RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk: Arundel to Ford

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Park in Arundel for this 7.8-mile (12.5k) walk down the banks of the mighty Arun and back again via Ford and Tortington.

You can also use public transport from either Ford or Arundel railway stations.

From Arundel, follow pavements to the bridge. A footpath runs down the river bank to Ford. Because it is tidal, salt plants such as sea couch grass and sea purslane grow up the banks.

You will see small flocks of mainly black-headed gulls.

I always keep a look-out for the occasional common sandpiper too.

As you travel south, the fake Norman castle and Early Perpendicular pinnacles of the church settle back among the woods and downs into one of the most memorable views in England.

The river widens almost to the size of the Suez Canal, adding to the drama.

Under the railway bridge at Ford, the rumbling of trains sounds like thunder. Bladder-wrack seaweed grows on the stanchions. The old rivets are crusty with rust. Further along, old sea ketches huddle together in a berth of mud.

Now leave the river and head for St Andrew’s, one of the prettiest churches in Sussex. Norman framework and windows surrounded by one stout old male yew tree in company with holm oaks and a big sycamore.

Rare 15C wall paintings show the Devil prodding miscreants down into Hell. Cross Ford road and south along the pavement is a green footpath sign west past houses into the fields when you take the left footpath after 150 yards.

This loop through the fields avoids having to walk down dangerous Ford Lane, which you now cross. Go left along the verge for 100 yards then right at green footpath sign into the industrial site.

Note the bristly oxtongue flowers on ditch bank.

Footpath kinks left behind metal fence. Then you are back into the fields again, with willows, reeds and wild rose hips.

Crossing the railway line needs great care as a curve to the east hides oncoming trains. Footbridges cross the ditches, which remind one of the Norfolk Broads as they are filled with reeds. Reaching a sweetcorn field, you may have to follow the headland left to the next footpath fingerpost.

Tunnels of trees lead to Goose Green where turn right to Tortington across a meadow and then a root field. Through an orchard brings you to the village street where turn left.

Follow road through pleasant countryside to the woods.

Turn right along footpath, crossing another road and soon into the suburbs of Arundel.

Wend your way through the roads to a footpath back to the riverbank for your return underneath the arches into the town and

a well-earned tea in the high street.