Kingley Vale, West Sussex
Starts at Kingley Vale car park (SU824088)
4 hours 0 minutes | 7.4miles 11.9km | Moderate
ID: 0.10361 | Developed by: Dave Hamilton |
The ancient yew forest at Kingley Vale is a magical place to explore. Some of the trees are close to 2,000 years old. Today, the forest is home to many bird species, as well as deer, yellow-necked mouse, water shrew and dormouse.
Main Route
Alternative Route
Point of Interest
Waypoint
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Starts at

Kingley Vale car park (SU824088) PO18 9BE

Ends at

Kingley Vale car park (SU824088) PO18 9BE

Getting there

Number 54 bus runs from Chichester to Petersfield. Get off at East Ashling, 1km south of start (emsworthanddistrict.co.uk).

Route instructions

[1] START from car park and follow path north through gate alongside large field. After around 1km/¾ mile you will reach the entrance to the nature reserve, with an impressive wooden sculpture. Remain on path heading north through first ancient yews. It is worth diverting off the path to examine the trees. Some of these gnarled relics are thought to date back 2,000 years, which makes them among the oldest living organisms in Britain. Remain on path heading roughly north, then north-east to the summit of Bow Hill.

[2] At the top of the hill there is a path left near the Tansley Stone. This is a monument to Sir Arthur Tansley, a campaigner responsible for Kingley Vale’s status as a National Nature Reserve. Follow the path left and walk west above the treeline to two barrows known as the Devil’s Humps. Although these barrows are from the Bronze Age, locals say they contain the remains of dead Viking chieftains, defeated in battle, whose ghosts are said to haunt the forest. Views from the barrows across the downs to Chichester Harbour are breathtaking. Take the path north of the barrows running south-west. Go right at T-junction, following path to village and turn right along road for the Hare and Hounds pub.

[3] From pub, follow road south-west back through village and take footpath left. Ignore paths to right and follow path as it turns left. Ignore three paths heading off right, then at path junction take left-hand path and head back up towards the Devil’s Humps. Exit the field containing the Devil’s Humps via gate in south-west corner.

[4] Take left-hand path to enter yew tree grove heading south. The grove is one of the highlights of the walk. It is a dark and forbidding place, where little has changed over two millennia. It’s easy to understand why locals thought they were the haunt of ghostly warrior kings.

[5] At the end of the grove the path heads L and joins your outbound route at the entrance to the nature reserve. Turn right here to retrace your steps back to car park.

Notes

This route was first published in the winter 2017 issue of walk magazine

Acknowledgements
Developed by: Dave Hamilton
Ancient yews at Kingley ValeAncient yews at Kingley Vale
Photo taken by: Visit Chichester