Explore open downland, wooded trails and riverside banks
<10 miles. 6-7 miles
Location: West Sussex
Duration: 3-4 hours
Several steep sections. Grassy footpaths and bridleways, uneven in places.
By bus: There are regular services to Arundel, visit traveline.info/se
By rail: The nearest railway station is Arundel, visit nationalrail.co.uk
Points of interest
Starting life as a millpond, Swanbourne Lake has records dating back to the Domesday Book in the 11th century. In the late 18th century, during work to Arundel Park, the pond was enlarged to form the lake which is fed mainly by groundwater springs known as the ‘Blue Springs’ due to the colour of the water as it comes out of the ground. The lake is prone to drying out and on one such occasion in 1989 the remains of a German Second World War bomber plane were discovered, along with four unexploded bombs!
Keep a look out for these small fury mammals when you’re walking along Mill Road in the spring or summer. Made famous by the character ‘Ratty’ in the book Wind in the Willows, these lovely little creatures can be seen along the banks of the stream or you might even hear them as they ‘plop’ back into the water. Water voles are increasingly rare due to habitat loss and predators such as Mink, but with the help of the National Park and partner organisations they are being reintroduced across parts of East Hampshire. The ones on Mill Road are descendants of water voles that were reintroduced at the Arundel Wetland Centre in 2005.
The River Arun
Running for approximately 25 miles (41km) from its source near St Leonards Forest through Horsham and Arundel before flowing into the English Channel at Littlehampton, the fast flowing River Arun has provided a livelihood for the people of Arundel throughout the centuries. Eels, pike, bass and grey mullet were all found in the river – the Arundel grey mullet was praised for its flavour so people born in Arundel are known locally as Mullets.
Originally built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel and one of William the Conqueror’s most loyal barons, Arundel Castle was badly damaged during the civil war. The gothic style castle was restored in 1900 and
is considered to be one of the great works of Victorian England.
Built in 1790 by Francis Hiorne with flint and stone in a chequerboard pattern this tower was created to demonstrate his proposed architectural style for the first reconstruction of the castle. You can see glimpses of the tower from the northern bank of Swanbourne Lake and you have an even better view from the top of Arundel Park.
Nestling in the Arun Valley north of Arundel you’ll find the peaceful village of South Stoke. Surrounded by beautiful walking country, St Leonard’s Church acts as a centerpiece to the village which sits on the west bank of the River Arun.
Follow the Arundel and Swanbourne Lake route instructions on the leaflet (going anti-clockwise around the lake) until you reach the end of Swanbourne Lake, then continue with the following instructions:
- At the end of Swanbourne Lake continue straight ahead through the kissing gate. At the fingerpost continue straight on where the path bends to the right along the valley.
- At the T-junction of paths turn right, then immediately left up the steep track – you are now on the Monarch’s Way. Cross the stile and continue along the grassy
footpath to the fingerpost on top of the hill.
- Bear slightly left along the grassy path towards the left edge of Dry Lodge Plantation and the stile. Cross the stile and join the track running alongside Dry Lodge Plantation.
- Follow the next fingerpost as it directs the footpath away from the track, bearing right across the hill towards the stile and a distant chalk cliff. Cross the stile, follow the track downhill and turn right at the bottom.
- Where the path splits into three, turn left following the Monarch’s Way into dense woodland. Towards the end of the path turn right through a metal kissing gate out of Arundel Park.
- Turn sharp right and follow the path through the woods. At the gate continue along the field edge. Turn left through the next gate and continue uphill through the wood.
- Continue along the field edge towards the farm buildings. Turn right passing behind the cart shed, then left onto the road and continue into South Stoke passing St Leonard’s Church.
- Continue along the lane where it turns from tarmac to rough track. At the bridge turn right, crossing over the stile. Continue along the river bank for just over a mile crossing five stiles.
- Follow the path where it veers away from the river, crossing a stile into woodland. Follow the path and pass through the car park.
- Continue past the pub and through the second car park to pick up the footpath at the edge of the river. Continue along this path until you reach a crossing of footpaths where you can either turn right to follow the Millstream back to Swanbourne Lake, or continue along the banks of the river to find your way into Arundel and to the railway station (from this point follow the blue route on the map).