South Stoke

A varied walk that starts at Swanbourne Lake, taking you along the River Arun to the pretty village of South Stoke, then up a fairly steep climb overlooking the Arun Valley, with stupendous views from the top, before descending back down to the lake.

Blue square = 0.6mi / 1km
Numbers = directions (see below)

Distance
5.4mi / 8.7km

Start / finish
Swanbourne Lake, Arundel

Free parking
Mill Road (next to lake)


Step-by-step guide

  • Start at Swanbourne Lake and follow the road down to the Black Rabbit pub (1). Leave the road and walk down past the pub so it’s on your left side, then past the play area on your right, and soon you’ll emerge onto a footpath running alongside the River Arun.
  • Follow this path – turning around intermittently to see lovely views of Arundel Castle with the river in the foreground (2) – for about a mile, until you reach South Stoke, nestled in a scenic bend in the river. Once you’ve rounded the bend and reached the footbridge, go left (away from the bridge) up the lane (3).
Approaching South Stoke
  • South Stoke is a pretty village with an 11th century church – St Leonard’s – which will be on your left as you walk up the lane (4).
  • Walk through the village for a minute or two until you come to South Stoke Barn on your right (5). Turn right off the road onto the footpath that takes you between the flint walls, past the barn (so it’s on your right side as you walk past), then turn left and, keeping to the edge of the field, follow the undulating path.
  • Keep right of an iron gate a short way along and slightly further along go straight through the wooden gate, keeping to the footpath round to the right.
  • Soon you’ll enter a wood and see the river far below through the trees on the right. Keep walking on the twisting, undulating path until you reach a gate in the wall on the left – it’s sign-posted Arundel Park (6) – and go through it.
  • The path now turns into a steep climb. When you come to a footpath junction, bear right (7), and then a few yards later go left. As you climb, keep looking back to enjoy the incredible views of the South Downs and Arun Valley.
Arun Valley
  • Before the top, you’ll reach a gate with a stile. Go over and make your way up the slope to the copse straight ahead to finish the climb (8).
  • Follow the path with the copse on your left until the path divides, at which point, bear right down to a stile.
  • Go over the stile and keep following the path down (going over another stile) as it takes you into an impressive fold in the hills, and once near the bottom keep to the lower path (9), which will take you to the back of Swanbourne Lake.
  • On the approach to the lake, you can bear either left or right (10), depending on which side of the lake you want to walk along (right arguably has better views; the distances are the same), until you get back to where you started.

Gallery

The numbered images below correspond to the above directions.