Wiltshire: A Walk Around the Woods of West Dean

4 mile walk from the Borbach Chantry, West Dean

  1. Starting at the Borbach Chantry, leave the church yard and turn right following the footpath to the road.
  2. Turn right and walk a short distance (250m/280yds) down the road to the village hall.
  3. Turn back on yourself and take the public footpath with the village hall on your left.  Bear left through the gate into the field and follow the path across the field, crossing over a small stream before entering the next field.
  4. Follow the path straight across the field.  When you reach the gate (which is locked), follow the curving path round to the right to a stile in the hedgerow.
  5. Climb over the stile and bear right round the edge of the field to a small bridge in the hedgerow.
  6. Cross the bridge, climb over the stile and follow the path diagonally across the field heading towards Bentley Wood.
  7. Climb over the stile to enter the wood and follow the path straight on.  Ignore the path on the right and when reaching the junction of footpaths (where there is a number 3 marker), turn right joining the metalled track.
  8. Follow the metalled track round to the right ignoring any smaller paths.  Walk past Donkey Copse, continuing on the metalled track round to the left.  Upon reaching the crossroads continue straight on following the straight metalled track for 600m/650yds, passing Heath Copse until reaching another crossroads.
  9. At the crossroads turn left following the public footpath passing Howe Cottage on your right and Hatchers Farm on your left.  Continue past another farm.
  10. Turn left when you reach the car park on the left.  Again, stick to the metalled track, ignoring smaller paths until it bends at a right angle. 
  11. Make a 90 degree turn to the left and continue along the metalled track, following it round to the right.  Pass through an open field and re-enter the woods.
  12. After 230m/250yds turn right at the junction (at the number 3 marker you passed earlier).  Be careful not to miss this path which is smaller than the metalled path.
  13. Follow this small footpath out of the woods and climb over the stile.
  14. Head diagonally across the field you walked up earlier, crossing the stile at the bottom.  Follow the footpath left round the edge of the field and climb over the next stile. Bear right and follow the path which curves to the left across the field and across the next field, passing through the gate. When reaching the Village Hall turn left and walk up the road back to the Borbach Chantry.

In the summer it is possible to make this a fully circular route by following the red route (unadvisable in the winter, as the field can be very muddy)!

  1. To follow the red route start at the Borbach Chantry, head out of the church yard and turn left.  Follow the footpath round to the left, in between the fences to the houses (although not particularly attractive, this section is very short)!
  2. Walk a short distance across the field, heading to a stile on the left.
  3. Climb over the stile and head diagonally across the field.  Continue into the next field with Bentley Wood on your right and climb over the stile on the right to enter the woods.
  4. You can now follow the directions above from number 7.

Thanks to Joanna Weaver for documenting this walk.