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West Sussex Literary Trail

The West Sussex Literary Trail was opened officially on 6th April 2007 with an inaugural walk. This fifty-five-mile long distance footpath links Horsham and Chichester and is fully waymarked. The route has been planned to link many places where famous literary characters have lived, worked or have been associated with.

Walking this Trail with the guide as companion adds a whole new dimension to enjoying the Sussex countryside, bringing to life the stories of these writers and poets and adding insight into the history of the Weald and Downs. Literary figures featured in the guide include Keats, Defoe, Collins, Hayley, Blake, James, Belloc, Larkin, Fry and numerous others.

The Trail begins from the ‘Shelley Fountain’ in the shopping precinct of Horsham. the fountain was designed by Angela Conner and its ‘cosmic cycle’ depicts how water influenced Shelley’s life and ultimately death. Each cycle involves the movement of an amazing six tons of water.

The guide describes the route in six day walk sections each with detailed route instructions and a clear coloured sketch map. They are as shown in the itinerary below.

Horsham to Barns Green - 10.5 miles
On leaving the shopping precinct the Trail winds through the park before reaching Warnham Deer Park. It crosses the River Arun and passes through Slinfold and Itchingfield before reaching Barns Green.

Barns Green to Nutbourne - 9 miles
The Trail crosses the Low Weald. the fields and woods are quite small and there are, therefore, several stiles. Towards the end of this section the Trail climbs over the sandstone ridge on some dryer tracks Nyetimber Vineyard with good views of the South Downs.

Nutbourne to Houghton Bridge - 8.5 miles
After the first couple of miles there are very few stiles and the Trail makes for easy and fairly level walking as far as The Wildbrooks. A short section over stiles and streams leads into the picturesque village of Amberley. At the end of the day the Trail climbs steeply up to High Titten for good views of the Weald.

Houghton Bridge to Duncton - 8.75 miles
The Trail follows the River Arun to Bury and then winds gently through some very pretty villages. Many regard this as the most delightful section of the Trail. The last three kilometres from Sutton End through Burton Park are particularly pleasing.

Duncton to Charlton – 8.5 miles
The route almost immediately begins a steady climb to reach the South Downs Way at Tegleaze, one of the highest points on the South Downs Way. On a clear day there are fine views to the north. The next two mile section is almost parallel with the South Downs Way before the Trail turns south to drop gently down through Charlton.

Charlton to Chichester - 9.25 miles
The level walk along the Lavant Valley is a nice warm up for the steep slopes of the Trundle, a climb that is rewarded with the best view on the Trail. Its then back down to the riverside for a gentle stroll into the pleasant suburbs of the city. the Trail finishes with a walk along the Roman Walls to the precincts of the cathedral.


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Start: Horsham

Grid Ref: TQ 169304

End: Chichester

Grid Ref: SU 859047

Distance: 88 km

Walking Time: 6 days

Counties Traversed

Explorer™ Maps
120, 121, 133, 134

West Sussex Literary Trail Guidebook

To purchase the guidebook from our bookshop please click on the image above