A Companionable Combing of Combes and Commons
26 people attending
4 places left
'Combe' means steep, so strong boots are recommended on this day walk of diversity and delight. The diversity will arise from the geology and scenery, from the pine and sweet chestnut woods on the rugged greensand hills to the pony paddocks and commons of gorse and birch beneath; the delight will arise from the secluded corners and tiny cottages and our anticipation of Christmas. The South Downs will form a breathtaking backdrop throughout. We're booked in to have lunch at a pub in the village of Milland, the first pub lunch of the winter on a walk of mine. Milland village is not particularly attractive, but the rest of its parish is lovely, a great location for an adventure for Advent.
Harting Combe and Tullecombe Woods: 'Combe' means a steep-sided valley. These are cloaked with dense pine and sweet chestnut woods and heaths of gorse and bracken. Tullecombe is Forestry Commission-owned and managed. Wood duck, goldcrest and firecrest inhabit the woods, and streams run through the deep ghylls (small ravines).
Milland: Remote and isolated but quite a built-up community. No buildings of special note in the village itself, but a relaxed and spacious plan. The low quality of buildings in the village itself belies the interest and appeal of the stone and timber-framed cottages elsewhere in the parish. It is here that we'll have our lunch, at The Rising Sun Inn. The pub is interesting rather than attractive: a 'roadhouse'-style pub built in anticipation of a road-rerouting that never took place. Set in woodlands away from the village, St Luke's Church of 1878 is imposing and rather forbidding, but the Old Church (Tuxlith Chapel) 'makes a telling contrast between humble rustic piety and a more assertive C19 religious advertisement. Late C11...very humble and very similar in feel to an urestored chapel in a remote part of Wales' (Ian Nairn, The Buildings of England: Sussex).
Borden (not Bordon!): Scattered cottages in a tiny wooded valley, more like the Welsh Marches than West Sussex, and with a really powerful and enchanting spirit of place.
Liss: Not much of interest in this sprawling suburbanised village that began when the railway arrived in the 1870s. Church of St Mary, 1891-2 by Sir Arthur Blomfield; tower of 1930 by Sir Edward Maufe. The village should be called East Liss to distinguish it from medieval West Liss.
The route (please click on the link to see it at the Ordnance Survey website):
We'll leave Liss going south along the B3006, before taking Stodham Lane and a gravel track to the B2070 which we'll cross to take the road to Rogate which we'll soon leave to pick up the Serpent Trail to go to Borden. After Borden, we'll use Cook's Pond Road to reach Rake Road which we'll head east along to go to Milland for lunch. We'll then head northwest along the Milland Road to ascend Maysleith Hanger. We'll cross the B2070 again and use the Serpent Trail and Shipwright's Way to head west along Langley Farm Road, Reeds Lane and Mint Road back to Liss.
I welcome dogs on all my walks and this walk is highly suitable for them. It has a few fields with livestock, but is of moderate length. There will also be a few stiles and roads to negotiate. A dog must be obedient if it is off the lead.
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(Picture credits: Field to the east of the Sussex Border Path: Photo © Chris Gunns (cc-by-sa/2.0); Conifers, Rake Hanger: Photo © N Chadwick (cc-by-sa/2.0); Galley Grove, Rogate, West Sussex: Photo © Anthony Brunning (cc-by-sa/2.0); Trotton Marsh seen from bridleway: Photo © Shazz (cc-by-sa/2.0); The Rising Sun, Milland: Photo © Maigheach-gheal (cc-by-sa/2.0); Large house on Milland Lane: Photo © Shazz (cc-by-sa/2.0); Tuxlith chapel from the north-east: Photo © Shazz (cc-by-sa/2.0); Gated bridleway on Chapel Common: : Photo © Shazz (cc-by-sa/2.0). All pictures are copyrighted but are licensed for reuse under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 2.0 and are here attributed to their copyright holders.)
What to bring
Walking boots with thick socks will be essential to cope with the climbing. Wear clothing appropriate to the weather including warm kit in case of cold weather and waterproof kit in case of rain. Gaiters might be an option too in the event of muddy conditions. Much of the walk will be on tarmac lanes, but some woodland paths will inevitably be muddy.
Food & drink
We are booked in at The Rising Sun in Milland at 13:30 to have lunch. I will contact you two weeks before the walk to ask for your food order. Please reply promptly to this as it takes a long time to organise the pre-order. If you're unsure about coming on the walk, I'd rather you told me your order, then cancelled, at no cost to either of us.
Alternatively, you're welcome to bring a packed lunch which you can have on the village green. Please tell me this too.
There are pubs in Liss at the end of the walk but the one closest the railway station (The Whistlestop) is not very appealing.