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Walking Route: Graffam and Lavington Park

A 1.5-mile easy-access route following the quiet tarmac driveways within Lavington Park, a mansion and parkland, which is now home to a stud farm and an independent school. Sitting at the base of the South Downs, the area is very tranquil and there are magnificent views that stretch north to Petworth and beyond. The quiet tarmac surfaces are great for running but are also ideal for walking with wheelchairs or pushchairs.

Graffam village is located about four miles south-west of Petworth and you can follow signs to the village from the A285. The walk starts and finishes at St Giles Church which is south of the village centre (follow the signs to Church and School).

There is street parking alongside the church but please park with respect for the local residents.

Approximante post code GU28 0NJ.

1.5 miles – Circular – 45 minutes – Easy terrain

Access Notes

  • The walk follows tarmac driveways for its entire length. There are several gentle climbs and descents throughout but there are no steep sections
  • There are no stiles, steps or kissing gates on route but you will need to negotiate two single gates
  • The route would be suitable for both pushchairs and wheelchairs.
  • The fenced fields to the sides are likely to be holding sheep and horses so take particular care with dogs

Walk Sections

Walking Route Graffam and Lavington Park Map

1. Start to Lavington Stud

Standing on the road with your back to St Giles Church (facing the infant school opposite), turn right along the road. Continue past Coach House Cottage and Church Farm on your right and, a few metres later, follow the main lane which swings left to reach the ornate Graffam Gate for Lavington Park. Pass through this gateway and you will pass West Lodge on your right, which once would have served the mansion within Lavington Park.

Keep ahead on the driveway and immediately on your left, you will be rewarded with amazing views across the horse paddocks and far beyond. On clear days you will be able to see Petworth House and the town on the far edge of this horizon.

Further along the driveway, just after the left-hand hedge steps back from the roadside, you will pass a particularly magnificent oak tree on your left. This is a reminder of the history of these 55 hectares of parkland, which dates back to the 1500s. There has been a mansion at the centre of this parkland since around 1589, although the building has been replaced several times. The estate passed through many hands, including the son of the anti-slave campaigner William Wilberforce and the daughter of the famous architect Edwin Lutyens. During World War II the property was the Commando Headquarters and afterwards, it was bought by the present owner, the independent school Seaford College.

About 50 metres beyond this oak tree, you will come to a fingerpost marking a crossroads of footpaths. Turn left here, passing through the pedestrian gate to enter the grounds of Lavington Stud.

 

2. Lavington Stud to Calloways House

Follow the driveway ahead with fenced paddocks and pastures on each side. Within these fields, you will see a mixture of sheep and racehorses (with adorable foals in the spring and summer months).

Lavington Stud was founded by Lord Woolavington in 1890 when he was the owner of the mansion and park. The Stud, uniquely placed at the foot of the South Downs, was originally a dairy farm. Woolavington recognised that its rolling chalk grassland, fed by natural spring water and protected from adverse weather by hills and woodland, provided a perfect location for breeding horses. The horse that brought fame to the stud was the undefeated Hurry On. His six victories included the New St Leger of 1916 at Newmarket and he went on to father many other race winners. When Lord Woolavington died in 1936, his daughter sold the mansion but kept the stud and it remains in the same family today.

Stay with the main driveway which passes to the right of all the Lavington Stud buildings. At the top of the small rise (with a flint and brick cottage on your left), take a moment to look back over your right shoulder where you will have a pleasant view of the mansion at the centre of the parkland.

Keep ahead on the driveway (heading steadily downhill) until you come to the next junction of paths, marked with a fingerpost. Turn left here and follow this side branch of the driveway, with a hedge on your left and paddocks on your right. When the hedge on your left ends you will have great views across to the steep woodland slopes of the South Downs ridge. Stay with this tarmac drive for some distance, bending right then left and leading you between old barns on your right and Calloways House on your left.

 

3. Calloways House to End

Follow the driveway as it swings left, passing the entrance for Calloways House on your left, to reach a fork (marked with a fingerpost). Take the left-hand branch and follow this driveway with fenced trees to your left and a fenced pasture on your right.

Towards the top, you will pass the infant school and its playground on your left. Pass through the gate at the top and you will emerge onto the lane, opposite St Giles Church. The church was rebuilt in the 1870s as a memorial to Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, son of William Wilberforce. Bear left along the lane, and you will come to the roadside parking where this walk began.

Disclaimer

This walking route was walked and checked at the time of writing. We have taken care to make sure all our walks are safe for walkers of a reasonable level of experience and fitness. However, like all outdoor activities, walking carries a degree of risk and we accept no responsibility for any loss or damage to personal effects, personal accident, injury or public liability whilst following this walk. We cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies that result from changes to the routes that occur over time. Please let us know of any changes to the routes so that we can correct the information.

Walking Safety

For your safety and comfort we recommend that you take the following with you on your walk: bottled water, snacks, a waterproof jacket, waterproof/sturdy boots, a woolly hat and fleece (in winter and cold weather), a fully-charged mobile phone, a whistle, a compass and an Ordnance Survey map of the area. Check the weather forecast before you leave, carry appropriate clothing and do not set out in fog or mist as these conditions can seriously affect your ability to navigate the route. Take particular care on cliff/mountain paths where steep drops can present a particular hazard. Some routes include sections along roads – take care to avoid any traffic at these points. Around farmland take care with children and dogs, particularly around machinery and livestock. If you are walking on the coast make sure you check the tide times before you set out.