Arundel to Amberley
Distance: 6 miles, 10km Time: approx 3 1/2 hours.
The walk is mostly on flat ground with a few gentle climbs. Some parts can be very muddy after rain and there are only short sections of road.
1. Start from Arundel Station (GR TQO24 064). Cross the A27 at the pedestrian crossing and walk towards Arundel.
2. After the Portreeves Acre B&B take the footpath to the river. Follow the river bank away from Arundel. The tidal River Arun has one of the fastest flows in England. Many people and animals have drowned in it so please take care.
3. Watermeadows are a traditional feature of the valley, some being managed since the 13th century. Flooding four times a year fertilized the pastures with silt, the ditches and sluice bates regulated the water levels. Chemical fertilizers now make these redundant. Arriving at an inlet by the railway line, cross the line. Take great care as approaching trains give no warning. Take the lane to the left after the white cottage, Follow the path across the fiends to the road.
4. Turn right and 100 metres up the road take the footpath on the left. Keep towards the left hand side of the field. Be careful crossing the slope in wet conditions. To the left on the promontory is a hill fort (see no. 7). The gentle curve of the hillside was cut by the meandering river many centuries ago.
5. Enter the woodland. This is ancient coppice with standard trees. Can you still see the effects of the 1987 hurricane? At the footpath junction turn left to the road. Cross the road and follow the footpath through the pastures to the timber and flint thatched cottage. This was once a court house.
6. Arriving at the road turn left; go 10 metres down then turn right up the flight of concrete steps beside the farm lay-
7. Go up the hill to the church and The George and Dragon Inn. King Alfred built a fort here, warding the Arun Valley against Viking raids.
Burpham takes its name from the Old English "Burh" (fort) and "ham" (settlement). The village cricket ground occupies part of the hill fort beyond the pub. Continue straight on through the village, past The Forge, and bear right towards the river. This is part of the old river. A new course was cut through Offham in the 1840s to shorten the navigation. Along the river bank is an old sheep dip used until World War II. Further along is a ruined cottage nearly covered by ivy. This location was used in a popular silent film, in 1921, called "Tansy". Keep to the riverside. Cross the railway line again. You will see where the old river joins the new cut.
8. The path passes a dead tree, which has been used as a roost by cormorants. The belt of willow and reeds marks the course of another old meander of the river, which has now almost entirely silted up. It contains many wetland plants and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
9. Continue on along the bank. 50 metres past the bridge to South Stoke the path turns away from the river. The trees here line the upper end of the SSSI meander. The raised causeway you are on was built so that farmers and livestock would not get marooned when the Arun flooded. Cross the miniature suspension bridge and follow the path straight up the hill to North Stoke. Bear left to the junction by the telephone box. The Parish Church has ample evidence of Norman origins. Follow the road opposite the phone box, which leads to Amberley, our destination. Can you see Amberley Castle in the middle distance?
10. At the bottom of the hill by the cottages, take the footpath to the left. This also follows a causeway beside an old meander of the river, now mostly reed beds and watermeadows. Turn right at the river and head for Houghton Bridge. There has been a river crossing here at least since Roman times. Amberley is to the right with pubs, cafes, the Chalk Pits Museum of Industrial History and the railway station with trains running regularly back to Arundel. “Skylark cruises” also run boat trips back to Arundel: phone 01903 717337 or 0378 438166 for details.