West Sussex County Council countryside sites currently remain open for people to use via the Public Rights of Way network. When visiting the countryside, and using Public Rights of Way, you must follow Government guidelines, which includes maintaining social distancing.
Be Tick-Aware: When out and about in the countryside, please be tick aware. Read these NHS guidelines about Lyme disease and tick awareness.
Please be respectful of the needs of others in the countryside and always follow the Countryside Code.
This iconic Sussex landmark, perched on Halnaker Hill and visible from a wide surrounding area, is well worth the climb to admire close up. The windmill is also a Grade 2 listed building. The wildflower-rich chalk grassland at the hilltop is a great spot to get away from it all and enjoy fine views of the coast across a patchwork of woods and farmland.
The top of Halnaker Hill is a Scheduled Ancient Monument as it is the location of a Neolithic earthwork structure known as a 'causewayed enclosure'. This scheduling includes the WW2 radio direction-finding structure.
The windmill has been recently restored with a new tile-hung façade and extensive repairs to the cap and balcony. The sails (known locally as sweeps) have also been restored and rehung. A new galvanised steel fence has been installed around the perimeter of the windmill. The windmill is closed to the public.
On the chalk grassland you may find some less common species of plant, such as Pyramidal Orchid and Common-spotted Orchid. Chalk downland is a rich habitat for insects and a food source for farmland birds, such as the Yellowhammer. Look out for Buzzards soaring over the landscape and Skylarks singing overhead.
Butterflies attracted to the flowers up here include the Marbled White, Common Blue, Large Skipper and Red Admiral. Along the lane, on the way up, keep an eye out for Silver-washed Fritillary, Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Gatekeeper.
How to get there
Follow the sign-posted Windmill Trail from Boxgrove Village Hall car park that links Boxgrove village with Halnaker Windmill and the local bus routes.
From Warehead Farm (¾ mile) head north-east up Mill Lane, a public footpath. This ancient track follows the route of Stane Street, the London to Chichester Roman road. There’s a feeling of stepping back in time as you pass through a wonderful tunnel of trees. A path then turns off north up to the hill top.
Alternatively, start at Seabeach House (1 mile to hilltop) or Eartham Wood (2 miles) and walk south-west along the Roman road to pick up the path north to the hilltop.
The Roman road is also part of a long-distance walking route the Monarch’s Way, which follows Charles II’s escape route from Worcester to Shoreham-by-Sea.
This site cannot be accessed by bicycle.
The Hearts 55 bus route between Chichester and Tangmere stops directly outside Boxgrove Village Hall where the Windmill Trail starts. It also stops at Halnaker Crossroads, by the Anglesey Arms pub, a 1.4 mile walk to Halnaker Mill. Use the Traveline website. This bus stop is also on Compass Travel Route 99 between Petworth and Chichester; it is a request stop and pre-booking is required.
By train to Chichester railway station then cross the road to Chichester bus station for the 55 bus.
Parking is available at Boxgrove Village Hall car park. Follow the fully sign-posted Windmill Trail from here through the lanes of Boxgrove, on to Halnaker, past the Tinwood Estate, before crossing the A285 onto Mill Lane.
A small lay-by offers limited parking beside the A285 at the entrance to Warehead Farm. Follow the Mill Lane uphill from here (see ‘Walking’ above). Anybody parking here must be aware that this lay-by is adjacent to a working farm. Users are required to park considerately so as not to obstruct agricultural vehicles.
A second lay-by offers parking one mile from the mill by the A285 next to the entrance to Seabeach House. From here a footpath leads south-west along Stane Street Roman road, then turn right up the path to the hilltop.