This South Downs walk requires a relatively early start from London if you want to be in time for food at the lunchtime pub in Burpham, which is 7 miles or 3 hours from the start of the walk.
The George & Dragon Inn is a unique 17th century gem at the heart of a traditional Saxon village in the glorious South Downs National Park. Voted “No.1 Pub to Walk to” by the Sunday Telegraph and awarded AA Rosettes for its outstanding food year after year, a warm welcome, stunning food and traditional hospitality await you.
Serving up rustic British food with an international twist - always home cooked with the freshest seasonal ingredients, locally sourced where possible.
Typical Sunday lunch menu and prices;
The walk will commence Amberley famed for its Castle and St Michael’s Church, both built shortly after the Norman Conquest by Bishop Luffa, using French masons who had been brought over to England to build Chichester Cathedral. The castle, one of three country palaces for the Bishops of Chichester, was considered necessary to defend the Bishops from peasants in revolt and from marauding pirates. Today, the castle is an exclusive hotel.
The walk starts with a gentle 2 mile level walk as we circumnavigated the delightful village of Amberley, with many thatched houses, a pub, tea shop and village store, in addition to its castle and church.
Once are legs muscles are warmed up we will head up onto the downs, climbing 200m to take in the views inland and out to sea. The walk, up, over and down the chalky South Downs, makes for a nice contrast to the afternoons’ gentle river side and park walk.
We descend off the downs into the village of Burpham, with its church, and the pub our lunchtime stop.
The post lunch walk continues along the River Arun to the isolated hamlet of South Stoke, with its unusual church from where we leave the river for Arundel Park and we will pass the Hiorne Tower and Swanbourne Lake, before exiting the park into Arundel’s old High Street, lined with ancient buildings, to the Duke of Norfolk’s castle.
The Norfolk family have been Roman Catholics for centuries, hence you pass the only church in the UK that is part Catholic and part Protestant (the Catholic part is their chapel, separated off by an iron grille). You pass the Roman Catholic Cathedral then enter the 1,240-acre Arundel Park.
Arundel Castle was built at the end of the eleventh century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel. The castle was damaged in the Civil War (changing hands twice) and was largely rebuilt in ‘idealised Norman’ style by Dukes of Norfolk in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The lack of labourers after the Black Death in 1349 led to the decay of St Nicholas Parish Church, Arundel, which was rebuilt in 1380. There were no pews, but there were stone seats around the side (hence the expression ‘the weakest go to the walls’). The building became barracks and stables for the parliamentarians during the Civil War – their guns laid siege to the castle from the church tower. In 1969, the then Duke of Norfolk opened up the wall between the Roman Catholic and Protestant parts of the church. For ecumenical special occasions, the iron grille dividing them is opened.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady and St Philip Howard in Arundel was completed in 1873. Entry is free. St Philip, thirteenth Earl of Arundel, whose father was beheaded by Queen Elizabeth I, was himself sentenced to death but died in 1595 after eleven years in the Tower of London, aged 39
The eleventh century St Leonard’s Church in the hamlet of South Stoke (population 57) has a thin tower with a ‘frilly cap’, topped by a nineteenth century broach spire with four slatted dormer windows. The church is still lit by candles. Since the last resident Rector left in 1928 the parish has been in the care of the Vicar of Arundel.
A Roman pavement was uncovered in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin Church, Burpham, and parts of the church date from before the Norman Conquest.
DISTANCE - 17.7 km (11 miles) approx.
We will allow approximately 5-6 hours for walking, depending upon the speed of the group and excluding any breaks. The walk commences with a 200 metre climb,.
MEETUP POINT – Outside the main ticket office at London Victoria Station
MEETUP TIME - 8.45 am (be punctual).
TRAIN DEPARTS – 09.17 am (with or without you)
WALK DEPARTS – 10.34 am from Amberley Station
DESTINATION – Returning from Arundel
DRIVERS - Park at Amberley Station and arrive by 10.30. You will need to get the train from Arundel to Amberley at the end of the walk in order to return to your car.
LUNCH - We will have a pub lunch over halfway in the walk at the George & Dragon Inn which is a unique 17th century gem at the heart of a traditional Saxon village in the glorious South Downs National Park, they serve food until 3pm.
A copy of the menu will be available on the train to pre order the food.
Note: We are restricted to 25 people at the lunch venue, hence requesting payment in advance to secure your space, if you do change your plans please update your RSVP so others can take advantage of the walk. Thank you for your understanding.
Please bring snacks and water to keep you going. I'll probably have another cake or two...
TRAVEL & COSTS -£12.80 (Group Saver4 return), £25.60 (day return).
We will take the 09.17 service from Victoria to Amberley that arrives 77 mins later. The price is £12.80 return with the GroupSave 4 option.
Please allow funds for the pub lunch.
When you buy a GroupSave 4 ticket you need to travel out and return in the same 4 group to ensure validity of the ticket. The GroupSave price option is not guaranteed, and you may have to pay a more expensive ticket.
Punctuality generally ensures a higher probability to take advantage of the cheapest offer.
The £5 donation via paypal on booking is charged in advance in order to minimise people booking and not showing on the day. It's fustrating for everyone when there are people on the waitlist and others choose to book onto an event then No Show
The donation will be entirely used towards the training for the hike leaders to ensure better skilled hike leaders in the future and to cover any costs incurred.
- Waterproof waking boots
- Waterproof jacket and trousers if you have them, after all this is England and it’s known to rain sometimes.
- Suitable trousers, not jeans unless you love being cold and wet once it rains and don’t mind having your pleas for sympathy, because you are wet and cold, ignored.
- Water & snacks to keep you going until lunch
- Cash for rail tickets, donation and money for lunch.
- Sense of fun
It is impossible to state a specific return time as it depends on weather conditions, the general pace of the group and other unplanned factors. Those who decide to join the hike, please consider yourself committed for the entire day.