26 Sep Kingley Vale
Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve is just north-west of Chichester, in the South Downs National Park. The Kingley Vale Trail is a hidden landscape trail – you can find the details passes through traditionally English countryside, across fields and through woodlands and valleys with spectacular views at every turn.
The Reserve can be accessed from car parks at West Stoke and Stoughton. West Stoke car park offers the best access. The Reserve itself is signposted from there and is about a 15 minute walk along an all access footpath from the car park to the main entrance. Here there is a small field centre with permanent displays and more information about the Reserve, beyond this point the terrain is more challenging.
You can find your own trail from the official map and guide information here, but here we’re featuring the 10-mile walk from Stoughton to Kingley Vale from the lovely Frances Elizabeth.
If you’ve never followed one of her walks, you’re in for a treat. Go to Instagram now @whymummywalks
This walk climbs up from the village of Stoughton through patchwork fields, woodland and tranquil valleys, with some beautiful views in all directions. Down into Walderton with its thatch cottages and village pond you then climb up downland to the magical Kingley Vale.
Why have I never been to Kingley Vale NNR before?! I have lived in this area 13 years and for some reason not explored it.
It is the oldest National Nature Reserve in the UK and is home to a rare, and magnificent, yew forest. These trees are some of the oldest living things in the UK and are just breathtaking; the oldest trees are over 5 metres in girth.
Leaving the forest, you enter a butterfly filled meadow before a steep climb up chalk downland to the bronze age Devil’s Humps.
The views of Chichester Harbour are absolutely outstanding and make the climb worth every bead of sweat. I didn’t have time to visit the iron age and WWII treasures hidden on the landscape, I ran down the hill for refreshment in the gorgeous Hare and Hounds in Stoughton before the school run. But I will definitely be back!