with tips for cycling & hiking
Keeping to our Roman theme, following on from the Chichester cycle rides and visit to Fishbourne, this cycle ride centres on the Roman villa at Bignor .
Though Bignor is smaller it is as equally impressive with some fine mosaics. We must confess that we never fail to be impressed by the Roman heritage, though a brutal military machine, their advanced civilisation was awesome for its time and it took many years thereafter for it to be replicated.
Graffham is an absolute gem of a site, an idyllic woodland setting within walking distance of the South Downs. Be warned it can be very busy, particularly at weekends, testament to its popularity.
Also bring your torch or adapt your night eyes as this site does not have lighting, which is very much a plus.
Turn left out of the site and take the road into Graffham village and head round towards the church. Just after the church you will come across two paths, the one in front of you is the one you want to take.
The one to your right, will take you up a steep climb onto the South Downs way and you can explore for miles and is great fun but is more geared to mountain biking; it is a little more challenging.
The path (technically this is a footpath but is a wide track) you take goes into Seaford college and as you enter the college there is one road on your left which goes through the college grounds, ignore this.
You continue on the path with the church on your right and turn left down the lane in front of you.
Alternatively as you leave the village, you will see gates on your left into the Lavington Estate .Again, technically this is a footpath but it is a road and also the right of way finishes on the road and takes you through a field which is not much use for a bike but we continued on the road.
At the end there is a T junction and you turn right and this leads you into Seaford College. This is an easier route and as long as you are respectful I think you will never be challenged.
You then pick up the lane as in the first option and continue down this for a short section until you meet the A285.
Turn right, take care, this road is busy and after couple hundred yards turn left before the road goes up hill.
Continue along this road for just over a mile before turning into Sutton village. Follow the road around into Bignor village. There is a steep climb into the village and at the church, turn left and take the signposts to the Roman villa.
After visiting the villa this is a great spot for lunch, at the picnic tables available, with spectacular views over the South Downs, do not rush. You can get drinks and snacks at the villa.
The aim of the way back is to avoid the inclines so when you leave the villa, turn left and head towards the village of West Burton and follow the road around to your left.
Do not take any turning on your right.
After about a mile take a left hand turning and continue along this road for about 3 miles, passing Barton Mill Ponds on your left after 2 miles.
At the end of the road you reach the A285 again, turn left, again take care, walk it if you feel necessary and after couple hundred yards take the turning on your right.
Follow this road for about a mile, through Duncton and Lavington commons and take the road on your left which leads you back to the campsite, after about ¼ mile.
PS Ambersham Common about 2 miles from the site is an excellent spot for seeing nightjars and woodcocks in the summer at dusk. Make sure you take your insect repellent.
Also here you can pick up the Midhurst to Chichester railway track which leads you into the town. You did the other end of this, when you cycled the Centurion Way in Chichester.
If you are lucky you can find a spot where you will feel that it is only you in the woods at Graffham