This walk from Amberley to Pulborough takes you along the River Arun, past Amberley Castle, across boggy marshland, all with a backdrop of the surrounding hills of the South Downs. I had walked from Amberley to Arundel the week before, and really enjoyed it, so was looking forward to coming back to walk the other way.
What was the walk from Amberley to Pulborough like?
This walk from Amberley to Pulborough had a few surprises. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this….
First off, Amberley Village. I didn’t walk through Amberley Village last week so had no idea that it’s a lovely quaint medieval village, full of thatched roofed houses and a castle. The castle is marked on the map, but it also has a bed and breakfast sign, so I had assumed it was a bed and breakfast called ‘the castle’. But no, it’s an actual castle.
You know what, you can actually see the castle on the train ride in from London. I just hadn’t been looking and missed it.
Second, the bog. This walk goes through a fair bit of boggy marshland and mud extravaganzas. My shoes weren’t waterproof and I ended up walking most of the way from Amberley to Pulborough with wet cold feet. More on that later.
Despite the wet feet incident, I absolutely loved this walk. From the river, to the gorgeous hill views, varying terrains, tree obstacles, cute bridges and quaint village.
I can’t walk hills right now (which is one of the reasons I chose to walk here), but there was enough variety to keep me interested, along with some adventure and mishaps.
Logistics for the walk from Amberley to Pulborough
- Start: Amberley station
- Finish: Pulborough station
- How to get there: Located in the South Downs, both villages are on the Southern train line, one stop apart. If coming from London, there are direct trains from London Victoria which takes approx 1h 20 min. If coming by car, there is car parking at and near the station.
- Distance: 7.4 miles
- Time: 2h 45min
- Difficulty: Easy
- Terrain: Grass, marsh, some road, gravel and dirt path.
- Time of year: I did this at the end of winter
- Dog friendly: Partly (see below for more details)
- Amenities: There are no toilets at Amberley station, but the Amberley Museum across the road has some. Pulborough Station has toilets.
Tips for the walk from Amberley to Pulborough
- If coming by train from London, buy a return ticket to Amberley. You will then be able to use it to return from Pulborough.
- If it’s been raining recently, wear waterproof hiking boots. Notice I say boots, not shoes. My feet got sucked right in ankle deep.
- If you want to finish at a pub, walk the other way from Pulborough to Amberley and go to the Bridge Inn (I didn’t stop there, but it’s highly rated).
- Alternatively, have some afternoon tea at the Amberley Tea room (in Amberley Village), or the Little Bean Cafe in Pulborough. Think sandwiches, cream scones, cakes…you know, the traditional English stuff. From what I can see, both are dog friendly.
Is the walk dog friendly?
For the first section where you loop around to Amberley Village, your dog needs to be on a lead for a moment, but once through the other gate (I will show you when I describe the walk), there’s a nice long stretch where your dog can roam. The main issue I see coming up is just before walking into Amberley Village, there are a couple of tricky stiles which also lead straight onto a railway track. You can skip this section of the walk though, and instead start from Amberley Village….
The second section of the walk from Amberley Village to Pulborough, is much more dog friendly as a whole…to a point. For the first 1/2 of the walk, there are no obstacles. After this, there is a brief bit of road, and a field with a horse. The problem could then be the tricky stile which comes next. I will show you it all in more detail when I describe the walk below.
Map for walk from Amberley to Pulborough
More walk ideas nearby will be at the end
A guide to the walk from Amberley to Pulborough
Out of Amberley Station, take a left, the left again. Just before the bridge, you should see a trail to the right. Go along it and through the gate.
There is a sign here saying keep dogs on lead (once through the next gate, it looks to be all clear)
Through here, you will walk along track which takes you to the River Arun with a lovely view of the South Downs hills on the other side.
For the next while, you will be walking alongside the River Arun along a grassy ridge of sorts.
The views along here are really lovely, with the South Downs hills, and little houses in the distance on the other side of the river. Make sure to look back to get a view of the chalk cliffs from where you came. I could see some people in the distance walking up the hill. I made a mental note to come back here another time to do just that….when I can walk hills again.
Keep going past the bridge and through another gate and continue to follow the river as it curves around to the right.
Just past the quaint houses (which are on the other side of the river), you will reach a trail signpost. Turn right here to walk though the marshy doom.
Walk across the marshland towards Amberley Village
It wasn’t too bad at first. I was sort of hopping around trying to avoid the very wet bits. You see, I wasn’t wearing my waterproof hiking boots. It’s a long story so I won’t go into it, but if you have been following along my past walks, you will know. I was wearing my ‘special shoes’.
Anyway, things got wetter and wetter, then soon enough there was not way out of it. My feet were sinking into ankle deep marshy wetland. The icy cold water was a bit of a shock to the system, and then it hit me….I had barely started the walk from Amberley to Pulborough. I was now faced with walking the rest of the way with ice cold wet feet.
There was nothing I could do really except suck it up and continue on. So I did.
Once past the wet bit, and my feet were no longer fresh wet, they actually started to warm up. Now that I wasn’t distracted by my feet, I noticed how beautiful it was around here. I saw a couple of bright white swans which stood out on this grey day.
