Stage 4: Tillington to Fittleworth — Serpent Trail
Alex Foxfield planned a hike.
January 20, 2021
This is a beautiful and varied walk from the grand surroundings of the Petworth Deer Park to the mystique of Fittleworth Wood, the muse of many artists down the years. At only 6.4 miles (10.3 km), this is a short stage. However, there are many worthwhile detours you could take, as the parks and woodland you encounter just cry out to be explored in more depth.
From Tillington, the route skirts the southern end of the Petworth Deer Park, before passing through the village of the same name and heading east to Flexham Park. Flexham is actually a commercial woodland, with large areas of chestnut coppice. Paths splay out from its centre like a spider’s web, so there’s no shortage of exploration to be had.
The picturesque hamlet of Bedham is next. This tiny settlement is beautifully set in gorgeous woodland and has attracted artists for many years because of the tranquillity found here. The route goes south through Fittleworth Wood, a beguiling place that has enraptured folk for centuries. Classical composer Sir Edward Elgar’s wife said that the ‘wood magic’ found here was said to be the inspiration for her husband’s slow-burning Violin Sonata of 1918.
The stage ends at Fittleworth on the River Rother, where a couple of B&Bs (the Swan Inn and Bankywood) and a holiday cottage sum up the accommodation options. Advance booking is essential, as once again public transport options are limited.
January 26, 2021