View from the downland climb

Pulborough to Amberley walk

18-Jul-15 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Pulborough to Amberley

Pulborough Levels

26-Jul-08 • Viv Lewis on Flickr

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Pulborough to Amberley

13-Apr-09 • moontiger on Flickr

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Lacy tree

Pulborough to Amberley

13-Apr-09 • moontiger on Flickr

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Further up the downs

The slow 3 continue their ascent. Note the microlight. Pulborough to Amberley

13-Apr-09 • moontiger on Flickr

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Obligatory sheep

Pulborough to Amberley

13-Apr-09 • moontiger on Flickr

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Pulborough to Amberley walk

Historic Pulborough, gentle hills, a gem of a pub, an RSPB marshland, and up and over the South Downs to Amberley.


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date # Post
Sat, 24-Jun-17 29

Pulborough to Amberley - Gentle hills, an RSPB reserve, downland flowers

SWC walk 9 - Pulborough to Amberley
Length: 17.2km (10.7 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10: generally flat, but with one big climb near the end

9.36 train from Victoria (9.42 Clapham Junction, 9.53 to East Croydon) to Pulborough, arriving 10.49

Buy a day return to Amberley.

For walk directions click here.

It has been a while since this lovely walk had a Saturday outing. It starts with a gentle range of hills with fine views southwards towards our objective - the South Downs ridge. Just 3.4 miles brings you to the very characterful Rising Sun pub in Nutbourne, which has a lovely garden. It has sometimes been a bit slow about producing food in the past, so I thought an early arrival there would be no bad thing.

Alternatively, another 0.8 miles further on is the White Horse, which as far as I know no SWC-er has ever tried, but which may be perfectly nice too (albeit that it is on a main road, so less tranquil than the Rising Sun). But a large group might like to split between the two.

After the White Horse there is a complete change of scenery - out across the flat marshland of Pulborough Wild Brooks, which has a beauty all of its own. 1.5 miles of this brings you to the RSPB Visitor Centre, which has a self-service tea room and outside tables with panoramic views. It too can be a little slow serving, however (maybe it is a local trait...)

There is then a three kilometre section through the woods down a long and quiet straight road. You could call this section dull - or see it as relaxing (no need to focus on the directions). If it is at all hot, it offers nice shade. Finally, the dramatic finish: a steep climb onto the South Downs up a slope that should be alive with downland flowers and butterflies at this time of year (but you never know: these things are unpredictable) and then a short ridge walk with magnificent views to finish.

In Amberley, if you can get there in time, the Riverside Tea Rooms are a treat, but they shut at 5pm. The Amberley Village Tea Rooms (reached by a short diversion, given in the directions) stay open till 5.30pm. Otherwise the Bridge Inn is an SWC favourite: it is right by the station, has outside tables and serves gorgeous food (including some Greek dishes) from 6pm.

Trains back from Amberley are at 17 past to 17.17, then 18.59, 19.29, 19.52, 20.30 and 21.30 (last train).t=swc.9
Having spent a few days in London and here in Hastings I can tell you that it is a bit cooler on the coast. Perhaps a coastal amble. Dover Deal?
How about Sandgate to folkestone?
No cancel that, can't attend
29 on this walk, including 2 late starters but not including the "walk inspector", who only joined us for tea at the RSPB reserve. The weather was drizzly at the start and finish with a bit of near sunshine in the early afternoon. In other words generally cloudy, but some were pleased not to be doing the walk in the heat we had earlier in the week.

Others should comment on the walk route not me, since I am its author, but in my hearing people reported themselves pleased with it. For me this was a walk of little pleasures a meadow that was alive with chocolate brown Ringlet butterflies, the flatlands of the Wild Brooks, loads of lesser stitchwort everywhere, the lush greenness of the verges and field corners.

14 or so of us lunched in the Rising Sun in its lovely garden. They huffed and puffed about the intrusion despite having almost no other customers but the food was good when it finally came. Some, I am told, tried the other pub. I would love to know how they got on, having never been there myself. It looked nice when we passed it and someone reported it had a garden.

I assumed most would stop at the RSPB centre for tea but only a handful did. It gets Brownie points for having vegan cakes. Those who did not stop had the Riverside Tea Garden at the end of the walk as their reward. Huge slabs of cake, I hear.

Some of us considered dining at The Bridge but it was too soon after tea so we took the 6.17 train instead. Seven of us then had a Thai meal near Victoria.
Sun, 06-Mar-16 24

Sunday Walk 2 – Lots of variety on this South Downs walk

Extra Walk 9 – Pulborough to Amberley
Length: 17.2 km (10.7 miles). Toughness: 5/10

10:02 Bognor Regis train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 10:08, East Croydon 10:18), arriving Pulborough at 11:19. Buy a day return to Amberley.