Walk to Amberley Village
Now come the stiles with the railway track I mentioned earlier. See photos. Straight over the first stile, you are basically on the railway track. I shouldn’t need to say, but I will anyway, keep an eye out for the trains passing. Then when safe to do so, go across and over the other stile.
Next you walk along a narrow trail (it’s the trail to the left after the railway track), where Amberley Castle comes into view.
Past the castle, you will arrive in Amberley Village. I mentioned earlier, it’s a quaint little place. You will walk past the thatched roofed houses, a Norman Church and a little pottery shop.
If you have come with a dog and didn’t want to do the first section, you would just come straight here from the station to pick up the walk from Amberley Village to Pulborough.
Walk from Amberley Village to Pulborough
Through the village, take a left onto Hog Lane (photo above), then just past the bend, the trail will be on the left. This will take you down and along a creek. I was a little nervous for this bit. I could see on the map I was about to enter more marshland. However, there turned out to be a nice relatively dry trail straight through it. At times it was full of puddles, but easily avoidable…..I was lulled into a false sense of security.
Oh, and there were some dogs running around here, so it seems pretty dog friendly.
I really enjoyed this bit of the walk. Mostly because my feet didn’t get more wet, but also, the view across the creek and marshland to the hills in the distance was rather lovely.
As I said, I was lulled into a false sense of security. Things were good for a while, then it got a bit more wild. There were large patches of very wet, very muddy ground. You’d think that as my feet were already wet, it wouldn’t matter. But no. My feet were indeed wet, but they were warm wet. I wasn’t ready for a fresh onslaught of icy cold.
I did my best, but there was no avoiding it, my feet got sucked right in to the stuff. At times there were planks laid down to help, but just not enough.
I must still stress though, I was really enjoying the walk. Wet feet and all.
The farm and the bridge
Once through the mud, over a bridge and across more marshland, it’s a left turn onto the track.
For a little bit now, you will follow the path past the farm (note for the dog people, it’s a car track). After some turns (all signposted) you will have two options. Stay on this track all the way to the bridge, or, look out for an almost hidden trail to the left (see 2nd photo below). Along the hidden trail there is a stile coming up, so if you can’t get your dog over it, stick to the road. Both lead you to the bridge.
It’s an interesting looking bridge. It almost seemed as though it was collapsing, but I suspect it’s because of high water levels hiding some of it.
Next you will need to walk over the bridge. There isn’t much walking space, so be mindful of cars passing. I was walking here on a saturday and only saw a couple, so it shouldn’t be too busy.
Now follow the road for a little, then just before the road curves left, look out for the trail on the right.
Walk along the narrow woody trail, and over the trees (yes, over)
For a little bit now, the trail is narrow through the trees. Then at the end, a small uphill through a gate and into a field with a horse. It’s not as well signposted here, but you basically need to continue straight and to the left. This is where the tricky stile is, for the dog people.
Pick up the trail across the road, then along the grassy trail over the bridge to reach the fallen trees….
There were some quite big trees uprooted and laying across the trail. Must be victims of the recent storms. Eunice, and I forget the other one. The only way is to climb over them. Kind of adventurous.
If you have made it this far with your dog, this is a livestock field.
Walk past another farm and across more marshland
Continue to the end of the field, then right onto a track. Now just follow this road past the farm stuff. There are some turns but it’s sort of obvious which ways to go, you know, which is private vs public. When you reach the t-junction (I think there were two, and this is the second), go left and continue straight to reach the wooden steps which take you down to the marshfield.
My heart sank. After that second batch of wet feet, they didn’t warm up so quickly. I had only just recently started to feel my toes again. There wasn’t much I could do about it, so I just thought about how I was nearing the end of the walk. The pain wouldn’t have to go on for too long (if you don’t count the journey back to London).
In this field, you should see a bridge on the other side. It’s actually not what you think it is. That bridge looking thing is not it. There is a little bridge just next to it. Anyway, make your way over to it.
Yes, my feet got wet.
The final stretch of the Amberley to Pulborough walk
Once you reach the road, go across it to the garden centre, and pick up the trail just to the left. It’s a short uphill, next to a brick wall. Then when you reach the junction at the nursery, take the left. This will lead you to the woods. These woods looked pretty dog friendly by the way.
When you reach the wood T-junction, go right and little more uphill (I know I said there were no hills earlier. I forgot about this bit. It’s only little though).
For the next while it’s a mix of trees and fields to the right, with the South Downs hill views in the distance….and a donkey field.
Keep following the trail as it takes you down past some houses, across a small road, past a war pillbox, then further down a big field.
The end is close now. You can see Pulborough station at the bottom to the right. You might even see some trains and can say Choo Choo as they pass.
Walk to Pulborough Station
At the bottom, take a right on the road. There is no pavement here, so again, be carful of the cars.
Around the corner and over the bridge, look out for the trail on the right. This will take you straight to Pulborough station.
More walks near Amberley and Pulborough
Amberley to Arundel – This one follows the River Arun in the other direction. Different to the walk from Amberley to Pulborough in that you stick to the river the whole way.
Arundel circular walk – This is an easy walk, just one or two station stops away from Amberley and Pulborough. You will go around Arundel Castle and see the Hiorne Tower.
You know I talked a bit about the South Downs Hills, well, I am coming back to Amberley to walk up them…..When I can do hills. I will update you when I do.