16.5km (10.2 miles)
5 out of 10
Landranger map 197, Explorer map OL10 (formerly 121)
Though it traverses similar territory and has the same South Downs finish, this walk has a quite different atmosphere to its sister walk Billingshurst to Amberley, also on this website. It first passes through the surprisingly quaint historic centre of Pulborough, tucked away on the edge of the modern village, and then climbs into a delightful area of gentle hills, which afford magnificent views of the downs to the south and the plains to the north.
After lunch in Nutbourne or Marehill, the route takes you along the edge of Pulborough Brooks, an unspoilt marshland area which is now an RSPB nature reserve. The RSPB visitor centre provides a possible tea stop. There is then a three kilometre section on a quiet road that at first passes through woodland, and then the hamlet of Rackham. By now the South Downs loom magnificently ahead, and you climb up onto them by a steep path (different from the one used for the Billingshurst to Amberley walk, incidentally) for a bravura finish with magnificent views of the Arun valley.
There is a sister walk to this one on this website – Billingshurst to Amberley - which shares the same lunch stop and a small centre section, and has the same finish over the downs to Amberley. It is thus possible to do the morning of one and the afternoon of the other. The morning of the Billingshurst to Amberley walk is 9.3km (5.8 miles) versus 5.4km (3.4 miles) for this walk, and its afternoon is 12.6km (7.8 miles) versus 11.1km (6.8 miles) for this walk, taking in 2km more of the South Downs ridge than this walk.
You could also switch at the RSPB Pulborough Brooks Reserve Visitor Centre (paragraph 67 of this walk) to the Pulborough Circular walk on this website. Sections 11 and 12 of that walk describe a 4km (2.5 mile) walk back to Pulborough across the marshland of the Wild Brooks, making a total circular walk of 13.2km (8.2 miles).
Pulborough and Amberley are both on the Horsham-Littlehampton line, served by trains out of Victora. Catch the nearest train to 10.10am from Victoria. Buy a day return to Amberley. Note that the last train back from Amberley is at around 9.20pm, though after this there are options via Arundel.
|Lunch and tea||
Rising Sun, Nutbourne (01798 812191), 5.5km (3.4 miles) into the walk, is the recommended lunchtime pub. It serves food daily from 12pm to 2pm Monday to Saturday and 12pm to 3pm Sunday, and has an interesting menu with generally good portion sizes. It has both a cosy interior and a charming garden.
The White Horse, Marehill, (01798 872189), is a possible alternative lunch stop 1.4km (0.9 miles) beyond the Rising Sun. It is open all afternoon daily and as far as I am aware serves food all afternoon as well (but check). Though in a less romantic location than the Rising Sun (it is on a main road), it has a smart interior and a large garden at the rear, and has received good reports from walkers.
RSPB Visitors Centre, Pulborough Brooks, 9.2km (5.7 miles) into the walk, has a self-service tea room, with both inside seating and outside tables with a fine view over the flatlands of the Wild Brooks. It is open 10am to 4.30pm daily and also does light lunches from 12pm to 2.30pm. This is a possible late lunch or early tea stop
The Riverside Tea Rooms (07765 790 414) www.riversidetearooms.co.uk by Amberley station provide a charming riverside location for tea if you can get there before they close at 5pm daily.
An alternative tea room, slightly off the walk route, and staying open till 5.30pm daily, is the friendly Amberley Village Tea Room (01798 839196) www.amberleyvillagetearoom.co.uk. Details of how to reach this are given towards the end of the walk directions.
Otherwise, the friendly and atmospheric Bridge Inn (01798 831 619) across the road from the Riverside Tea Rooms and directly adjacent to Amberley station (though on the opposite side of the tracks from the station entrance: you have to go under the road bridge to find it) serves tea and coffee until at least 10.30pm.
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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