trees. Please take care, not to tread on any flowers. It takes 5 to 7 years for a bluebell to grow from a seed to a flowering bulb. At this time of year, you may also see early purple orchids.
Bluebells between the beech trees in Nore Wood in spring
Early purple orchid in Nore Wood in spring
Autumn Colours in Nore Wood
These same woods look particularly splendid in autumn too.
Follow the bridle path until you reach a ‘T’ junction (6). The bridle path continues to the left, but we follow the footpath to the right, taking us south.
The straight forestry path forks twice but keep to the left-hand branches (7, 8).
Once you reach a metal gate (9), the fields open up again for more lovely views. Sheep are often grazing in the fields here so please keep dogs on a lead.
The path takes you around the edge of the wood leading you to a folly (10).
Nore Hill Folly
For anyone not familiar with the term ‘folly’, it means an ornamental building with no real purpose, found in English parks and gardens. Slindon was the family seat of the Countess of Newburgh and her husband. Nore Hill Folly was built in 1814 for the countess who it is said enjoyed picnics here. The folly is believed to resemble an Italian arch that appeared in a painting belonging to the countess. A wooden structure, used for entertaining hunting parties, was once attached to it but it is long since gone.
Today there’s a bench where you can rest awhile and admire the views.
At the folly, the path takes a sharp left and then right turn, and continues down to another ‘T’ junction (11). Take the right-hand path passing Row’s Barn on your left.
Follow the path as it bends left and then right (12).
Continue north along the path for about 500 metres. You’re now back in Nore Wood (13). Take the left-hand path which will lead you to more bluebells.
Follow the path as it bends left (14) leading you back to Puck Lane.
When you reach Puck Lane (15) turn left, heading south and retracing your steps for about 240 metres. You’ll see the gap in the trees on your right (5) where you first entered the wood.
Retrace your steps downhill via the pump house back to The George in Eartham (1).
Do you have a favourite woodland walk in West Sussex? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Hello, I’m the writer, photographer, and walking guide, behind Sussex Walks. I was born in West sussex and have lived here all my life (apart from a few years in Bristol while at university studying Zoology, Botany and Psychology).