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 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 observation post and the Windmill, which is also a Grade 2 listed building.
The Windmill is currently undergoing inspection and maintenance, and the sweeps (or sails) have been removed as part of this process.
On the chalk grassland you may find some less common species of plant, such as Bee Orchid and White Horehound. 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
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 nearest bus stop is at Halnaker Crossroads, by the Anglesey Arms pub, a 1.4 mile walk to Halnaker Mill. Use the Traveline website.
The bus stop is on Compass Travel Route 99 between Petworth and Chichester (Halnaker is a request stop - prebooking required), and the Hearts 55 bus route between Chichester and Tangmere.
By train to Chichester railway station then cross the road to Chichester bus station for the 55 bus.
A small layby offers limited parking beside the A285 at the entrance to Warehead Farm. Follow the Mill Lane up hill from here (see ‘walking’ above). Another lay by offers parking for a few vehicles 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.
The car park and picnic site at Eartham Wood (Forestry Commission) is a good starting point for a 2 mile walk to Halnaker Windmill, following Stane Street Roman road. This is located 1.5km north of Eartham at National Grid Reference SU938,106.