22nd August 2019

The River Arun

by Enza Ferreri

Arundel Castle from Arun River

Arundel Castle from Arun River


Beautiful scenery, riverside pubs, woods, hills, castles. Arun River Valley

A short drive (or longer walk) north of the historic town of Arundel lies the small West Sussex village of Amberley, in the South Downs National Park.

Interesting to visit is the Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre, an open-air museum, next to Amberley railway station, set in a 36-acre site, a former chalk quarry in the South Downs National Park.

It is dedicated to the industrial history and heritage of the South East of England, with a special interest in communications and transport. Its exhibits include a narrow-gauge railway and bus service, Milne Electricity Hall and Printing Workshop. It's also home to traditional craftspeople like the blacksmith and potter.

Near Amberley is the South Downs Way Trail, a 100-miles long-distance footpath and bridleway going all the way from the first capital of England, Winchester in Hampshire, to the white chalk cliffs of Eastbourne in East Sussex. The path goes through hills and countryside filled with wildlife, visible prehistory, nice pubs and picturesque villages.

Many beautiful walks start from Amberley along the river Arun, including circular trails on the Downs above Amberley, trails across the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Pulborough Nature Reserve, and walks across the Downs to Arundel.

Among the latter is a lovely, scenic route along the banks of the river Arun with magnificent views of the Arun Valley and Arundel.

Winding through the Arun Valley, the walk starts from Amberley, runs between two rural villages and passes two historic Sussex settlements.

Just north of Amberley is the delightful Amberley Wildbrooks, a wetland Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the former floodplain of the River Arun and a special place for bird watching, with a variety of interesting wildlife. It is managed as a Nature reserve by the Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Here the river Arun draws a serpentine path across a vast flat area of undisturbed wet grassland and grazing marsh, bounded on the horizon by woodlands and hills. The grassland is cut by many ditches, mostly dug in the 19th century to help drainage, which now sustain a unique habitat rich in wildlife, insects like dragonflies and rare wetland plants.

Over half of the British species of aquatic plants are here, along with numerous rare invertebrates and wildfowl.

The Arun Valley is home to kingfishers, rushes, warblers, glow-worms, water shrews, Bewick's swans, grass snakes, water voles. A wildfowl reserve houses blue ducks and the the nene, world's rarest species of goose.

Beaautiful scenery, good riverside pubs, woods, calm natural environment, river trails, pretty towns, castles, stunning hiking, and hills.

There is a path, which forms part of the Wey South Path, leading from Amberley through the Wildbrooks to Greatham Bridge near Coldwaltham.

Another route starts in Guildford, county town of Surrey, heads south to Rowly, Billinghurst and through Sidney Wood. It then continues towards Pulborough before passing through the Wildbrooks and ends near Amberley. With a length of 36 miles (58 km), this stunning waterside walk through Surrey and Sussex follows the Wey River and the Wey and Arun Canal. Much of the walk follows canal-side towpaths with footpaths and minor roads making up the remaining sections.

Near Amberley are two lovely historic houses with wonderful gardens and parkland: Parham House and Garden, grand 16th-century manor and deer park, and Petworth House and Park, country house and park with art collection, from which there are splendid views from the South Downs to the North Downs.


Enza FerreriEnza Ferreri is an Italian web author living in London, and former journalist.

Email: ehg89 at britaingallery dot com




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