RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk: The Arun banks

The lovely banks of the Arun are a place of calm reflection for many walkers as my Nature Trails photograph shows.

My walk this week along part of the river is 9.3 miles (15kms) but does not seem so long because it is all on the flat and there is something new to see at every turn.

Of course you can do most of this course by boat from Arundel to Amberley and back. Or you can make a return journey by train.

But I’m a walker, and anyway I like the oxbow at Burpham which is not navigable by boat, and is the wilder part of the walk.

I parked near Arundel bridge at TQ020072, crossed the bridge and got myself on to Monarch’s Way and followed that bank to Warningcamp.

There may seem to be little there but every detail of that hamlet bursts into life when you see the maps and read the text in the Sussex Parish Millenium book A Sense of Place by archivist Kim Leslie, published in 2006.

At the hamlet I left Monarch’s Way, did not cross the railway line, but walked on round the loop opposite the Black Rabbit.

These banks were the favourite walk of the late Mike Holmes of Chichester, the author of several books I detailed in this column, on bird-watching, and his experiences as a night-fighter pilot during the Cold War when he intercepted Russian bombers over the North Sea.

The footpath turned back east along the meadow where I did cross the railway into muddy paths following the ox-bow.

This passes beneath Burpham, which has another car park, a pub, and a church, if that is where you want to start this journey.

I pressed on along the loop through meadows, eventually passing under the railway before joining up again with the Arun.

This bank took me around in a loop to the footbridge across the river to South Stoke, where in St Leonard church I again admired the red marble memorial tablet to Sir Hugh Cairns, the neurosurgeon who attended Lawrence of Arabia’s fatal motorcycle accident in 1935.

The red marble, so carefully chosen, resembles the blood vessels of the body. Now on the west side of the river, you can walk back to Arundel on the opposite bank to that outgoing.

This walk is along the river which claims the sixth-fastest tidal outflow of any in Britain, so on the ebb it fairly rushes past the rushes, in which clumps of dense cover I often see wrens hunting for spiders and insects in winter, and where in spring I have often heard the scratchy little song of the sedge warbler, which is where it nests.

Mallard and teal often rest under the willows along these banks.

Then on passing the Arundel Wetland Centre under Offham Hanger, I shall have to let Nature Trails take up the story of this wonderful walk that has inspired so many writers and artists of the past.