Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Arundel (Circular) – (West Sussex) – 20/05/11 – 7.88 Miles – Helen

Having visited Arundel Castle and its gardens the previous day, the power that be decided that we should go back again, to do one of Country Walking Magazine’s cut out walks for the vicinity. So leaving the car park opposite the castle, we began our walk along the river Arun.

As you wind your way along the river the view of the castle, which you actually have to keep looking back at, is constantly changing. However despite numerous attempts by me to get the definitive picture, the one shown is about the best of the bunch (no doubt Helen’s pictures will be a lot better). Now this was a day where I decided to crack the shorts out again, yet the weather never really decided for the duration if it was going to be a scorcher, or eventually chuck it down. No matter as by the time we had got to the one and a quarter mile point, it was time for lunch at the Black Rabbit pub.

Wow, this was a perfect location for a pub, as it sat alongside the river with a view of the castle way off in the distance. Naturally with all that on offer I wanted to sit indoors, but Helen found a compromise by getting us a table outside, but under cover by the entrance. Given the size of the car park, and the amount of people there for a Friday lunchtime, word about this place has obviously got round. Anyway for the record I had the gourmet burger + fries (with cider) whilst Helen had the Chicken Tikka Massala.

Back on the move again we continued along the River Arun, with the castle no longer in sight, before turning off by the Saxon Church at the hamlet of South Stoke. Well actually this one passed me by somewhat giving as it was hidden by houses once off the river. My more observant other half however had already recorded it all on her camera. As we made our way through a path between two walls we found the way nearly blocked by a couple of marquees, although we were told beer would be available if we came back the next day.

From there we walked up and into a wooded area, whilst never entirely 100% sure about how far along we were (although the deer fence to our left gave us some reassurance). We eventually got our bearings however at the entrance of Arundel Park (see picture). Then it was a sharp left through the gate and a long wooded climb, which eventually opened up into fantastic views towards (as Helen pointed out) Amberley, where we had walked on the Monday.

Having reached a gate at the top of the climb (as the cut out instructed) I insisted we stop for a brief refreshment break, as the wind began to pick up. Pushing on upwards however it turned out the instructions were a tad ambiguous with me insisiting that we had to walk through a wooded area, whilst Helen insisted we had to walk round it (guess who was right).

So after walking round the wooded area, we began a very scenic descent with the haunted (apparently) Hiorne Tower far away to our left. Once at the absolute bottom of this eventually very steep descent, we began another steep ascent with Swanbourne Lake below us, before eventually taking a very sharp right. We then had a short steep climb, going across a gallops, only to emerge with the Hiorne Tower now right in front of us. The only problem for me now was that somewhere along the way, it had managed to cross our path from our faraway left to our immediate right (so that’s what they must mean by haunted – a walking tower).

After some confusion about getting out of the park without going into the private estate, we emerged back into Arundel town centre passing the cathedral church, the priory inn and the castle itself. After stopping for afternoon tea, coffee and cake in a local shop, the walk came to an indeterminate end whilst Helen shopped around for presents/souveniers.

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