Arundel: River and Valley by Daylight, Town by Candlelight (38443)
This riverside and hillside stride for Yuletide comes with a bonus at eventide. The walk will finish just as the candles are being lit for 'Arundel by Candlelight'. We'll miss the procession at midday, but we'll be in place for the illumination of the Christmas Tree at five o'clock. We'll have earned our visit to the stalls selling seasonal street food and our laze in the pub because we'll have just done an invigorating hike in the Arun Valley covering superb scenery, wild woods and secret settlements. One of these is Burpham where lunch at the gorgeous George Inn will fortify us, after a pootle along the riverbank, for the ascent through Arundel Park. For more information on Arundel by Candlelight see https://www.arundelbycandlelight.com/.
Some notes on the buildings, settlements and landscapes:
Burpham: A lovely, romantic, sequestered village of unaffected flint cottages and barns. St Mary's Church is solid, substantial Norman and Angevin, 1100 to 1220. We're having lunch here at the George Inn.
South Stoke: A charming cluster of brick and flint cottages at the end of a cul-de-sac with views taking in parkland, riverside and open downland. St Leonard's Church is 11th century but much Victorianised.
Arundel: A very English town close to, but very un-English at a distance, with castle and pinnacled cathedral at either end of a ridge and mellow brick houses tumbling down to the river. A prosperous, immaculate and now quite chic place with antique shops and fine restaurants aplenty.
Arundel Castle: To a 12th-century keep and bailey were added enormous mock-medieval walls and buildings between 1890 and 1903.
Church of St Nicholas: Built in 1380 in perpendicular gothic. Unique in the country for being both an Anglican parish church and a Roman Catholic chapel.
Arundel Cathedral: The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Philip Neri was built by the 15th Duke of Norfolk at his own expense in 1871-3. Impressive at a distance, forbidding close to, but giving Arundel its dramatic Mont St Michel-like outline.
Hiorn's Tower: The Tower is a habitable folly from 1790. It has a triangular shape with octagonal corner turrents and chequerboard stone and flint facings. A little run-down but a famous landmark.
Arundel Park: This is the landscaped grounds of the castle but also an SSSI, consisting of oak woodland and open chalk grassland. A superb view is to be had over and beyond a broad dry valley.
Please see the route here.
Beginning at Arundel Railway Station, we'll walk along the pavement beside the A27 almost into town, but then take a footpath that follows the banks of the Arun (we'll be on top of the levees, so there's no chance of floodwater). We'll leave the river at Warningcamp and begin our trek deep into the downs using tarmac lanes, gravel tracks and grassy lanes. We'll then circle round and descend into the villages of Wepham and then Burpham where we'll have lunch at 12:30 at the pub.
After lunch and a visit to the church, we'll follow tarmac lanes and gravel tracks back to the river bank and cross the river using the cattle bridge at South Stoke. It is here that we'll begin our ascent through Arundel Park, starting gently but then pretty steeply. With an ascent, a descent and then another small ascent, we'll cross the dry valleys. Before long, we'll be at Hiorn's Tower and a flat walk past the country cricket ground and out of the park will take us to the top of the town for dusk. We'll see the cathedral and castle walls before we reach the bottom of the High Street for the Christmas Tree lights switch-on at 17:00.
After the walk you can do as you wish, enjoying the food stalls, the pubs and the entertainment. The route back to the station is easy and direct, and I'll show you the way.
What to bring
For your comfort and safety please be prepared for the anticipated weather and the terrain of the walk - keep in mind the following:
Boots: Hiking boots that are both waterproof and breathable, and provide good ankle support, are important as soon as you encounter any mud. Cross trainers may suffice in good weather and flat routes.
Socks: Proper walking socks keep your feet dry, and help prevent blisters.
Walking Trousers: (ideally water resistant) will be more comfortable than Jeans which are heavy and cold when wet. From April to October shorts are usually a better bet.
Waterproof Over-Trousers: essential in any significant rainfall. Breathable ones are best.
Layered clothing: allows you to quickly adapt to changes in the weather as well as body temperature. E.g. a base layer or a cotton T-Shirt; a mid layer like a micro fleece, or a rugby type thick shirt, and in cooler weather an outer layer consisting of a windproof jacket or a thick fleece.
Waterproof Jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather. You get what you pay for with these. Breathable fabrics are advisable.
Hat: essential both in mid winter to preserve heat and in summer to prevent sunburn and heatstroke.
Gloves: essential in frosty weather.
Small Rucksack: One that is comfortable to wear is essential so that you can use your arms freely. Place valuables in water proof bags inside.
Sunglassses: April- Sept: comfortable sunglasses enhance your pleasure and keep insects out of the eye
Water: even in winter one can loose a litre or more of fluid by perspiration. If you fail to make this up you'll get dehydrated which can lead to headaches and other problems. A hydration bladder is easier to use than bottled water, but higher maintenance.
Food: a packed lunch will be required unless otherwise stated. In addition carry energy bars or similar to counter 'sugar lows'.
Medicines: If you have allergies, are diabetic, or have minor ailments don't forget these!
Food & Drink
Refreshments: Bring plenty to drink as the walk will be quite demanding.
Lunch time: We are booked in to have a pub lunch at 12:30 at The George at Burpham. There is no need for a pre-order this time. We'll just choose what we'd like to eat when we arrive. You are welcome to have a packed lunch on a bench in the village instead.
Evening food and drink: Options are:
- Seasonal street food and drink (hog roast, burgers, mince pies, mulled wine);
- Chips (I'll show you the chippy);
- Other takeaways: click here;
- Pub and restaurant meals (but book a table ASAP as it'll be busy): click here for pubs and here for restaurants.
Meeting & Times
Other Useful Information
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