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Saturday 8th March 2008
Arundel to Amberley via North & South Stoke
10 miles

The weather forecast for today wasn't great and the group walk we had planned for today was postponed due to lots of people pulling out, but we decided to go and do it ourselves anyway. Our friend Vince decided at the last moment that he would really like to come as well, so as he hadn't come with us before, we let him before he changed his mind.
We stopped at Arundel Cathedral on the way out of town before entering Arundel Park. There we were met by about 30 race horses out for their morning exercise. We passed the triangular tower, and the moment we got off the main path we got great views of a sparrowhawk flying above us.
The footpath took us through: farm fields in the process of being ploughed, woodland on a hanger above the river and through the centre of hedgerowed footpaths that cross the flooded fields. We checked out all of the village churches as we passed them and they made very welcome shelters from the drizzly rain. After finally getting to Amberley we had a cuppa at The Bridge Inn and then climbed up to Rackham Hill (193 m). We could just about make out the views from there but the weather was getting worse all the time. We dropped down to Amberley village and checked out St Michael's, then walked out past the castle, across the flooded fields and followed the river Arun back to the pub for a celebratory cider in front of the fire. Lovely!
We think the walk did Vince a lot of good (or killed him) as he seemed very relaxed (knackered) at the end. We only hope he is ok (alive) in the morning.
Sightings during the day included: buzzards, fieldfares, goldfinch, dunnock, wren, yellowhammers, grey heron, lapwing, skylark, snipe and green and great spotted woodpeckers. Strangely though we saw no kestrels. No bluebells spotted today, but primroses were flowering and wild garlic was growing in profusion.


The undulating footpaths at Arundel park

South Stoke church looking very moody

We came across an old oak studded with coins old and new.
We added an offering of our own of course

North Stoke church is very picturesque in its simplicity

This sheep head is a nice feature of North Stoke church and reiterates the importance
that sheep have always had in the county.

By the time we got to the top of Amberley Mount the weather was deteriorating badly
and we wisely decided to head back down to
Amberley Village.

This very colourful window by Robert Anning Bell (1863-1933) to commemorate the artist Edward Stott
is at St Michael's Church at Amberley

Also at Amberley, this Veronica Whall (1887-1970) window to commemorate Edith Jennings.
There is a nice art nouveau look to these windows that really appeals to us.