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Sussex walk around North and South Stoke

PUBLISHED: 11:11 18 June 2018

The River Arun meanders its way from Houghton towards Arundel

The River Arun meanders its way from Houghton towards Arundel

Hazel Sillver

Enjoy the dappled shade of woodland and stroll across fields on this riverbank circular

North Stoke and South Stoke

These two hamlets sit beside the River Arun, south of Houghton and Amberley. North Stoke was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, and has a lovely Grade I listed Norman and early English Gothic church, St Mary the Virgin’s. The suspension bridge close to North Stoke was rebuilt by British Army Gurkhas in 2009, having been damaged by a fallen tree. On the other side of the river, South Stoke has an 11th century flint church, St Leonard’s, which is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The village shrunk considerably in the early 19th century when the common land nearby was enclosed to form Arundel Park, depriving villagers of sheep-grazing land.


Where to refuel

The Bridge Inn is near the end of the walk, on the eastern side of the bridge. Alternatively, the George and Dragon is on the western side of the bridge. Both pubs welcome dogs. Amberley Tea Room offers good cream teas; to find it, head right out of Amberley station, drive half a mile north-east on the B2139, and turn left into Amberley village. Alternatively, visit Riverside Tea Rooms, which is near the end of the walk at Houghton Bridge. Both tea rooms are dog-friendly.


Information

• Location: Houghton, near Arundel, West Sussex

• Distance: four miles (six kilometres) – two hours to walk

• Terrain: riverside paths, which can be very muddy

• Where to park: in the car park at Amberley Station


The walk

1. From Amberley station, cross over the main road and walk west on the pavement. Walk over the bridge, taking care to use the passing holes if there is traffic.

2. On the other side of the bridge, cross the road and go through the gate at the footpath sign. Walk south along the riverbank. Eventually the path leads through a gate, and then a stile, through horse paddocks. The path then takes you over long boardwalks through riverside vegetation and woodland.

3. Head left onto the bridleway. After the huge beech tree, maintain direction on the bridleway.

4. Ignore the gate for Arundel Park and maintain direction through woodland, which is soon dominated by aromatic box trees. Eventually the path leads through a gate and runs along the edge of a field.

5. To enter South Stoke village, there is sometimes the need to head right well before reaching farm buildings (because the official footpath is blocked). Therefore head up the wide path that runs along the field edge upslope and turn left onto the road, which leads into the village. Once in South Stoke, the road divides – head left, past the church, and over the bridge.

6. Immediately after the bridge, head left through the gate and walk along the riverbank. Eventually the way leads over a footbridge, and then across a field.

7. On reaching the road, head left and then immediately right. Walk along the road, which curves around and eventually brings you to a footpath sign on your left. If the river path is open, head left here and walk across country, then north on the riverbank, before heading right over the road bridge, back to the car. But if the river path is signed as closed, then continue along the lane, which will lead back to the main road – then head right, back to the car. 


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