ST ANN'S HILL, MIDHURST, WEST SUSSEX
by John Trueman
St Ann's Hill, adjoining the Old Town of Midhurst, was
once an Iron Age fort, a centre of pagan worship, a Norman castle and finally a 12th century fortified house. The site was abandoned in 1315 when its owners, the de Bohuns, built a new house (La Coudreye) on the other side of the Rother.
Nowadays it is a secluded meadow with a large stand of old chestnut trees, bounded on the town side by a high hedge behind which several grand Georgian properties stand imposingly facing the Parish Church.
The ruins are reduced to a low lying 'wall' circumscribing the top of the hill. It is all grass and a wonderful place to have a picnic.
If you prefer to sit on a bench one is provided; but there is ample room to spread out in many private places in the tree-lined meadow.
This is an ideal spot for families with dogs - who need space to run around (so long as they are well behaved).
There is no road sound. You're within 3 minutes walk of Comestibles Deli where you can get your picnic. Just ring Brendon Davies on 01730 83400 to order. Details are on his website.
Several paths pass through or around the meadow, and all lead to the River Rother 150 feet below. Always best to take the gentle path to the south if it is slippery as the northern path descends a number of stone-slabbed steps which are difficult for older people.
The river path leads to Cowdray Castle; and the circular walk back via the Causeway and North St takes about 30 minutes maximum with opportunities to tarry and enjoy the wonderful surroundings.
Suggest you park in The Grange car park.
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