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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Sunday 20th December 2009
Pulborough - Greatham - Amberley Wild Brooks - Rackham Hill - The Burgh - North Stoke - Amberley Station
10.4 miles

Sussex is now covered in deep snow and thick ice and the odds are good for us getting our first white Christmas for over twenty years. The roads are extremely treacherous though, so we decided not to attempt getting anywhere by bike. Restrained by the woefully inadequate railway system of the county (thanks a lot Beeching) we resolved to taking a favourite walk of ours along the Wey South Path from Pulborough, through Amberley Wild Brooks and up onto the Downs. This walk is always a complete pleasure, passing as it does through some of the most wildlife-rich areas in Sussex and with gorgeous views of most of the county from up on Rackham Hill.
There were so many birds and animals about today, all presumably using the few hours of available daylight (tomorrow is the shortest day) to get as much grub into themselves as possible. We saw 48 species of bird in total, as well as a Weasel which ran back and forth across the path a few metres from us.
You can pick up this walk by heading south from the car park at the garden centre on the A283 at Stopham. It wends its way through the Hardham Water Treatment plant, over the A29 and down to the old bridge at Greatham. Cross the river and take the footpath on the right and go through Quell Farm. Through the big wooden gate and turn left, then right at the next field and across the little bridge. You're then out in the Wild Brooks, a very special place and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Many rare plants live in the flooded ditches and rills and many species of bird are out there hiding in the reeds and grasses. It's one of those places which appear to be deserted at first glance, but which is actually teeming with life. Of course binoculars or a scope are needed to make the most of it.
When you reach Amberley at the end of the track (which is always wet and muddy, even in the summer) turn left and then right at the Black Horse. The village shop can be found just up on the left. If you take the next right - Church Street, surprise surprise you will come to the church. You will also get to the castle too and from behind that you can walk out onto the Amberley Brooks down to the river. Straight on from the village shop you come to the B2139 and by going straight up the small lane opposite will lead you up to Downs Farm and the South Downs Way. From there Sussex is at your feet and you can see all the way back to Pulborough.
There are several stiles and quite a few kissing gates to negotiate on this walk and the going is pretty rough. The only climb is up onto the top of the Downs and is fairly steep but is on a good track. Much of this route passes through nature reserves and private land and to help to preserve these areas for the wildlife and keep them special it is asked that all dogs remain on leads.

The confluence of the Rivers Rother and Arun at Hardham

Out onto Amberley Wild Brooks across the slippery bridge

Frozen rills

The snowy route up to Rackham Hill

The frozen Wild Brooks below Amberley Mount

Visibility was perfect today and small details on the North Downs were clearly visible.

Across to The Burgh along hedgerows full of Yellowhammers, Linnets and chaffinches.

Arundel Castle in the distance