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Two castles, Swanbourne Lake and delightful thatched houses -Arundel to Amberley

Two castles, Swanbourne Lake and delightful thatched houses make this Arundel to Amberley walk a truly farity tale like experience.

Length: 18.8km (11.7 milAes), 5 hours 15 minutes. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 10 hours

Start and End: Clapham Junction station – let’s meet at the main entrance (St John's hill side), by the ticket offices.

Time: 9:50am at CJ station. Please note that we will be taking 10:08 train from Clapham Junction, so we will wait at the meeting point until 10:00am.

At 10:00am sharp we will make our way to the platform, so please make sure that you arrive on time as we will not be waiting for the late comers. You will be welcome to try and catch up with the group afterwards and I will be happy to share my number and keep in touch and send you coordinates of where we are but it will be your responsibility to find us.

We will arrive in Arundel at 11:37am. It is very difficult to predict exact return time as it depends on the walking speed of the particular group and the choices we make along the way (lunch, route etc). If you decide to join, please consider yourself committed for the day.

Fee: 25 includes train tickets, gouided walk and paypal charges.

Toughness: 7 out of 10.

Features: This South Downs walk requires a relatively early start from London if we want to be in time for food at the lunchtime pub; the distance to this pub in Burpham from the start of the walk is 6 miles, 2.5 hours of walking.

The walk starts and ends along the River Arun. It goes up 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 (the park is closed on March 24th each year, but the public footpaths should remain open on that day). From the Hiorne Tower, you descend to Swanbourne Lake, then go up and through the Park to exit it through a gap in the wall, to walk above the River Arun again. The route leads you to the isolated hamlet of South Stoke, with its unusual church and from there you walk beside the river all the way to the village of Burpham, with its church, and pub – your lunchtime stop. The afternoon’s walk, up, over and down the chalky South Downs, makes for a nice contrast to the morning’s walk. Amberley is a delightful village with many thatched houses, a pub, tea shop and village store, in addition to its castle and church. Next to the railway station is the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre.

Please note that we will not be entering the castle grounds. We will take photos from the outside.

IMPORTANT: By taking part in this meet-up you agree to the following disclaimer: I acknowledge that hiking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. My decision to voluntarily participate in these activities is an informed decision and I am aware of and shall accept such risks. I agree to be responsible for my own actions and involvement in these activities.

History: 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. Parts of the castle and its grounds and café are open to the public: tel:[masked] . Tuesday to Sunday, Bank Holiday Mondays and Mondays in August: 10 am to 5 pm. Full access ticket: £16 (please note this is not included in the price). Cheaper, restricted access ticket options are also available.

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.

Amberley Castle and St Michael’s Church, Amberley were 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.

A hundred men once worked at the lime and cement works that now form the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre, tel:[masked] , next to Amberley railway station. The museum occupies a 36 acre site and is dedicated to the industrial heritage of the south-east, containing a wide range of exhibits, including vintage transport, tools and telecommunications. The museum is also home to a number of resident craftsmen and craftswomen, working in traditional ways. Open to the public from mid-February to October, 10 am to 5.30 pm, £9.30 (2010).

The walk taken from:

Please note this event is organised by Curious Kat's Adventure Club and to secure your place you have to join it via this link: Please note that only once you RSVP and pay the paypal fee on the main site your place will be confirmed.  

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