18.3km (11.4 miles)
5 out of 10: mainly flat, with one long but well-graded hill climb
OS Landranger 197, Explorer OL10 (formerly 121)
This walk has the same finish along the crest of the South Downs as the Billingshurst to Amberley and Pullborough to Amberley walks on this website, but it takes in a slightly longer section of the ridge than those other two walks (5km or 3.1 miles). It also has a more varied and interesting climb up on the downs.
The morning is flat, first passing through the river meadows of the Arun to the picturesque village of Amberley, and then following a route along the foot of the downs, with fine views up onto the ridge one way, and down onto the marshland of Amberley Wild Brooks the other. You get a brief taste of the Brooks, before passing through the park of a stately home, Parham House, and to lunch in Cootham.
After lunch there is a long but reasonably well-graded climb up onto the downs (which is what earns this a toughness rating of 5 out of 10), and then there is an easy walk with fine views along the top of ridge, ending with a descent to Amberley.
This is a good all-season route, with the only potential problem being the short section crossing the meadows from the River Arun to Amberley village, which can be very wet or even flooded in winter. It can be avoided by turning right out of the station and following the main road to the village. See the start of the walk directions for more details.
Amberley is on the Horsham-Littlehampton line, served by trains out of Victoria. Note that Amberley has a short platform, and you can’t alight from the rear three carriages of an eight car train.
From September to March, catch the nearest train to 9.10am from Victoria. This will get you to the Crown Inn in Storrington in time for lunch. In summer, you could take a train an hour or even two hours later and have lunch at one of the earlier lunch options, reserving the Crown Inn for tea.
The Crown Inn (01903 742625) Cootham, 8.4km (5.2 miles) into the walk is the best located lunchtime pub for this walk. It serves food from 12pm to 2.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 12pm to 3.30pm on Sundays. For drinks, the proprietor says he “usually stays open all afternoon”. This pub has become more popular recently and it is a good idea to ring in advance to make sure they have a table. However, it does also have a fairly large bar area and garden where you can also eat.
Earlier options include the Black Horse (01798 831183) in the heart of Amberley, 3.2km (2 miles) into the walk, which is open 11am to 11pm daily and serves food 12-2.30pm and 6-9.30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays and 12-4pm Sundays. It also has a Garden Room serving tea and coffee.
The Amberley Village Tea Room (see Tea below) just down the road from the Black Horse also provide light lunches.
A kilometre further on, on the road out of the village, 4km (2.5 miles) into the walk is the Sportsman (01798 831787) a modern pub with a lovely view of Amberley Brooks. It is open 12-3pm and 5-11pm Monday to Saturday and 12-5pm Sunday, serving food 12-2.30pm and 6.30-9pm Monday to Saturday and 12-3pm Sunday.
The Riverside Tea Room and Gardens (01798 831066) has a fine riverside location just beyond Amberley station, but is only open till 4pm. If you can get there in time, it offers a good selection of cakes.
Also highly recommended, and reached by a small diversion off the route, is the Amberley Village Tea Room (01798 839196), a charming and friendly tea room in the village of Amberley, next door to the Black Horse pub. It is open until 5.10pm daily except Wednesday from Easter to the end of September, but at weekends only from March to Easter and in October. It is closed November to February.
Otherwise, the friendly and atmospheric Bridge Inn (01798 831619) just beyond Amberley station serves tea and coffee until at least 10.30pm, and is also a great place for dinner, with outside tables in summer
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Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk