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The A272

Drove across country on the 272 the other sunny day. Beginning only 40 miles outside London, the road ran along fields, through woods, towards church spires, past the dappled deer of Petworth House (and the Turners, Blakes and Grinling Gibbons stashed inside), zigzagged through the ancient market town of Petworth and sped under great purple beeches. No time to pause for refreshment at The Fox Revived. Sports cars with their tops down raced back from Le Mans, farmers trundled in tractors, and an older motorcyclist sat beside his bike in the long grass. Past the gardens of Hinton Ampner dove the 272, up, up to the top of Cheesefoot Head, and down, down, plunging toward Winchester and home.

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