CATEGORY: WALKS

Art & Architecture walk around Petworth Park and House

Distance 4 miles (6.4km)
Classification Easy
Duration 2 hours
Begins Petworth Park car park
OS grid reference SU966238

Walk in a nutshell
A tour round a Capability Brown landscaped park, which contains one of England's largest herds of fallow deer. Petworth is especially famous as the subject of many Turner paintings, some of which can be viewed inside the house. The terrain is steep in places and can be muddy. You are welcome to bring dogs but do keep them under close control. In the summer you'll also need to prevent them from swimming in the ponds, which contain blue-green algae.

Why it's special
This is a wonderful combination for art and nature lovers. The walk starts amid the landscape and woodland that Turner made famous then, about halfway around the circuit, you reach the magnificence of Petworth House, where 20 of Turner's paintings are on display as part of a dazzling collection that also includes works by Van Dyck and William Blake, carvings by Grinling Gibbons and statuary by John Flaxman and John Edward Carew.

Capability Brown's Pleasure Grounds

The Pleasure Grounds at Petworth were laid out in the 16th century and re-developed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the latter half of the 18th century. He suggested sites for the Doric Temple and Ionic otunda to give impressive views both to and from the structures, introduced a ha-ha between the Pleasure Grounds and in the Park designed sinuous paths from the mansion and around the grounds.

Midhurst & Duncton Mill Walk

Discover another way to visit the South Downs National Park. Go to www.traveline.co.uk or call 0871 200 22 33 to find public transport information. For train timetables, visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 08457 484950. South Downs National Park The South Downs National Park is Britain’s newest National Park, rich in landscape, culture and wildlife. Discover ancient woodland and enjoy spectacular views as you explore the open downs and heathlands. Within these landscapes lie bustling market towns and peaceful rural villages, historic houses and the remains of ancient settlements.

Petworth House and Park

The vast late 17th-century mansion Petworth House is set in a beautiful 283-hectare (700-acre) deer park, landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown and immortalised in Turner’s paintings.

Inside, the house contains the National Trust’s finest collection of pictures, with numerous works by Turner, Constable, Van Dyck, Reynolds and Blake, ancient and Neo-classical sculpture, fine furniture and carvings by Grinling Gibbons.

You can venture behind the scenes and discover secrets from the past at Petworth House. The servants’ quarters contain fascinating kitchens (including a copper batterie de cuisine of more than 1,000 pieces) and other service rooms. On weekdays additional rooms in the house are open by kind permission of Lord and Lady Egremont.

There’s lots of family events on at Petworth House and Park throughout the year. Explore and get closer to nature in the Pleasure Grounds and park; there’s plenty of wildlife to spot and you can enjoy the stunning backdrop of Petworth Park on a lovely family walk. The Park is open from 8am till dusk everyday.

Petworth House and Park ancient trees walk View Route

A fascinating woodland walk exploring truly ancient trees

Marvel at some of the oldest and largest trees in the country, and see a 1,000 year-old ancient oak that has survived all the major landscape changes since the 12th century. The gnarled and twisted bark of our magnificent ancient specimens make natural and amazing works of art.

Petworth Park, Lodsworth & Bexleyhill – Parkland, Priory and Pinewoods

This circular walk in West Sussex is a full day’s excursion. It is mostly a level walk but its length makes it fairly strenuous, although the beauty of the landscape will lighten your feet. There are fine views all the way, to the South Downs on the way out and to Black Down and the Greensand hills on the way back. The walk can be divided into two shorter walks of 10 (or 8) and 9 miles. There was some mud when this walk was researched, but that was after weeks of heavy winter rain. Because of the length, comfortable boots are recommended. There are no nettles and the walk should be fine for an athletic dog too. 

Petworth Town and Shimmings Valley

The walk gives an opportunity to explore the town, a haven for antique and art collectors, before heading out across the beautiful Shimmings Valley to reach the village of Byworth and returning to Petworth alongside the small meandering river. The views across the Shimmings Valley are stunning throughout the year. To read my full story visit www.west-sussex-weekends.com so I can tell you why I think you will love this walk and what highlights to expect. The West Sussex Weekends website is a great resource where you will also find ideas for places to stay, eat and drink plus plenty more inspirational stories to tempt you to explore more corners of West Sussex.

The walk has several steady but long gradients throughout and there are a couple of steeper short slopes that can be a little slippery after wet weather. There are several kissing gates throughout plus 6 stiles (a couple of the stiles are tall with mesh wire fencing across so dogs may need a lift over). Some of the fields are likely to be holding horses. Approximate time 1.5 to 2 hours.

Petworth town is located at the junction of the A272 (Heathfield to Winchester road) and the A283 (Milford to Shoreham-by-Sea road). The walk starts from the war memorial in front of St Mary’s Church on Church Street in the centre of the village. Parking is available in the town car park or the National Trust Petworth House or Petworth Park car parks, all of which are just a short walk from the village centre. Approximate post code of start point GU28 0AE.

Pulborough to Petworth

Main Walk: 15¼ to 18 km (9.5 to 11.2 miles). Up to four hours 40 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, buses, sights and meals, allow at least 11 hours.

Circular Walk, omitting Petworth Park: 23½ km (14.6 miles). Six hours 5 minutes walking time.

Long Circular Walk, including Petworth Park: 26½+ km (16.5+ miles). At least six hours 50 minutes walking time.

For a longer outing you can complete a Circular Walk back to Pulborough on a more southerly route between the A283 and the Rother valley, with views of the South Downs along the way. This is a mixed landscape of farmland and wooded commons, with Hesworth Common being particularly attractive. The route passes two fine old churches at Fittleworth and Stopham, and crosses back over the River Arun on the medieval Stopham Bridge. The final 4 km are the same as Extra Walk 39 (Amberley to Pulborough).

If you want to abandon this walk in the afternoon, the route is never far from the A283 and you could catch a bus from Byworth, Fittleworth or Stopham to Pulborough.