Distance a little over 5 miles, or, if you start at the main car park in Arundel, a little over 6 miles.
This circular walk starts by Swanbourne Lake and Tea Rooms and progresses gently up an ever rising and beautiful valley. It then descends to the River Arun and returns along the banks of this river passing the little Hamlet of South Stoke with its unique and petite old church and, later, the very popular Black Rabbit Inn.
There is parking by the roadside opposite Swanbourne Lake. At peak times this parking area may be full. Alternative parking can be found along Mill Road and in the large (paying) car park not far from the bridge in Arundel at the south end of Mill Road. It is a pleasant walk up a tree-lined road from this main car park to Swanbourne Lake.
These notes accompany the sketch map below. The map can be saved to your computer and printed by right-clicking the map (a jpeg file).
It can be helpful to supplement my sketch map with an Ordnance Survey map, Ordnance Survey Explorer series number 121, Arundel and Pulborough.
- A Start by the tea rooms at the beginning of Swanbourne Lake which is popular for boating. In the first 200 yards of this walk you may encounter quite a number of other walkers but you quickly find yourself in a deserted and beautiful area which most people never seem to want to explore.
- B At point B you can take the left fork which involves a steep initial climb or take the right fork which involves a more gentle initial climb. When we were there at the end of August 2020 to take the right fork you had to climb a padlocked gate. The locking of the gate may suggest a prohibited way, but this is not the case. Arundel Park belongs to the Duke of Norfolk and he has given permission for everyone to walk wherever they like in the park so long as they do not go there with a dog!
- D At point D start a short walk by the side of the wood.
- E At point E you have views in all directions. Here begins a quite steep descent towards the river.
- F At point F The path turns left and for a short distance goes along by the side of a wall.
- G At point G go through a gate in the wall and and turn right through woodlands along a path which is quite close to the river. It is an up-and-down path for about a mile.
- H At H enter the tiny hamlet of South Stoke with its bijoux church. From the bridge there you have views up and down the river. Just past South Stoke the riverbank is a pleasant place to have a picnic, but beyond here, depending on the time of year, tall reeds crowd in on the bank obscuring your view of the river.
- J At J is the Black Rabbit pub, right by the riverside with a large number of spaced out tables for dining and drinks. We have dined there on several occasions over the years but at 2.30 pm on Bank Holiday Monday there were queues outside. So we gave it a miss. We reminded ourselves in future not to go traveling or visiting popular areas on Bank Holidays.
Black Rabbit phone number, 01903 882638
From J just follow the path back to the start.
31 August 2020 davidrobertsblog.com Please share with walker friends.