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Weekend Walk – Leith Hill Woodland Walk

1. From either of the Windy Gap car parks, head south using the track adjacent to the cottage, following the orange waymarkers.

2. This track leads you down through the woodland where, in the autumn, you can hear roving flocks of woodland birds including nuthatches, coal tits and treecreepers. The Woodland Trail offers a lovely walk at all times of year with autumn being particularly stunning due to the the turning colours of the trees.

3. At the junction of tracks take the second left through the Lime Avenue, planted as part of the original estate landscape. The path takes you past the walled garden on the right and to the road where you should turn left carefully heading down the road for 55yd (50m) before heading right into the farmland over the stile.

4. Follow straight ahead in front of Leith Hill Place on your right and admire the stunning views across the parkland and southwards over the Weald onto the ridge of the South Downs. Pass through the kissing gate and cross the second field to the gate just below the pond. Once through the gate you will pass through woodland. Bear right and follow the straight track ahead of you.

5. Follow this track which bends right and heads uphill. Bear right, following the signs which lead you through the rhododendron wood and up through the car park to the road.

6. Turn right from the car park and then left up a couple of steps, being careful when crossing the road. Once across the road follow the path heading left up alongside the sandstone wall. This path will lead you all the way up through woodland to the tower.

This fortified folly marks the highest point in south-east England and was built in 1765 by Richard Hull of Leith Hill Place. Crowning the summit of the hill and standing 965ft (317m) above sea level, it has impressive 360 degree views from the top, north to London and south to the English Channel. Amazingly, on a clear day up to 13 counties can be seen.

7. Reward yourself with some light refreshments from the servery whilst enjoying the stunning views of inner London looking north and the English Channel to the south, through Shoreham Gap some 25 miles (40km) away. To learn more about the area, and enjoy the spectacular panoramic view from the top battlements, why not enter the tower. To return to the car park head down from the tower, turning left with your back to the noticeboard following the rail around to the top of the steps. Carefully take the steps back to the car park.

DISTANCE: 2.5 miles
OS MAPS: MapLandranger 187; Explorer 146
STARTING POINT: Windy Gap car park, grid ref: TQ139429

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