[If you just miss this train, the 10:06 Brighton train overtakes it and you'd have a sporting chance of catching it at Gatwick Airport.]

Trains back from Amberley are hourly at 20 minutes past.

There are quite a few SWC walks in the attractive area around Pulborough Brooks, and this one hasn't had a Sunday outing for nearly four years. Its relatively short morning section takes you into some gentle hills to the east of Pulborough, where there's a choice of two lunch pubs about 15 minutes apart. If neither of these are up to the task on Mother's Day, you'll definitely be able to get some refreshment half an hour later at the RSPB Nature Reserve at Pulborough Brooks. The final part of the walk takes you through woodland and up onto the South Downs ridge before dropping down into the familiar surroundings of Houghton Bridge, which offers a nice riverside tearoom and a friendly pub close to Amberley station.

You'll need to print the directions from this PDF document. T=swc.09
24 on this walk (including the walk inspector), possibly a winter Sunday record? Weather bright and sunny with a cool breeze in the afternoon. The going was good with only short stretches of mud. The large group gradually split up into smaller ones but most people I think continued past the first pub and a group of us stopped at the 2nd which was packed for a drink and sandwich.Here we saw a helicopter land in a nearby field (bit OTT for Mothers Day?) and we were then treated to the fine sight of four people in their Sunday best picking their way over the field to get to the pub.

We then made our way to the RSPB reserve where we stopped for refreshments which was rather spoiled by the slow service. (I joined the queue with 6 people in front of me and it took me 20 mins to be served.)

Next the long tarmac lane to the hill which we toiled up before setting the pace to catch the 16.20 train which we made easily with 15mins to spare. I wish I'd missed out the RSPB stop and enjoyed a drink at the Bridge but c'est la vie. A splendid day out and good to see "old faces" with tales of their recent foreign adventures.

The Rising Sun's announcement that they wouldn't be able to feed 20+ walkers came as no great surprise on Mother's Day, but the walk inspector had already prepared a cunning plan to get his Sunday lunch. His diligent research had spotted a few shortcuts and one of these got him and three companions to Nutbourne by 12.20, a good 15 minutes ahead of the pack. A tense negotiation with an initially hesitant landlady resulted in a table by the front window and four splendid lunches. Unfortunately we failed to attract the attention of the passing group but I'm sure they would have heartily congratulated us on our stratagem.

Suitably refreshed we then made a little detour to the nearby Nutbourne Manor Vineyard. However, it didn't look as if any wine tasting was on offer so we resumed our leisurely progress to Pulborough Brooks, slowed down by a few squelchy fields and muddy paths. The service in the RSPB Tea Room was no quicker at 3pm but we eventually got to enjoy tea on the veranda, speculating on which artist would have best painted the scene. The dark grey clouds which were now scudding overhead would have enlivened any landscape but they merely reinforced a joint decision to call it a day and head across the brooks to Pulborough (where we were pleased to find that a low embankment had been constructed across an often flooded field, potentially making this route practicable in all seasons). Apologies to the walk author for the numerous liberties we took with his directions, but we all greatly enjoyed our day.
Inn order to lessen numbers at the lunch time pub I did my own version of Pulborough to Amberley. I enjoyed bright sunshine and wonderful view of the Downs. i also managed to get served lunch at the White hart pub.

However the last part involved very very boggy Wild lands and will have to be re written.i was pleased I hadnt taken three unsuspecting Americans with me.

Nobody has mentioned the blocking of the path through the farmyard in paragraph 40 just after the pub in Nutbourne. The field next to it was crisscrossed with electric fencing blocking three walking paths that go through it. Some of the fence was even attached to the footpath signs. There was also a sign warning of a bull in the field though we didn't see it. It seems that farmer doesn't like walkers. We spoke to some locals who said they would raise the issue with the village residents association. We eventually ducked under the electric fences to get back on the route.
In reply to the last comment, I noticed that taking the path through the farmyard (as per the directions) looked problematic and decided to take the more direct footpath going diagonally across the large field. The right of way is well marked with hand painted "Footpath" signs and there are handles with insulation in the electric fences dividing up the field which you lift to get through. This alternative route wouldn't be quite so appealing if there had been a bull in the field, of course.
Wed, 22-Apr-15 Pulborough to Amberley
Wed, 06-Aug-14 Pulborough to Amberley
Sat, 06-Jul-13 17 Pulborough to Amberley
Sat, 07-Jul-12 Pulborough to Amberley
Sun, 17-Apr-11 Pulborough to Amberley
Sun, 27-Sep-09 Pulborough to Amberley
Mon, 13-Apr-09 Pulborough to Amberley
Sat, 26-Jul-08 Pulborough to Amberley
Sun, 06-Jul-08 Pulborough to Amberley