The Mottisfont Plane tree is a sight to behold – stretching far above its neighbours and with a girth of 12m. When we saw it in September it was still decked in green foliage, but by now those leaves will be turning colour and falling, which must also be a beautiful sight to see!
What a rude shock it was to be confronted by the M3 blocking our progress. Walkers reaching Horndean have to walk for nearly a mile beside this furious highway, cross a footbridge, and then walk another mile on the other side until they are opposite the point they started. It takes a while for the shock to subside but eventually you find yourself amidst dappled forest glades and the Satanic intrusion is soon forgotten.
The section of the walk between Rowlands Castle and West Dean is perhaps the most beautiful of all, combining open fields, rising downland, and ancient woodland. By the time we reached Amberley we were footsore but very pleased to have made such a wonderful journey in the last of the summer sun. We caught the train back from Amberley to Worthing and rejoined the pulse beat of urban living.
It is a walk to be recommended. There are plenty of good pubs en route and splendid views to behold. The entire route is 579 miles, making it the longest inland trail in the country. More information can be found at http://www.monarchsway.50megs.com/catalog.html