Wings over the South Downs

Code: AWWWO

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Activity types:

  • Coastal
  • Meadows & hills
  • Wildlife

Holiday overview

New at HF Holidays

Join our experienced wildlife guide on walks of up to 3 miles (5km) per day and discover the plethora of winged fauna that have made the South Downs their home, including birds, butterflies, moths, dragonflies and damselflies.

Holiday Highlights:

  • Discover birds, butterflies, moths, dragonflies and damselflies
  • Gentle walks of up to 3 miles per day, with plenty of stops to view wildlife
  • Share enthusiasm and improve your wildlife ID skills

Great Reasons to Join Us

  • Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, guidance from our expert leader, transport and any entrance fees to sites
  • Accommodation: enjoy high quality accommodation and excellent food at our Country House
  • Expert leaders: all our leaders are expert in their field and will ensure that you get the most from your holiday
  • Sociability: spend time with like-minded people in a relaxed and friendly environment

In pictures...

Accommodation

HF Holidays' Abingworth Hall in the South Downs

Nestled at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall is ideally located for a short break or a longer holiday. A peaceful ambiance and excellent facilities make it a relaxing place to stay. It offers great viewing for short or long strolls in the beautiful surrounding meadows.

 

 

Choose your room

Classic Rooms
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• TV
• Hairdryer
• Tea and coffee making facilities
• Single rooms available at no extra charge
Premium Rooms
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
Family Rooms
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms 
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children

Facilities

• Excellent boot and drying rooms 
• Three comfortable lounges, the largest of which opens onto the attractive conservatory and bar 
• Large ballroom
• Dining room
• Free WiFi avaliable in some public rooms
• Range of board games and books 
• Surrounded by eight acres of gardens
• Putting green and croquet lawn
• Heated outdoor swimming pool (open May to September) 

Dining

All holidays at our Country Houses are full board with breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.

Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
 Take your fill from our famous self service picnic lunches
A relaxed social dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses

An example of Abingworth evening meal

Your evenings

Make the most of your evening or join us at the bar


Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.

All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.

Itinerary

Monday: Arrival day

You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards. Please join us for afternoon tea at 4pm. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.

Tuesday: Our first day starts with a visit to Burton and Chingford Ponds Nature Reserve. With mixed woodland, heath and ponds, it’s an ideal place for dragonfly watching. Species include golden-ringed, black-tailed skimmer and potentially the scarce chaser. We’ll follow this with a visit to Iping and Stedham Commons, a Wildlife Trust reserve of lowland heath. Here we’ll be looking for birds such as the Dartford warbler, woodlark, stonechat as well as the elusive silver-studded blue butterfly. 

Wednesday: Amberley Wildbrooks is our first destination today – flat grassland dissected with various ditches along the river Arun – perfect for dragonflies. Four-spotted chasers and downy emeralds are on our list along with a variety of water born invertebrates. At the end of this reserve, we’ll visit a neighbouring reserve of Waltham Brooks. The marshland and open water here makes an excellent home for wading birds, such as redshank, snipe and potentially wood sandpiper.
We’ll enjoy lunch at Woods Mill Nature Reserve, the Sussex Wildlife Trust HQ where facilities are available. Afterwards we’ll explore the reserve in the pursuit of garden warblers, white admiral butterflies, beautiful demoiselles and many more species.
Time permitting, we may stop at Cissbury Ring – the largest hill fort in Sussex, now home to various species of blue butterflies, including Adonis, Chalk Hill and Small.

Thursday: Our final day focuses on the chalk-hill grassland that the downs are famous for. We’ll visit Ditchling Beacon in the morning where we have more chances of spotting several species of blue butterfly. Then we’ll head to Malling Down, another excellent chalk-hill habitat where amongst others, the rare silver’spotted skipper butterfly has been seen.
We‘ll finish our day in Shoreham, right next to the RSPB reserve of the Adur Estuary, where we can birdwatch for herons, dunlin, terns and more.

Friday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast

 

What to bring

  • Outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterproofs
  • Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread is essential
  • A telescope (if you have one) and binoculars (essential)
  • Thermos flask (optional)
  • Recommended guide (optional) -The New Mitchell Beazley Birdwatcher’s Pocket Guide. 

Local area

Discover Sussex and the South Downs

Abingworth Hall is situated amidst gentle rolling farmland at the foot of the South Downs.

The nearest facilities are in the village of Storrington, about two miles away. Here you’ll find a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and a bank.

