Amberley Circular via Sutton
Walk described by Martin Harris, checked and amended by Maureen Colledge and David Bays
This is a strenuous circular walk in Sussex It is approximately 12 miles with the outward journey being in the beautiful Sussex lowland countryside following mainly the “West Sussex Literary Trail”. The return journey is mainly via the “South Downs Way” with good views of the South Downs towards the coast. The route is contained entirely on the Ordinance Survey Explorer map OL 10 (formerly 121).
- From Amberley Station turn left down the station approach and carefully cross the main road. Walk under the railway bridge and then turn right into a path running parallel to the railway. After approximately 200 metres cross a stile and follow the path next to the river Arun. Continue next to the river until you come to a bridge. Cross the bridge and turn right and continue along the river bank. Follow signs for the West Sussex Literary Trail, ignoring left turnings for South Downs Way and a second footpath, until the path crosses into a private garden. Pass through the garden on the path running parallel to the river. After leaving the garden turn left into the village of Bury using the tarmac road.
- Follow the road through the village until Glebe Cottage, go right , through a gate and diagonally across a field on a footpath, through another gate and ahead past houses to reach a road. Cross the road and take a half-right by houses (signed Street Cottage), follow past houses and ahead to a main road. Carefully cross the main road and take the path to the left of the house by the nursery (the nursery is the group of buildings in front of you when viewed from the road). Follow the path into a field and keep to the left hand side of the field. Halfway down the field cross a stile and follow the path which is now separated from the field by a fence. Follow the path into and through the wood ahead of you. Eventually the path goes downhill to a wooden bridge across a stream. Cross the bridge into the field beyond. Cross diagonally north-west across the field to a path which is between two fences. Follow the path until it widens into a lane between houses. Follow the lane until it joins the main road. Turn right. You are now in the community of West Burton.
- Follow the road for 100 metres and turn left. Follow this road for approximately 300 metres and turn left. Proceed south until you get to a T junction in the road (ignoring the side road to your left). Turn right. Proceed straight on and continue directly ahead ignoring the road going to your left. Eventually this route turns into a path by a stream and goes into a wood. Keep straight on until the path leaves the wood. Upon exiting the wood keep to the right in the field with the hedge to your right. Keep on to the end of the field and go through a gap in the right hand corner of the field. You will find yourself in another field. Turn sharp left over a small bridge so that you proceed along the left hand side of the field (keeping the hedge on your immediate left), when half way along the field (by a signpost) strike out across the field diagonally for the opposite corner from where you entered the field. Exit the field and turn left on to the road. You are now in the community of Bignor.
- Proceed along the road ignoring the road to the right and the next side road which is on the left. Travel for another 500 metres or so until the road turns right. After another 200 metres take the path to the left through the wooden gate. [Not the path just by the turn in the road with a wide entrance]. Cross the private garden and go straight on into a wood. Follow footpath signs until you come to a bridge over a stream. Cross the bridge following the path through the wood until you come to a second bridge. Cross the bridge and leave the wood. Proceed uphill across two fields until the path goes between two gardens. At the end of the path you come to the road by a pub (The White Horse) and bus shelter. Time perhaps for refreshment! You are now in the village of Sutton.
- Leaving the pub on your left go north along the road until you pass the church. You now leave the Literary Trail. [You have been following this since Amberley with a few exceptions]. Just after the church the road goes down hill; here take the concrete farm track to the left and go straight ahead until you get to a private house. The path goes to the left of the house and goes slightly down hill until it reaches a T junction of paths with a signpost. Turn right. Proceed straight on into and through a wood and across a bridge over a stream. In this field stay close to the fence on your right until you turn the corner after about 100 metres. Complete your crossing of this field diagonally to its north-east corner. Climb over the stile and turn left and go uphill in the field keeping to the hedge on your left. Keeping straight on the path turns into a farm track. Keep straight until you reach Barlavington Farm. Turn left and follow the path around the end of Barlavington Farm where it goes through a right hand bend. You eventually get to Barlavington Church. Enter the church yard.
- Exit the church yard at the opposite side from where you entered and proceed along the road in a north-westerly direction. After a few hundred metres take the turning to the left and go down hill to the main road. Cross the main road and take the path through a small gate between the private gates. Go uphill keeping the open field to your left and the wood to your right. At the end of the field go into the wood and take the Bridleway at the fork. This goes to the left and uphill. (Ignore the immediate left hand track which runs parallel to the boundary of the wood.) Proceed uphill and through the wood until you get to the edge of the wood with an open field in front of you on the other side of the fence. This is Barlavington Down. Turn left on the path which you have joined and which runs next to the fence. After 100 metres there is a crossroad of paths. Go straight on heading south and uphill across an open field. Eventually you get to a gate which goes into a nature reserve which is open access land. Go through this gate and proceed straight on down hill.
- At the bottom of the hill you leave the reserve and cross the field using the path between two hedges. Follow this path until it enters a piece of woodland and joins another path which comes from your left to right. Take the right hand option and shortly turn left and go uphill again. Follow the path until it passes a wood to your left (Pitchurst copse). Keep straight on, past the wood, until you go into a field. Cross the field and enter the wood in front of you. Keep straight on ignoring the path to your right. Continue uphill through the wood leaving the radio station in the wood to your right. Keep heading straight on until you reach the top of the hill at the point where the wood on your right ceases. You are now on Glatting Beacon.
- Proceed southeast and downhill until a path joins from the right, bear left and head to the car park. You are now on the South Downs way. Cross the car park and head east leaving the public road to your left. Head uphill again following the South Downs way. Continue until you get to the top of the hill. This is Bignor Hill.
- Head downhill for half a kilometre, passing Toby’s Stone until the path takes a left turn. Proceed down this steep section towards the farm buildings. At the farm buildings head east and uphill, still following the South Downs way and ignoring the other public paths which cross it at this point. Proceed for over a kilometre following the track until you come to a wood on your right. At the end of this wood continue straight on ignoring the path which crosses your path. Continue east along the South Downs way until it goes downhill to the main A29 road.
- At the road turn right and walk 100 metres, then carefully cross the road to the footpath opposite. This is still the South Downs way. Proceed with the Coombe Wood to your left, downhill, until the path goes out into a huge field and does a right hand bend followed by left hand bend on its way down hill to the road. Cross the road and follow the path across the field in front of you. When the path goes into the next field follow the boundary of the field to your right until you are forced left and the path goes towards the river. At the river turn right and proceed down stream until the bridge. Cross the bridge and turn right and retrace the route next to the river that you used in the outward journey.
At the road, tired people can be refreshed in the pub opposite. To return to the station turn left under the bridge and carefully cross the road into the station approach.