Stage 5: Fittleworth to Graffham — Serpent Trail
Alex Foxfield planned a hike.
January 20, 2021
Here is a marvellous 9.6-mile (15.4 km) ramble across a succession of spectacular commons and heaths between Fittleworth and Graffham. The wealth of wildlife and varied habitats is wonderful, and the scenery is heart-warming throughout.
You leave Fittleworth to the west and zigzag through Hesworth Common’s patchwork of heath and woodland, where bog asphodel thrives. Leave the common and join the road across the River Rother, before heading south west towards Lord’s Piece.
This magnificent area of sandy heathland almost feels like a part of the New Forest has been transported into Sussex. Little pockets of woodland dot the heath and it is a haven for birdlife, such as the Dartford warbler, nightjar and woodlark. A colony of rare field cricket makes a welcome racket on summer evenings.
After turning north west, you arrive at Burton and Chingford Ponds Nature Reserve and its myriad habitats. It’s a great place to spot dragonflies; over 24 species have been sighted here. The route continues north and then west through Ducton and Lavington Commons, where some fabulous fungi can be seen.
The stage ends at the pretty village of Graffham, where a couple of inns and a B&B offer accommodation. Once again, advance booking is essential. There’s also a village shop for stocking up on sugary snacks.
January 26, 2021