You may have many reasons to visit Goodwood Hotel, namely the golf, horse racing, spa weekends, cricket or motorsport, but whatever they are, try and make time for these three little walks. Two of these walks are included in a map you can get at the hotel reception. But be warned … for the walk to The Kennels, the map is impossible to follow and the signage is poor. On the plus side, all the staff are very helpful, and I flagged down a golf buggy full of greensmen for directions. For both of these walks, my recommendation would be to choose a sunny sunrise or sunset. I set off at 7 am on a bright November day and had the glorious Goodwood grounds more or less to myself.
Walk to The Kennels
The designated starting point for this walk is at the side of the hotel by the Bar and Grill. From here, walk towards (and then behind) the wall that you’ll see and follow the path around to the tarmac road. This is part of the Goodwood track that goes around the grounds and you’ll see the cricket ground to the right and Goodwood House straight head. Walk along the tarmac road through an arch of trees with the golf course to your left until the first bend.
One of the things to look out for at this stage is the Cedar of Lebanon trees, some of which were planted in 1761 by the 3rd Duke of Richmond. This is also the point where you’ll be left wondering where the path goes and the answer is, as you approach the bend to the right, you’ll see one of the greens slightly ahead and to the left. Head towards that and on the far side, you’ll find a path. It’s one of the reasons to do this walk early – apart from the magic of watching the sunrise across the golf course and parklands, you’ve got less chance of being hit by a golf ball.
Having ambled along the path and past a few tees, you reach a little crossroads and go straight ahead and round the back of another green. Here you’ll find a blue arrow marking your route, hurrah! It’s easy to find your way from now on and you work your way up to The Kennels via a pleasant wooded path. On arrival, you’ll understand the other very good reason for walking this path at dawn in November. The sun lights up The Kennels so that the building simply glows golden before you. The bar opens at 7 am (for coffee I mean) and they serve a mighty fine breakfast from 7.30 am. There’s also a magnificent terrace with views across the grounds to Goodwood House in the distance as the sun unfolds before you. From the hotel to The Kennels is about 1.5 km and takes about 20 mins. Then you just have to walk back.
The Seeley Copse Route
This route is a circuit, starting from the same place (the Bar and Grill) but instead of bearing left in search of The Kennels, you carry on the tarmac track. This takes you right past Goodwood House in all its unusual splendour. As someone who was at Goodwood for the Festival of Speed, this walk is a great way to get your bearings and there’s something rather fun about suddenly realising where you are in relation to the festival layout.
Once past the house, you just follow the circuit until you get to the bottom of the big hill where you head right. There are some great views up ahead from here as you turn towards the stables and then across the road. From this point, it’s a pleasant plod down the woodland path that runs alongside the side of the Estate farm and then back to the hotel. This route is just shy of 3 km and but only took about 35 mins.
You cannot visit this part of the world and not visit The Trundle, even if you don’t want to walk. The Trundle is a hill as well as an Iron Age hill fort just above Goodwood Racecourse and to the south of the village of Singleton. There’s a single-track lane off Town Lane that leads to a car park with the most amazing views (note, there are actually two car parks). If you do nothing else, sit here a while and spot recognisable landmarks such as Chichester Cathedral, the racecourse and the Isle of Wight! From the car park, you can also head up to the summit (not far but steep) for the most incredible 360° views.
There are a multitude of walks to enjoy if you want to walk further afield because The Trundle is on the West Sussex Literary Trail, Monarch’s Way, and Chalkpit Lane and you can pretty much head in any direction you want. Just arm yourself with Ordnance Explorer OL8 and you’re good to go.
In recent years, The Trundle has become particularly famous for its poppies but my top recommendation would be don’t visit in June for this. This is partly because there has been quite a lot of damage to the farmland due to the number of people visiting but also, why would you want to visit somewhere so magnificent when the rest of the world is there too. Keep it to yourself and visit off-peak for a more moving experience would be my advice. And if you’re hungry after your explorations, the Gallery Tea Rooms in nearby Singleton consistently get 5-star reviews.