Tag Archives: river arun

Wandering: Arundel to Littlehampton (Part Two)

12 Apr

Although Ford was the midway point of our walk we didn’t feel compelled to stop. That’s not to say it wouldn’t be worth stopping, as there are several interesting things to see.

Train crossing Ford railway bridge

I have already mentioned the busy railway bridge, just beyond this is a jetty with moorings for variety of small craft, and a little bit further down the river is a small flotilla of house boats.

Boats on the River Arun

To be honest there wasn’t a lot of activity on the river, we were passed by four or five small boats, but clearly the boating season hasn’t got into full swing yet. Since leaving Arundel it was obvious however that we were getting nearer the sea, by the widening of the river, something that we hadn’t noticed north of Arundel.

Ford church

Ford itself is perhaps best known for it’s prison and it’s market, but for those with an interest in family history there is the small parish church, just a short distance from the river. Those with an interest in aviation should be aware of the Hawker Hunter which stands guard over the former airfield (too distant for my little camera to do it justice).

Don't get your feet wet!

None of these “attractions” were on our itinerary (but I may well be back another day to take closer look at the church and plane) as we were pressing on to Littlehampton, anxious to get there before it rained or before the river level got any higher and we found ourselves paddling.

The approach to Littlehampton was a little disappointing to be honest. There was an amusing attempt to beautify a sewage works with some paint and daffodils, which made me smile, but still failed to disguise the fact that it was a sewage treatment works.

Sewage works and daffodils

Before long we were within earshot of another busy road and much traffic. The approach to the road bridge was the least picturesque part of the walk, the bank was littered with rubbish, everyday rubbish like bottles and cans, but also heaps of rubble. Such a shame after such a lovely walk up to then.

Littlehampton's gas holder

Beyond the road bridge things picked up somewhat. Immediately beyond the bridge was Littlehampton Marina, which may sound quite pleasant, but it sits opposite an industrial area and the gas holder that we had observed from the start of our walk at Arundel.

Littlehampton has seen a lot of redevelopment over the past couple of decades, and although we didn’t spend a lot of time in the town (long enough for chips and ice cream though) what I saw of it was very nice, another place I really ought to get to know better.

Littlehampton Harbour

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Wordless Wednesday: Cattle drinking at the River Arun

11 Apr

Cattle drinking at the River Arun, near Arundel, West Sussex

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Wandering: Arundel to Littlehampton (Part One)

10 Apr

Last Saturday the conditions were very similar to the previous Saturday (when my wife and I walked from Amberley to Arundel) when we returned to Arundel to continue our walk along the River Arun to Littlehampton on the West Sussex coast.

It was mostly overcast again, but there were probably a few more breaks in the cloud and it didn’t seem quite so cold as last week. There had been a little rain during the previous week but this had seemingly had little effect on the ground conditions, and the only wet patches were where the river was overflowing (this stretch of the river is tidal and it was high tide).

Technically our walk began at the railway station, but there is little of interest on the short walk into town, apart from the Arundel Lido, which proudly boasts the best value car park in Arundel.

Arundel Castle and Post Office

The real starting point was the bridge crossing the river into the centre of the town and although we were following the river we had to leave its banks almost immediately and make our way through residential streets. It has to be said that they were surprisingly nice streets with some lovely old buildings.

After about ten minutes we were out under the road bridge and back on the western bank of the river and heading out into open country. Ahead of us the countryside was mainly flat as we were heading away from the hills of the South Downs towards the sea.

The River Arun (heading south to Littlehampton)

For a long time the only real landmark ahead was the gas holder at Littlehampton, little more than a rectangle on the horizon. Behind us however was still Arundel with its rows of houses, church, cathedral and castle layered upon the side of the hill.

As we were walking away from Arundel we had to keep turning around to witness the town shrinking and disappearing into the greyness. The wonderful thing about the meandering course of the river is that every time we turned round Arundel was in a slightly different place.

Arundel and the River Arun

Occasionally the sun broke through the cloud, but these sunny spells were short-lived, although one break in the cloud did allow the sun to spotlight a row of houses in the town. Perhaps it would have been more spectacular if it had spotlighted the church or cathedral, but it was nevertheless an inspiring sight to witness.

Ford railway bridge

The midway point of our walk was the railway bridge at Ford, about 2¾ miles from Arundel. After a couple of miles of near solitude on the banks of the river Ford brought with it a flurry of activity. Although Ford does not have a particularly large railway station it is on the busy coastway line, with trains coming from the north (Arundel), south (Littlehampton), east (Brighton) and west (Chichester) and beyond.

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Wordless Wednesday: The River Arun and Arundel Castle, West Sussex

4 Apr

The River Arun and Arundel Castle, West Sussex (31st March 2012)

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Wandering: Amberley to Arundel (Part Two)

3 Apr

After visiting North Stoke Church we walked back up the road and continued on the footpath south to rejoin the River Arun at South Stoke. The reason for leaving the river bank in the first place was so that I could cross the Gurka Suspension Bridge (as it is named on the OS map) between North and South Stoke.

The name suspension bridge conjures up images of mightly road or railway bridges, but this is a smaller version, crossing a tributry of the river, which after the recent dry weather didn’t really warrant such an elaborate bridge, but I am sure in wetter years it is essential.

