New for 2021

4-Night South Downs Tread Lightly Guided Walking Holiday

Lake at Parham House.JPG
Duration: 4 nights
Type: Tread Lightly
Walking Grade: 1 & 2
from £435pp £365pp

We are all well-versed in ‘leaving no trace’ but now we invite you to join us in taking it to the next level with our new Tread Lightly walks. We have pulled together a series of spectacular walks which do not use transport, reducing our carbon footprint while still exploring the best landscapes that The South Downs have to offer. You will still enjoy the choice of three top-quality walks of different grades as well as the warm welcome of a HF country house, all with the added peace of mind that you are doing your part in protecting our incredible British countryside. Stride out along the rolling hills and magnificent chalk cliffs of the South Downs. This wildlife-rich chalk downland is a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes of sweeping cornfields and market towns, all of which can be explored on our Guided Walking holidays.

Holiday Highlights

  • Enjoy breath-taking walks from the doors of our country house
  • Discover Shipley - a historic village that was first mentioned in the Domesday Book
  • Seek out the wonderful wildlife at Pulborough Brooks nature reserve
  • Enjoy the fantastic views from the South Downs Way ridge

What’s included

  • High quality en-suite accommodation in our country house
  • Full board from dinner upon arrival to breakfast on departure day
  • 3 days guided walking
  • Use of our comprehensive Discovery Point
  • Choice of up to three guided walks each walking day
  • The services of HF Holidays Walking Leaders

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.


Option 1 - Thakeham, Warminghurst & Ashington

Distance: 6.5 miles (10.5km)

Total Ascent: 400 feet (120m)

In Summary: We walk to the nearby village of Thakeham and then, via Warminghurst church, across fields to Ashington. We return via woodland to the House.

Highlight: The gentle stroll through the woodland at the end of the walk.

Option 2 - Washington, Sullington & Storrington

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Ascent: 1,050 feet (320m)

In summary: Walking south from the house, we cross Heath Common and Washington Common to reach the village of Washington. We return along a section of the South Downs Way and then descend into Storrington – with the opportunity for refreshment. We return through fields to the house.

Highlight: The wonderful story behind the history of the Sanctuary.

Option 3 - Washington & Chanctonbury Ring

Distance: 11 miles (18km)

Ascent: 1,250 feet (380m)

In summary: Walking south from the house, we cross Heath Common and Washington Common to reach the village of Washington. We continue east to ascend onto the South Downs Way ridge and Chanctonbury Ring. We return to Washington and retrace our outward route back to the house.

Highlight: Chanctonbury Ring, a prehistoric hill fort atop Chanctonbury Hill.


Option 1 - West Chiltington & Thakeham

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Total ascent:459 feet (140m)

In Summary: Starting out west along the ridge, we soon turn north to West Chiltington. We return, via Thakeham – and possibly via the White Lion public house, to the Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: West Chiltington church was built between 1100 & 1150 and has a fine collection of frescoes. As we head back to Abingworth Hall there are beautiful views towards the South Downs.

Option 2 - Pulborough Brooks and West Chiltington

Distance: 8.5 miles (14km)

Ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In summary: A repeat from earlier in the week for 7 night guests, on this fantastic walk we head along the ridge to the west of the house and continue west to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough – and the opportunity for refreshments. We then head north, across Pulborough Brooks meadows, to Pulborough village. We continue east to the villages of Nutbourne and West Chiltington, to return to the house.

Highlight: The nature reserve at Pulborough Brooks is not to be missed.

Option 3 - Storrington & South Downs Way

Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)

Ascent: 1,050 feet (320m)

In summary: We walk along the ridge to the west of the house and then south to Storrington. We continue south to ascend onto the South Downs Way ridge and continue east to descend from Barnsfarm Hill to Rowdell. We return to the house across Washington Common & Heath Common.

Highlight: Views from the South Downs Way ridge.