During your stay at Abingworth Hall you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:

Arundel Castle from the airArundel
The quaint town of Arundel, about 30 minutes' drive away, is dominated by its castle, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk. During your visit you may enjoy a walk in the Castle's extensive grounds, or beside the river Arun. www.arundelcastle.org

 

 

Frontage to Uppark HouseUppark House
Completely restored after an extensive fire, this stately National Trust property has ornate rooms and gardens. Uppark is around 50 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/uppark

 

 

Brighton
The cosmopolitan seaside city of Brighton is about 40 minutes' drive from Abingworth Hall and has an excellent range of specialist shops, entertainment, and its famous beach. You may also enjoy a visit to the Royal Pavilion, built in the early 19th century by George IV. www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk

Amberley Working Museum
Just 15 minutes' drive from Abingworth Hall, this large open-air museum tells the industrial story of the downs, complete with a steam railway, vintage buses and restored quarry machinery. www.amberleymuseum.co.uk

Parham House
Just 10 to 15 minutes' drive away, Elizabethan Parham House  is surrounded by an extensive deer park. www.parhaminsussex.co.uk

Chichester
The historic cathedral city of Chichester, about 45 minutes' drive away, has plenty of interest. Just a couple of miles away is the fascinating Fishbourne Roman Palace, uncovered in 1960, which has many superb mosaics. www.chichestercathedral.org.uk or www.sussexpast.co.uk/fishbourne

Imposing stone fascade of Petworth HousePetworth House
A large late 17th century mansion, now run by the National Trust with extensive grounds that were landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown. Around 30 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house

 

 

Historic Houses at museumWeald & Downland Museum
Located on the Downs, near the village of Singleton, this excellent open-air museum contains many restored buildings that bring the history of Sussex to life. These include a working watermill and a re-creation of a typical downland village. The museum is around 45 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.wealddown.co.uk

 

Bluebell Railway
One of Britain’s premier steam railways with an impressive collection of 50 locomotives, representing the Southern Railway and its predecessors. The line runs through rolling countryside from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead, about 40 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.bluebell-railway.co.uk

 

Uppark House and Petworth House image ©National Trust Images/John Miller

Travel

Travel to Abingworth

Our address is: Abingworth Hall, Storrington Road, Thakeham, West Sussex, RH20 3EF

How to get to us by train

By train:

The nearest railway station is at Pulborough. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).

Train at Pulborough station 

Get to us by Taxi

By taxi:

The 6 mile journey from Pulborough railway station takes approximately 15 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £14. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Abingworth Hall Manager.

 

Driving to us

By car:

From the north leave the M25 on either the A24 or the M23 and A264 to Horsham. Continue south on the A24 towards Worthing. About 5 miles south of Horsham turn right onto the A272 signposted to Billingshurst and Petersfield. After 3 miles turn onto the B2139 in the village of Coolham. After 3½ miles pass the turning for Thakeham on your left. Abingworth Hall is on the left after the Thakeham turn.

From the south take the M27 and continue on to the A27 and around Chichester. 4 miles before Arundel at Fontwell Park turn left on to the A29. After approx 4 miles at a roundabout, turn onto the A283 to Storrington. Turn right onto the A283 in Storrington. Continue through Storrington and left at the mini-roundabout at the Anchor Inn onto the B2139 towards Thakeham and Coolham. Go straight across at the next roundabout and then take a left at the Rydon Community College roundabout. Abingworth Hall is on the right, 2 miles north of Storrington.

 

Travel by plane

Travelling from overseas

Abingworth is particularly convenient from London Gatwick Airport, which is served by a large range of long-haul and European flights.

From Gatwick Airport station there are trains every 30 minutes to Pulborough - journey time 40 minutes. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times. From Pulborough station complete your journey to Abingworth by taxi (see above)

London Heathrow airport is a little further away, so you'll need to travel via the centre of London. Allow 2½ hours to get to Pulborough.

 Quantas Boeing 747

Leaders

Russell Hedley

Russell is an experienced nature tour guide and has a great passion for all sorts of wildlife. After studying Animal Conservation at University, he was keen to offer relaxed and informative outdoor experiences that would bring people closer to the natural world. Following work as an Education Officer and Head of Education at a local animal centre and Blackpool Zoo, he now works in and around the North West running nature tours in a wide range of habitats, each with a unique cast of characters to enjoy.

Dates & Prices

We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.

Prices are per person

Information

  • Premium single room: £15 per night
  • Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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