Gurkha Bridge

The bridge was constructed in 2009 by The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers (which explains how it got its name) to replace the previous structure which had been damaged by a falling tree. It’s not really the sort of thing you would expect to come across during a walk in the Sussex countryside, but it is a wonderful piece of engineering nevertheless.

I was particularly pleased to cross it because it was the absence of a bridge here a few years ago that forced me to take a diversion which seemingly added a couple of miles to my walk, although in truth it probably wasn’t that much further.

South Stoke Bridge

After crossing the bridge the footpath lead us back to the river bank near South Stoke and another reasonably new bridge, and much more functional than the Gurkha bridge, as witnessed by the herd of cattle that were driven over it shortly after we had crossed it.

South Stoke Church

We were now of the western side of the river and had a pretty much clear run to the town of Arundel now. We didn’t stop at South Stoke Church, it is a lovely church, with a fantastic steeple, but one that I visited last time I was walking here.

River and Railway

It was now just a case of following the river as it flowed towards Arundel, the railway line was also following the river and our walk was often interrupted by passing trains. As a lover of trains (both old and new) this wasn’t a problem for me, but some may not be so keen on these intruders disturbing the tranquil natural landscape.

Arundel Castle

Eventually the bulky outline of Arundel Castle appeared on the skyline, rising above the surrounding countryside and the town itself which was still mostly hidden behind trees. We were still some way off the town, with still a couple of miles to go along the river (although probably nearer a mile if we had taken the road directly into town).

When we arrived in the town it was lunchtime and despite the fact that we had only been walking for a couple of hours it seemed a long time since breakfast and we were only too pleased to find a pub and take the weight off our feet and relax over lunch.

Arundel is a great town for antique shops (and a rather good bookshop) and in general has a diverse selection of shops, although due to the presence of the castle it is probably more geared towards the tourist these days.

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Wandering: Amberley to Arundel (Part One)

2 Apr

The route from Amberley, West Sussex to Arundel, West Sussex is not a particularly challenging route, it is only about five or six miles and is largely flat following the meandering course of the River Arun.

In contrast to the preceding week the weather on Saturday was quite gloomy. The weather forecast had warned that the warm and sunny weather wouldn’t last until Saturday, and it was right. We saw the sun on a couple of occasions, but most of the time we were blanketed in cloud. If the sun had been shining we would have been pleased with the gentle breeze, but as it was it did nothing to help the situation.

Houghton Bridge

We (my wife and I) began at Amberley railway station, alighting with several other walkers, but whilst they were probably off to join the South Downs Way we followed the road along to Houghton Bridge and headed roughly south along the eastern bank of the river.

It was good to leave the road behind and head into the countryside, we couldn’t leave the railway behind however as the line also follows the river south. Before long we left the river bank and followed a narrow twisting path enclosed on both sides by hedges. Eventually this emerged onto a road, a narrow country road that lead us into North Stoke.

I had never been to the village of North Stoke before, although from the map I knew that it was not really a village, but more a small collection of farmhouses. What I hadn’t realised from the map (I am terrible at noticing the contour lines) was that it was perched on a hill, not that great a hill but enough to raise it above the river’s flood plain.

North Stoke Church

The only public building in the village appeared to be the church. I was glad we decided to make a slight detour down the road to visit the church. It is a real gem, surrounded by a small churchyard and dwarfed by a large yew tree. The church is no longer used as a place of worship and is cared for by The Churches Conservation Trust.

Stepping inside the church for the first time was truly like stepping back in time, so many of the churches I have visited have been “restored” modernised, with the trappings of modern-day worship such as under-floor heating and modern seating, but this was just a plain and simple unadulterated church.

Inside the Church

To my knowledge I have no family connections with North Stoke, but I really felt that this was the closest I have ever come to seeing where and how my ancestors worshipped. This probably over simplifies things, because my ancestry spans four hundred years of evolving religious worship, and ranged from large London churches to small rural churches like this.

North Stoke Font

The first thing that greets you as enter through the south door is the wonderful font. It is a superb example and is perfectly at home in this church. It is so simple in its bulbous shape, with no frills or elaborate carving or decoration, just plain and simple stone. It has obviously seen better days and has been patched up many times, but has no doubt served the purpose for which it was designed with the minimum of fuss.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Postcard Album: The River at Houghton

20 Oct

This delightful postcard found its way into my collection because it is such a lovely view. It is an area that I have walked in the past (up the river from Arundel) and it is within the boundaries of the South Downs National Park and at one time was on the route of the South Downs Way, but that was moved a bit further north away from the busy road.

As the caption says, this it “THE RIVER AT HOUGHTON”, the river itself is the River Arun in West Sussex and we are looking roughly south-west down river as it snakes its way towards Arundel and eventually to Littlehampton (about ten miles away) where it meets the sea.

Houghton is a small hamlet which is just up the little road on the right of the picture. I believe the photograph was actually taken near Houghton Bridge and more specifically from the tip of the little island on which the middle of the bridge rests.

The photographer responsible was Frederick Douglas Miller of Haywards Heath, whose name is embossed in the bottom right-hand corner, who produced some of the most outstanding picture postcards of Sussex.

This postcard was posted from Arundel on the 7th June 1920 (at least I think it is 1920). It was sent to a Miss Acford in London and has the rather puzzling message: Thanks very much for “Punch” and information. I am hoping there will be a little change left out of it when we come home. We are having lovely weather – cold winds night and morning but gloriously hot and sunny all day – hope it will last. Yrs A.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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