THE SOUTH DOWNS WAY: Amberley to Washington Section

DAY 5: Amberley to Washington

Just a short 7 mile stretch across the crest of the Downs this morning – but the climb up from Amberley was surprisingly tiring.

There were several people starting off from the top of the lane where the SDW crosses south of the village and they all seemed to be way ahead of me quite quickly!  Even the lads who were wild camping and carrying all their equipment left me behind but it did not matter I trudged along at my own peaceful pace.


Soon I was rewarded with views down to the village and over the swamp-like Amberley Wild Brooks. Our B and B hosts the night before had shown us photos of how this flat plain floods in winter and told us of the migrating birds that were due to be arriving in the next few weeks.  Once up in the ever-cleansing air of the Downs the walking was not arduous and I covered the few miles quite easily.  I was able to take my time and “stop and stare”.


The way continued in its usual fashion affording me fine  views of the N Downs on one side and the sea on the other.

I got, what I imagine was my last view of the Isle of Wight as the wind turbines off the coast of Brighton got closer and closer. I remember when I walked the Ridgeway National Trail a couple of years ago that Didcot Power Station was in my sight – ahead of me for several days and then behind me for several more – Rampion Wind Farm, appearing to me as scrawny crane’s legs emerging from the sea, was to be my companion in the same way.

As usual, the views, particularly from the top of Rackham Hill at 626 feet were stunning.

Eventually I reached a field of daunting looking cows and their maturing calves. They were right in front of me on the footpath and I decided to take a detour around the edge of the field to avoid them.

We had arranged that as this was a short day’s walking T would park up in Washington and walk back along the Way to meet me. Just as I had passed most of the cows and was worried about one more that was standing right in my way I saw a chap coming in the opposite direction. I stood and watched the man wave his arms at the cows – I imagined he was a seasoned walker and this was an old trick he may know of shooing them away………..   he walked towards me and I plucked up courage to walk past the cow……… only then did I realise that the frantic arm waving had not been to move the cows on, but the man was T waving at me trying to gain my attention!

The late summer sun comfortably warmed us as we walked the undulating landscape together.  As on each day the accommodation was off of the SDW and we took a lush green wooded footpath to our left and followed the steep descent down towards the busy A 24 dual carriage way.

There was a detour sign here of two miles for people wishing to avoid crossing the road where there was no subway or bridge. Fortunately for us roadworks were taking place and so only one lane of the dual carriage way was opened and we managed to cross safely over to the Car Park.

We spent the afternoon exploring the historic town of Arundel with its Roman Catholic Cathedral, Castle and the amazing Kate’s Bookshop.

A stunning short walk across the Downs with far-ranging views.  the further Eastwards along the route I go the better the scenery gets.  If I was just walking this day would have been too short but if one has transport and wants to do some other sight-seeing as well this was a good distance to cover in a few hours.

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