Option 1 - Thakeham & Warminghurst

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total Ascent: 350 feet (120m)

In Summary: From the house we ascend to the ridge and then make our way to Thakeham. We continue through open fields join a woodland track which takes us to Warminghurst. We return to the house via the outskirts of Thakeham – which might provide an opportunity to undertake a visit to the White Lion.

Highlight: The peace and quiet of the woodland tracks.

Option 2 - The Knepp Estate

Distance: 10½ miles (16½km)

Ascent: 500 feet (140m)

In summary: Leaving the house, we make our way to the outskirts of Thakeham. We continue across open farmland and through woodland to reach the south western edge of the Knepp Estate. We have time to explore some of its features before turning for home via Warminghurst.

Highlight: Exploring the Knepp Estate.

Option 3 - Shipley & the Knepp Estate

Distance: 13½ miles (22km)

Ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In summary: We leave the house and make our way to the outskirts of Thakeham. Continuing across open farmland and through woodland, we reach the south western edge of the Knepp Estate. We continue to the village of Shipley before exploring the eastern part of the Knepp Estate. We return to the house via Warminghurst.

Highlight: Shipley - this historic village that was first mentioned in the Domesday Book.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


Abingworth Hall

Tucked away in the village of Thakeham at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall has stood in one form another since the 13th century. Gutted by fire, it was rebuilt in 1910 in its current distinctive style. As well as 27 ensuite rooms the house has all the ingredients you need for the perfect country house stay: three comfortable lounges with squishy sofas to kick back in, the largest of which opens onto an attractive conservatory and bar in which to dally, great food and super-comfy rooms to retire to. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walking here; go for a lazy amble around the wildlife rich chalk Downlands to discover a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes and vibrant market towns. Highlights of your stay might include the Seven Sisters, the Glorious Goodwood estate, the Devil’s Dyke and Chantonbury Ring, as well as Arundel and the National Trust property at Petworth. Take your pick.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the Hall’s smartly presented rooms, which make use of every nook-and-cranny in the interesting architecture of this characterful house. With 27 bedrooms, Abingworth Hall has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good and Better Rooms to choose from. Clean and bright, with accent colours to offset the simple palette, the rooms are airy and light. Better Rooms might have a feature wall or strong print wallpaper as well as pretty tiles in the ensuite bathroom.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, three lounges, library and board games to borrow

After a day strolling on the South Downs, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax in the large gardens and sit by the pretty pond, turn your hand to croquet or practice on the putting green. Ease through a couple of lengths of the heated outdoor pool if you’ve still got energy to burn. Hole up in the light-filled conservatory with pretty views of the gardens or retire to the Drawing Room with its wood-panelled walls, log burner, library of books to browse and comfy seats to sink in to; there’s a telescope for you to scour the night sky too. In the evening, take your seat in the bar or join fellow guests in the large ballroom for the evening activity.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Abingworth Hall is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room, which has a giant brick fireplace at its heart, hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of local Sussex flavours. Look out for the Sussex Churdle, a traditional, meaty ploughboy lunch, local Chiddingly beef cooked with black olives and Sussex smokies, smoked haddock served in a prawn sauce. Cap it all with a Sussex Pond Pudding, a pud that’s part of the honourable tradition of British dishes with names to pique the interest more than the appetite, which is actually bright and zingy, suety and syrupy all at the same time

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

10688_0070 - Abingworth Hall - Exterior

Getting to Abingworth Hall

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.

Essentials

  • Waterproof walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
    Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

Recommended

  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £20 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2021
08 Feb - 12 Feb
4 Tread Lightly £435 £365 Save £70 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
02 Apr - 06 Apr
4 Tread Lightly £499 £424 Save £75 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
14 Jun - 18 Jun
4 Tread Lightly £535 £485 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
09 Aug - 13 Aug
4 Tread Lightly £535 £485 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
25 Oct - 29 Oct
4 Tread Lightly £499 £429 Save £70 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
01 Nov - 05 Nov
4 Tread Lightly £435 £365 Save £70 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
4 nights
Type:
Tread Lightly
Walking Grade:
1

4 nights from £435pp £365pp

New for 2021

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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