Distance: 5 km. Elevation: 33 m. Difficulty: Easy.
For this walk, you need Ordnance Explorer OL 34. It was not really the walk I expected it to be. We chose it because we fancied a riverside/canal amble but you really only catch a few glimpses of the canal. That notwithstanding, it was a lovely walk, very rural and secluded with some fabulous wildlife, flora, and fauna.
We started this walk at The Limeburners just west of Billingshurst. Parking is limited and my best suggestion would be to have lunch at the pub and ask for permission to park there. The Limeburners is in a 17th century cottage and was originally on the Wey and Arun canal which is now a short distance away. They also have a campsite so this is a great walk for those staying there.
Leave the pub and turn left (south) and walk down the road for a very short distance until you see a footpath to the right. Follow this footpath for about 1 km, firstly down a private road and then bearing right up and across a field and down to the canal where you turn left on to the Wey South Path. Here are your first glimpses of a waterway.
This stretch of the canal is very wiggly and very overgrown and you don’t walk “riverside”. Instead, you follow a straightish line across fields while the canal wiggles its way and re-meets you at various points. However, there are places where you can get to the water’s edge and we saw a giant pike and lots of interesting birds. There are also varied grasses and flowers throughout the fields, although I was a little concerned about some of the signage!
Wey and Arun Canal
Following the path, you eventually come to Lording’s Lock which has a unique waterwheel (the only one of its kind on the canal system) and an aqueduct. It’s not hugely photogenic but it is an interesting pocket of Sussex history. This is part of the Wey & Arun Canal which opened in 1816 linking the Wey Navigation near Guildford to the south coast via the Arun Navigation to provide a transport route from London to Portsmouth. It was formally closed in 1871.
Large stretches of the canal have since been restored although not this part. It’s hard to believe that in its heyday this would have been a bustling and busy stretch of waterway transporting goods, when today, you feel a long way off the beaten track and are surrounded by total tranquillity.
A short distance after the lock, you turn left and start heading home. You are not far from the River Arun now although, in summer, you can’t see much of it as it’s surrounded by tall watergrass and reeds. At the footpath sign, you then cut through a little area of woodland before coming to a lake at Brockhurst Brook. This is very pretty, with weeping willows, water lilies, an island, a boathouse, ducks, and herons. At the boathouse, turn left and follow the footpath back to the start. Of course, if you have more time, you can keep going for as long as you want.
We did this walk in summer but I would imagine it could get very wet underfoot in the winter. If you are staying at the Limeburners’ campsite with children, Fisher’s Farm and the Loxwood Joust are both nearby and worth a visit. And if you like this West Sussex Walk you may also like: