The wine walk weekender
With peaceful walking, roman ruins and picturesque vineyards, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in Tuscany.
West Sussex is home to some of the UK’s best vineyards, and the best bit is that you can go and visit them, indulge in a wine tasting and take in the breathtaking landscape.
This weekend itinerary takes in Stopham Vineyard near to Pulborough and also lets you head back in time to Bignor Roman Villa and Amberley Museum. It’s the perfect break if you’re looking to combine award-winning wine and culture.
- Step off the train in the pretty village at Pulborough.
- Cross the quaint medieval bridge over the River Arun at Stopham, and stroll on up to the picturesque Stopham Vineyard in time for an 11am Saturday tour with winemaking expert Simon Woodhead. (Other times and dates can be organised by prior appointment.)
- Try not to sample too much of the good stuff – there’s still plenty of walking to be done. Head back to the road from the vineyard and head right before crossing the road to pick up Lea Farm lane.
- Follow this as it becomes Sandy Lane then Tripp Hill. Feel free to stop for refreshments or food at the 600-year old Swan Inn in Fittleworth.
- Continue south before picking up Coates Lane. Follow this for a couple of miles (enjoying the peace and quiet as you go) and follow it as it drops down into the village of Sutton.
- Check into the White Horse Inn: it’s a comfy place to put up your feet, get fed and share stories from the day.
- After breakfast, it’s time to head back in time, with a trip to the impressive Bignor Roman Villa (with the finest preserved roman mosaic in the country). It’s only a short walk from the White Horse, and offers a cultured and leisurely start to the day.
- Hopefully you’re feeling strong by now, as after the villa it’s time to pick up a lane southwards and trudge up the impressively steep Bignor Hill. You’ll love the views at the top, though. Have you packed a scotch egg and a thermos to make it truly heavenly?
- From Bignor Hill descend along a footpath heading southwards. And where it bisects the South Downs Way, turn left and join it as it heads east.
- Some fine walking to complete your weekend, as you make your way over gloriously expansive chalkland downs and descend into the lovely village of Amberley.
- Have some time before you need to catch the train? Take advantage of Amberley Museum to explore rural and industrial heritage, admire the proliferation of thatched cottages, enjoy a snack at the Riverside Tea Rooms or indulge in an old-fashioned game of pooh sticks on the handsome bridge.
- Hop on the train and head home. Weekend? It worked out.