Monday, 18 October 2010

Ghost Walk in South Harting, Kent

South Harting

Distance:            6 miles

Ghostly Rating        ***

Route:                South Harting - Elsted - Treyford - Uppark - South Harting

Map:                OS Explorer 122

Start/ Parking:        South Harting

Public Transport        South Harting is served by the Stagecoach South 54 bus route.

Conditions:            This walk combines two steep scrambles with some short stretches of path that is rough underfoot and others that are decidedly muddy after rain. Stout walking boots will be needed.

Refreshments:        There are pubs in South Harting and Elsted that serve good food, while shops selling snacks and soft drinks are to be found in South Harting and, when open, there is a café at Uppark.

The phantoms to be encountered on this walk are, with one notable exception, a genial bunch. They pose so little danger and cause so little fright or alarm that they are regarded as quite natural visitors. The ghost of Uppark, in particular, is welcomed because his continued presence demonstrates that the old house has recovered from a grievous blow. The one supernatural visitor that is not so genial is, despite his famously bad temper, not much bother. The walk also offers the most spectacular views over western Sussex and into Hampshire that can be imagined.

The Walk

1) Park in South Harting and make your way to the church.

The churchyard here is rumoured to be haunted by a figure of obscure origins and vague appearance. Most are agreed that the spectre is a lady, though who she was or how often she appears are difficult to pin down.

2) From the church walk north along the village high street and follow the road as it bends to the right. This lane runs east out of the village, skirts around East Harting and enters Elsted.

3) At the crossroads in the centre of Elsted, turn right downhill. Follow this lane as it runs south, then bends sharply east to reach a T-junction. Turn right and follow this lane into Treyford. As the lane goes downhill past Manor Farm Cottages, a patch of dense woodland stands on a slope running up from the lane on the right. Hidden among the trees and undergrowth is the old ruined church of Treyford.

This old ruined church has stood roofless and forlorn for many years. But that does not seem to have put off the phantom congregation that come here to worship God. On calm, still evenings in the summer the sounds of hymn singing drift out of these shattered walls to waft over the village of Treyford and surrounding fields. Nobody is ever seen t0 enter the ruins, nor to leave and the ghostly congregation remains totally invisible. But sing they do and, so say those who have heard them, with remarkably fine voices.

4) From the church  walk south along the main street of Treyford. Where this lane turns sharp left, beside a road signpost, continue straight on along a surfaced track. This track runs steeply up the escarpment of the South Downs and presents quite a challenge to the walker. Where a second track diverges off to the left, look up to the left to the summit of Treyford Hill.

This is an extract from Ghost Hunter Walks in Sussex by Rupert Matthews

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