Good-going to Goodwood on Good Friday
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One third townscape and two thirds landscape, but the townscape is that of Chichester, a cathedral city of Georgian townhouses, and the landscape is that of the rolling South Downs National Park. We'll go surprisingly deep into the national park and the vistas we'll enjoy will go even deeper. In Chichester, we'll proceed through a formal garden and follow a half-circuit of the five metre-high Roman city walls with views over the historic city centre. In the countryside we'll see chalk streams, flint-built villages and open fields, and at lunchtime we'll sit on an Iron Age hill fort and survey views across the Weald, across the 'Glorious Goodwood' racecourse, and across the coastal plain to the sea.
Chichester: A cathedral city of Roman origin (Noviomagus Reginorum) founded soon afer the Claudian invasion of 41 AD. Many Georgian buildings and a thriving arts scene. The chief sights are: Bishop's Palace Gardens: extensive and intricate Tudor gardens overlooking the cathedral; City walls: Originally Roman, c 200 AD, four metres wide and five metres high in places. 80 per cent complete, making them the most intact circuit of Roman town defences in Southern England; Chichester Cathedral: Fundamentally Norman, but modest and friendly in scale. C12 and C13 rebuilds creating beautiful transitional Gothic chancel and retrochoir. Unique but clunky detached bell tower of 1436. Tower and spire (82 m tall) accurately rebuilt in 1861 after collapse by George Gilbert Scott. Interior is almost a gallery of modern art (the cathedral exterior will be seen at a slight distance; we won't be entering); Chichester Festival Theatre: By Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya, 1962, grade II*-listed. Innovative open stage and hexagonal plan. Park location to foster informality and festivity. Pallant House Gallery: The original Pallant House was built 1712-13 is one of Chichester's finest Georgian houses. It is rather upstaged by the admittedly very fine Gallery of 2003-6 by Colin St John Wilson, architect of the British Library. The third design for this was eventually accepted after the first two were reviled.
East Lavant: Beside the river with a lovely intricate yet relaxed plan. Brick, flint and thatched cottages and a superb view north to the Downs. St Mary's Church is 12th and 13th century, with a plain brick tower of 1671 and all the rest a Victorian restoration of 1863. We could have a drink at The Royal Oak.
St Roche's Hill and the Trundle: 206 m in elevation. The Trundle (Old English 'Tryndel' or 'circle') is an Iron Age hill fort built around a Neolithic causewayed enclosure. Subsequent history involves a chapel to St Roche (lost), a Civil War encampment and a viewing area to Goodwood Racecourse. There are wonderful views to be had, north over the Weald and south over the Sussex Plain and the Sea.
Goodwood: We won't see the late C18 stately home and we'll only see the aerodrome, car racing circuit and site of the Goodwood Revival at a distance, but we'll get a grandstand view of the grandstands of the famous racecourse. 'Glorious Goodwood' earned its honorific by being 180m up, and set in sublime countryside. It was laid out in 1801 as a private military racecourse. The current stands are the March Stand of 1980, the Charlton Stand of 1989 and the Sussex Stand of 1990, the latter by Arup Associates. Architect Michael Hopkins designed the paddock area with tent-like structures in 2001. Edward VII called Goodwood 'a garden party with some racing tacked on', and I think the festive feel and beautiful setting confirm his belief.
The route (click the link to see the walk at the OS website):
The route is like a double transect from the Chichester Plain where the town is, up on to the chalk Downs and back again.
Leaving the station we will walk around the southwest, northwest and northeast quadrants of the city walls, mostly on the elevated walk promenade, occasionally at street level. We will then descend the walls and cross the Oaklands Way Ring Road to walk north along College Lane out to Summersdale suburb. Beyond that, the West Sussex Literary Trail running along Fordwater Road will take us out of the town into the countryside to East Lavant to begin ascending the Downs by way of Chalk Pit Lane. At the top of the lane, we'll do a circuit of the Trundle and have lunch. Leaving the Trundle, we'll follow a bridleway and the West Sussex Literary Trail alongside the River Lavant heading south. At the village of East Lavant we'll cross the A286 again at Mid-Lavant and use the Centurion Way mixed-use path to the north of Chichester. We'll leave it at Brandy Hole Lane. Back in Summersdale we'll cross the A286 again, walk a little way south along Lavant Road and walk through Oaklands Park past the Festival Theatre. After that we'll walk through some Georgian streets, so you can at this point go home, go to the pub or go to the shops.
I love having dogs on my walks and this walk is suitable for them, although there will be lots of road walking in town and may be some fields with livestock. A dog off the lead must be obedient.
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(Picture credits: View towards St Roche's Hill: Photo © Peter Trimming (cc-by-sa/2.0); View towards Singleton from The Trundle: Photo © David Martin (cc-by-sa/2.0); Goodwood Grandstand from The Trundle: Photo © Rob Farrow (cc-by-sa/2.0); Bishop's Palace, Chichester: Photo © David Kemp (cc-by-sa/2.0); Chichester Cathedral: Photo © David Martin (cc-by-sa/2.0); St Mary's Church. East Lavant: Photo © Dave Spicer (cc-by-sa/2.0); River Lavant beside the green at East Lavant: Photo © David Martin (cc-by-sa/2.0); Looking southwest from The Trundle: Photo © David Martin (cc-by-sa/2.0); Path and wall on edge of Westside Plantation: Photo © David Martin (cc-by-sa/2.0); Looking across the River Lavant towards Manor Farm; Bridge at Lavant, Sussex: Photo © Peter Trimming (cc-by-sa/2.0); Chichester Festival Theatre: Photo © Peter Trimming (cc-by-sa/2.0); All images are copyrighted but are licensed for reuse under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA/2.0.)
What to bring
Wear walking boots with thick socks. Bring wet-weather gear if rain is forecast and cold weather gear if that is. Although much of the walk will be on tarmac and gravel, some of it will also be on dirt tracks which could be muddy after any prolonged rain, so wear walking boots rather than shoes.
Food & drink
Please bring a packed lunch and snacks, which we'll have on The Trundle viewpoint. We'll also have a drink in a pub on the way back.
There are also abundant pubs and tea shops in Chichester at the end.
I'll bring some Easter treats too, and hot cross buns.