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This Week's Walks - Archive

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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Wednesday walk Billingshurst to Amberley - a South Downs tease - and maybe some early bluebells

SWC 8 - Billingshurst to Amberley

Length: 22.8 km (14.2 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10   (one steep ascent up onto the South Downs - remainder of walk 3 out of 10)

London Victoria: 10-06 hrs    Bognor Regis and Portsmouth Harbour service   CJ 10-13; EC 10-23 hrs
Arrives Billingshurst: 11-12 hrs

Return  Amberley to Victoria:  17 mins past the hour

Rail ticket  Buy a day return to Amberley

At the start of today's walk you head through a bluebell wood. If bluebells are early this year - and at the time of posting this walk they appear to be - then you should enjoy a full carpet of the 'bells in bloom. Soon afterwards, as you make your way mostly on the flat through open fields, farmland and latterly a vineyard towards lunch, you see in the distance the South Downs. It seems to take an age to get to them later in the day, hence the tease, or as the Directions aptly put it, a pleasure deferred is a pleasure intensified.
Lunch today is in the village of Nutbourne at the excellent Rising Sun pub, a favourite of mine - usually very good food and very good draught beer in an atmospheric, traditional village pub.  If you maintain a steady pace during the morning leg of the walk you should arrive at the pub in good time to be served food (12 noon to 2 pm).
After lunch you head towards the South Downs which never seem to get any nearer - all part of the tease. You walk through a golf course and along its access road past its 19th hole, to then walk along the edge of Parham Airfield, used by a glider club, into the outskirts of the village of Cootham. Here you head due south for 1 km down Clay Lane, a quiet road, to find yourself at the base of the South Downs. You now have a short but stiff climb up onto the Downs: once on top, having stopped for a breather and a drink, you then enjoy the ridge walk along the South Downs Way, offering splendid panoramic views. You can head into the Springfield Estate (recommended) on open access land to soften your tread over grass for a kilometer before returning to the SDW. You then drop down to a farm - and through its often sloppy, chalk mud access - and down to a road high above Amberley. You now walk down High Titten road to Amberley. Turn left for the railway station. Go under the railway bridge and you come to the Bridge Inn on your left - an ideal stop for tea before your journey home.
Walk Directions here L=swc.8


Marcus said...

It's difficult to be precise on numbers today, as two walkers were on an earlier train, plus a couple with our directions who then chose to do their own thing - to be next seen at Amberley station - and one walker who set out from Pulborough. Including those on the posted train who met up with others at the Rising Sun pub in Nutbourne, I will put the boat out a bit and declare n=10
The bluebells in the wood at the start of the walk were a big disappointment: droopy and bedraggled, in need of water, a blue fuzz - they can do better ! But the poor bluebell effort was more than the made up for by the wood anemones which were plentiful and fully open and quite lovely. We were also treated by a large patch of wild garlic on entering the wood, so we were not troubled by ill spirits or the bogey man for the remainder of the walk.
It was a fine Spring day with w=hazy-sunshine-and-warm making for near ideal walking conditions, with a refreshing breeze on top of the Downs in the afternoon.
On the relaxing, mostly flat morning leg there were several clumps of primroses and other Spring flowers, with some daffs still on road verges and in house gardens - and some patches and small paddocks of half decent bluebells. Seeing the young lambs in fields with their mums just added to ones enjoyment of the walk.
The various waifs and strays who set out on today's walk met up at the excellent Rising Sun pub where three of us sampled the cuisine, and sandwichers enjoyed a pint.
We left the pub in batches, with me at the front - to be caught up later by two speedsters. Now that climb up onto the Downs: I am sure it gets steeper every time I try it - either that, or I'm finding it harder with the passing years - I'm sure it's the former. Anyway, once on top the usually stunning views from the ridge were lost in the haze - no matter, one could just about make out the main landmarks.
Four of us were on the 17-17 hrs train, skipping tea at the Bridge pub, with most others presumably on the 18-17 hrs service, hopefully finding time for tea at the pub.
Today's walk might have more than its fair share of tarmac, and it is deficient in water features, BUT that said, it has lots of variety, particularly with the contrast between the morning and afternoon legs, and late Spring is the perfect time to wheel it out and give it a spin. I believe all on today's walk enjoyed their day in the Spring sunshine - I certainly did.

Anonymous said...

I am a bit confused by your report, so I'm not sure who you did or didn't count in your attendance number, but I think the convention is that we are supposed to count only people that turned up because of the walk posting and with the intention of joining the posted group walk and who then walk at least a substantial part of the route as posted. But not some random people off the same train who happen to do the same or a similar walk by themselves. I may be wrong...