Amberley – Amberley Wild Brooks – Greatham Bridge – Rackham Plantation - Amberley

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The walk starts in the pretty village of Amberley which is noted for its flint walled thatched cottages. (Ironically a house called ‘The Thatched House’ is one of the few houses in the village which isn't thatched). The church is Norman – early 12th century – and has an arch and nave from this period and wall paintings from approximately 1300 but only revealed during restoration work in the 1960s.

Next door to the church is ‘Amberley Castle’, really a fortified manor house originally built for the bishop of Chichester but now a hotel.

Amberley open air museum is on the B2139 near Amberley station and the road bridge over the River Arun. Situated in an old chalk pit, it is dedicated to the industrial heritage of SE England.

The initial section of the walk is on the Wey South Path (a 36 mile long distance trail from Guildford to Amberley) over Amberley Wild Brooks. This 8000 acre site is managed by the RSPB. Star species are snipe, teal, widgeon and various geese. It is also the flood plain of the River Arun so in winter or after a lot of rain this walk may be impassable. Even in summer it can be muddy and boots are recommended.

The medieval Greatham Bridge is a scheduled historic monument and the site of a minor skirmish in the civil war when it was an important strategic point as a river crossing. Several parliamentarian soldiers were killed and are believed to be buried in the churchyard of Greatham church. Cannonballs have been found at the site, presumably from this incident, and are now housed in Worthing Museum.
The bridge was probably built towards the end of the 13th century by the Lord of the Manor and reconstructed in the 1790s.

Bird watchers may want to take a detour at waymark 5 – turn left, cross Greatham Bridge and after 200m or so turn left into Waltham Brooks nature reserve which is managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Greatham church at waymark 6 was the church associated with Greatham Manor, now Manor Farm on the OS Explorer map. It was built in the 11th century.

After a section of road walking (sorry folks – it was quiet when I did it on a weekday August afternoon!) the route enters Rackham Plantation, woodland owned by the RSPB and part of the Amberley Wild Brooks site. In the woodland's interior is a Roundbarrow Cemetery dated 2400-1500BC situated on a sandstone outcrop. Given its elevated position over the marshes you can imagine it being a focal point for Bronze Age communities. Evidence has been found of the crafting of flint tools in the area. To explore this further remain on the road at waymark 7 and take a signed path on the right hand side after about 300m.

At waymark 8 our route joins the West Sussex Literary Trail - a 55 mile long trail which meanders between Horsham and Chichester linking locations with literary connections.

Note for dog owners -There are several stiles on the route mostly between waymarks 8 and 9. This is also the only place where there is the potential for direct contact with livestock and can be avoided by taking the longer route back to Amberley via the country lanes. Continue straight ahead at waymark 7 and turn right at the next junction and then right again after about a further 500m.

England - South England - West Sussex - Countryside


Ancient Monument, Birds, Flowers, Food Shop, Great Views, Mostly Flat, Pub, Public Transport, River, Tea Shop, Woodland

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13.7 Miles
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