Midhurst in West Sussex, is at the junction of the A286 and A272 and has about 100 listed buildings within the town. Very surprising considering it’s compact size and small population.
Not many tourists come here, probably due to a lack of a railway link. Traffic can be a problem, due to the narrow streets causing everyone to slow down on the main ‘A’ roads through town. This trip is part of our costcutting local tours by bus. Considering the traffic, 20 minutes each way on a bus was a great stress free alternative to finding a parking space in Midhurst.
We followed the ‘town trail’ which is depicted on the town map on page four of the very useful ‘Midhurst Brochure’.
We went in a clockwise direction from the bus station towards the ruined Cowdray ruins along a causeway over water meadows. If you have any difficulty in walking, Yvette recommends going anti-clockwise, as St. Anne’s hill is easier that way.
Looking back towards the bus station (where the path goes) from in front of Cowdray Ruins .
Cowdray Ruins – is open for tours at weekends and Bank holidays from April to September, details above.
After the ruins, the trail shadows the River Rother until some muddy stone steps that lead up to St Anne’s Hill.
At the top of the hill are the reconstructed walls of a Norman Castle, with an information board at it’s centre.
We ended up at the South Pond via Wharf Road and entered Midhurst from the South. We had our lunch at the pond, as there were a few benches scattered about. Where there’s water, there are ravenous birds to feed. Be careful if you have sandwiches or any food, they show no fear. A history of The South Pond.
Midhurst is well known for it’s independent shops in the ‘historic centre of town. If you crave a Costa coffee or other chain store, then head for North Street. The traffic and charity shops make this Street feel like many other towns in England, not for us thank you.
Not enough information sandwich boards in North street.
We both really enjoyed Wheeler’s Bookshop, it had that musty smell we remembered from Thorp’s Bookshop in Guildford from it’s old books. Upstairs is a sofa to peruse your potential book purchase at leisure.
Midhurst is so compact that we abandoned the map, and just strolled along any thoroughfare that looked interesting. Sometimes it is nice not to use a set route and just please yourselves. You may end up going around in a few circles, but that is half the fun of a slow stroll around a very pleasant market town.
A dozen pictures of our walk around the ‘old market town’ from random locations.
In the image below, you can make out the church and the fledgling market that has started this Friday (30/5/2014) in the square beside it. There is a French themed market on 12th July, the Saturday before the French Bastille day.
St Mary Magdalene and St Denys’ Parish Church of Midhurst by the market square, is worth having a look around inside. Very nice stained glass windows and a fine timber framed roof, are just some of it’s highlights.
We only spent around three hours in Midhurst and enjoyed every minute. There are numerous walks in the Midhurst area, we hope to return to Midhurst and try some more walks along the River Rother. We have not even mentioned Polo at Cowdray Park and the National trust run Woolbeding Gardens as well.
Foreign and UK holidays are very nice, short breaks and day trips too. But, have you looked at trying your local area for a possible sightseeing trip? The hardest things to see, are the ones staring you right in the face. What we find is that people usually ignore their own area, as they virtually see it every day and become familiar with the architecture or landscape. Just because you live somewhere does not necessarily mean you know all of it’s secrets. The wonderful thing these days, is that the internet is a useful tool, (for once) helping to find out information that would of been unimaginable, even ten years ago. We have lived in Haslemere for nearly two years now. It was only after an internet research into another nearby destination, that we found out about Midhurst and it’s 100 or so listed buildings, many of them timber framed Tudor style, that we love to see. That Midhurst could be reached in just over twenty minutes, by a bus that is a five minute walk from our abode, is a stress free, fuel money saving, godsend. As the saying goes, ‘use it or lose it’ where busses are concerned.
You are out on your daytrip, but need a pen, a pair of scissors, screwdriver maybe? The neat, compact answer is a ‘SwissCard by Victorinox. This useful gadget is credit card sized, so fits easily into a purse or wallet. This is not an advert, Mark finds this item a very useful wallet tool. Details of this card and it’s different colours and configurations can be found in the video below.
Thanks For The Memories…. (or maybe not)
We were both not born when the ‘Beeching Report’ was published in 1963, and have no memory’s of the cuts that followed it. From what we can glean from the internet, every town and even a lot of villages had their own station. And in some towns there were two or three railway lines. Which brings us nicely to the history of Midhurst’s ‘lost’ railways. There were three lines from Midhurst, to Pulborough, Petersfield and Chichester. The first two closed in 1955, and the Chichester line closed in 1935. So Dr Beeching was not responsible for the closures in this case. A Wikipedia article on the three railways out of Midhurst below.
The trouble with the railways that were cut, is that only 2% of revenue was taken from the axed lines, and were unsustainable as a business. There are currently feasibility studies taking place, to ascertain if any of Beeching’s cuts can be reversed by using trams or light rail systems. Bordon is one example of a District Council trying to create jobs and housing, through better transport links. Maybe Midhurst might consider doing the same.
Thanks for reading,