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Jay Walking

South Downs Way: Washington to Amberley

After a break from walking, to allow the pain in my foot to heal, I was heading back to Washington where I last stopped on the South Downs Way. I’d be doing some running and gentle walks locally and had not suffered any problems, and I was hoping that I’d be able to cope with the 10 kilometres between Washington and Amberley. I set off early, getting the 8:14 am train from Victoria to Worthing, where I arrived around 10 am to find that I’d just missed both the buses and I had to wait over an hour till the next one. It was Sunday so the services were only running once every two hours, though why they didn’t split the 2 different services to be one hour apart I don’t know. I took the time to take a look around Worthing, which was a classic British seaside town, with a pier, amusement and a small funfair along the promenade. It was a sunny day after a long period of overcast weather so many people were out, some walking their dogs, others heading to various coffee shops, I decided to join them as I had to kill some time. Once I had finished my coffee, I headed to the bus stop to wait for the bus, paying a whooping £4.90 for a single to Washington. We arrived around 11:40 am, it had taken me about 5 hours to get this far, travelling on a Sunday is always a mission.

I got back to the church in Washington and set myself up, putting on a sun hat and set off walking, following a group walking a dog, though I rapidly overtook them while they waited for their dog to sniff various trees. The route took a bridge to cross the A24 before turning South and heading up to the downs again, gradually getting to the top of the downs at around 200 metres and meeting the branch of the South Downs Way that crosses the A24 directly. After this the routes heads gently Westwards along the ridge. There were a few people walking and more riding bikes, the views over West Sussex were great and it was nice to be walking in the sunshine again. I’d forgotten my camera so was having to make do with my phone camera but took a few pictures on the way to the top of the downs. The walk continued on in a series of gentle ups and downs, the map indicating a number of tumuli along the way though none of them were really obvious. The amount of tumuli indicated on the maps is really interesting, those Neolithic people really put some time and effort in to make all those graves.

Looking Eastwards over the Downs towards the village of Washington
Looking Eastwards over the Downs towards the village of Washington

After an hour I reached a car park and on the other side of it I met up with 2 ladies who were walking the whole of the South Downs Way, they seems fairly organised and had done 2 days of around 32 kilometres so far. They’d roped their husbands in as support and were mainly staying in bed and breakfast accommodation, which is an expensive but nice way of doing the walk. There were a few other walkers though I think most of them were day trippers like me, otherwise there were lots of mountain bikers coming and going in both directions.

Chalk track on the South Downs Way
The village of Amberley

Sitting down for a few minutes, I checked the map, I’d already done half of the 10 kilometres and soon the village of Amberley came into view, nestled in the valley of the River Arun at the foot of the downs and soon I was heading down hill towards it. Once off the downs there was a little bit of road walking following the route and then a short detour off route to the station. Last time I reached this point I went to one of the pubs near the station to kill some time but today I was in luck and there was just enough time to buy a ticket and before the next train arrived at 2:08 pm. I was quite pleased with the day, no problems with my foot, the weather had been good and hopefully the return journey would not take as long as the journey to the start this morning.