Christ’s Hospital to Pulborough
Rudgwick – Bucks Green – Tismans Common – Wisborough Green – Kirdford – Pallingham
This ride explores the far reaches of West Sussex – just this side of the Surrey border.
Leaving Christ’s Hospital station, we will ride for 5 miles along part of the Downs Link, the old railway line that runs from Shoreham to Guildford. Along the way we will see the famous “double bridge” over the river Arun, which features in the Downs Link logo.
Not long after leaving the Downs Link we arrive at the lunch stop – the “Mucky Duck” at Tisman’s Common. After lunch we continue south-westwards, and traverse the wonderfully-named (and indeed, wonderful!) Drungewick Lane, a little way along which we will encounter Drungewick Aqueduct, where the Wey & Arun Canal passes over the river Lox. This was, no doubt, a fine piece of engineering when it was first built, but the extensive restoration work, done by the canal trust after decades of neglect had done their worst, is also a thing of wonder.
At Wisborough Green we turn westwards without going anywhere near the dreaded A272. At Kirdford we turn south. Eventually we will come to a woodland known as The Mens, which is apparently an internationally important nature reserve.
The thing about having crossed the Arun at Rudgwick is that we now have to get back across it; and bridges here are few and far between. It seems most of the traffic passing over Pallingham Bridge has four legs, and despite this being part of the Wey-South Path, the result is not pretty, nor pleasant to walk on. (We will have to dismount, for sure). Unfortunately for Pallingham, this bridge, and the nearby quay, is the area’s main claim to fame. Pallingham is the tidal limit of the river, 25 miles from the sea. At 37 miles in total, the Arun is the longest river entirely in Sussex, according to Wikipedia.
Back on firmer ground, we’ll traverse a short, pleasant bridleway and then back onto tarmac for the long haul up the one serious hill, which ascends the ridge overlooking Pulborough and the lower Arun Valley. Then a long whizz downhill to Pulborough Station.
Length: 23 miles.
Duration: about 6 hours including lunch.
Terrain: Apart from half a mile of the B2133, all the roads and paths are quiet. The surface of the Downs Link is hard, compacted earth and stones, which may get slightly muddy if it rains. The track leading to the Arun bridge is bumpy, and around the bridge it may be very soft and uneven, but this does not go on for long. One hill (see above).
Start at Christ’s Hospital station at 10:45 am.
Getting there: The 9.42 Bedford train will get you to Christs Hospital on time, but the change at Three Bridges is only 7 minutes, which may be a problem if the Bedford train is late. I would recommend instead getting the 9.27 Victoria train and changing at Gatwick Airport, where we get 15 minutes. Get a return to Pulborough.
Getting back: There is one train an hour from Pulborough in each direction. It is possible to get to Brighton via either Three Bridges or Ford, taking roughly the same time (about 1.5 hours).