This was a walk I hadn’t been especially looking forward to as a look at the map suggested it was entirely urban, so I was expecting lots of pavement/promenade bashing. As it happened there was more of interest than I expected and it wasn’t all tarmac bashing either.
This time I made my way down to the south coast via the M25, A24 and A280. Another sign I’m making progress that I’m now heading south on the A24 rather than the A3.
I parked at Angmering station and made the long walk back to the coast (the station is around 1 mile inland). On reaching the shore the tide looked fairly far out so I was able to make my way east along the hard sand (mixed with shingle) at the shore line rather than the promenade, as the groynes were low enough to step over.
A line of green (hedges and grass) separated the coast from the houses behind so in fact the coast felt more rural than it really was. Angmering is not a resort but residential and so the beach was pretty quiet. In places there were beach launched boats, with bits of wood added to aid the passage of the boat over the shingle.
As I progressed east the beach became increasingly shingle so I headed inland to the footpath that ran along the coast. It was certainly easy to follow being a wide area of short grass, though the residents had in places put up signs implying it is private despite the presence of a public footpath.
To my right I was soon puzzled by what appeared to be a jetty but with one of those funny “lampshade” things you get at the end of groynes (what are they for?) stuck right in the middle. Why would you try to block up a jetty? I was puzzled but a check at the map revealed that a small river known as Ferring Rife seemed to flow out to sea here. But in fact it disappeared at the car park inland of the beach and so I realised this was in fact a culvert taking the river under the beach, for what reason I’m not sure.
Just past this stream the footpath along the shore briefly ended but there was a wide gravel track, so I continued along that past the large residences of Ferring. These soon ended and I had a brief section where there was only a road, rather than houses, inland. The land beyond was incredibly flat. I don’t really consider West Sussex to be flat, but pretty much all of it’s coast is.
Although I was reaching another town, this time Goring-by-Sea ahead the houses and road were separated by a screen of trees, so the coast ahead did not appear urban. It does make such a difference.
I continued on the path over the wide green with the line of trees beside, it was nicer than I had expected.
Ahead I came to another of those rock groynes and the coast ahead was a little further back so perhaps it had suffered more from erosion. I was pleased however to see some more sand ahead and the beach was backed by a line of uniform white beach huts.
Goring seemed quite a wealthy and pleasant place. Sadly the sand soon ran out but I found that the shingle had been built up to a bank in front of the beach huts. Clearly the work of a machine presumably to shore up the beach and provide some defence against the likely storms of the coming winter. Still the compacted shingle was a bit easier to walk on so I stuck with that rather than the footpath which was behind the beach huts and so kept the sea largely out of sight.
After a while though it became too hard going so I conceded defeat and returned to the footpath which had now become a promenade behind the beach huts. It was not the most exciting of paths, the sea largely out of sight behind the beach huts and the houses largely out of sight (probably deliberately so) by a tall hedge so I was squeezed into a ribbon of tarmac.
I had walked now from Goring-by-Sea to Worthing (or strictly, West Worthing). There were some grand regency-style buildings behind the busy main road inland of the town. I suspected all hotels originally but they now looked to be residential.
Not long past these the beach huts ended so at least I had a view of the sea once more. This was just as well because inland the grand houses had been replaced with terrible 1960s and 1970s blocks of flats.
I was now nearing the centre of Worthing and the ugly blocks of flats were replaced by this large art-deco style hotel.
I quite liked it but it has since been demolished to make way for a “landmark development” which as you have probably guessed is a boxy block of flats (and a Premier Inn). Another little bit of character lost I feel.
Still past this hotel it was back to more grand buildings (Victorian or Georgian) which were a mixture of hotels and flats. Ahead I approach another nice looking building, this one I thought at first was some sort of bandstand but turned out to be Worthing Lido. Except it wasn’t. It might say Lido but there was no sign of a swimming pool. Instead it is a “Family Entertainment Centre” which means an arcade and a few small rides. But at least the building has survived.
Still once past that I could see the pier ahead. And unlike Bognor this one looked in good condition. And so it proved to be. The landward building was I was pleased to see still in use as a theatre. Once every resort had a big theatre and they were able to attract to the top acts of the day. Many have now closed so this is a rare and welcome survivor.
Beyond that too the rest of the pier was very much in an Art Deco style. I hadn’t expected that, but I loved it. The pier was clearly being looked after too. A small section on one side of the building was closed with the pier being re-decked and scaffolding further down. It was well used too.
A surfaced path made it’s way over the shingle at the back of the beach and it seemed that rather quickly I was out of the resort centre and into a quieter area with the promenade now lined more permanent style beach huts (beach chalets perhaps?) mixed in with the odd cafe.
I had now passed into East Worthing and there were more beach launched fishing boats to be found at the back of the beach. I was surprised to see that what I had always though of as a resort town had a small fishing fleet too. I’m not sure what purpose these flags serve, but they are rather photogenic!
Not long after this the houses of East Worthing ended and a sign warned on the beach of a pipeline ahead. Inland I could see a lake which seemed to have a railway line around it (part of a park, I presume) and behind it a sewage works was marked on the map – the reason for the pipeline I suspect.
The wooden groynes of the beach had now been replaced with large “boulder groynes” which were very difficult to cross so I was forced to walk on the pavement beside the busy A259.
Thankfully not long after this there was a promenade once more, which turned a little away from the road. This marked (I think) the start of Lancing. Lancing was a mix of residential housing and caravan parks. Not unpleasant but nothing special either.
Ahead though I did come across something rather unexpected. Widewater Lagoon. Here the houses are separated from the shingle beach by a wide lagoon (not sure if it is sea water or fresh water) which is now a nature reserve. Better still the promenade continued on the coastal side of it and away from the road. I enjoyed watching the sea splashing over the rocky groynes now, as the tide was coming in.
Though there are not really any hills on the coast the shingle seemed to have formed a sizeable ridge which meant I was actually looking down on the town of Shoreham to my left. I was surprised to see some sort of huge military looking ship on what appeared to be land, but a quick check at the map showed this was in fact Shoreham Harbour.
The view was also dominated by a large and attractive stone church tower. Inland I was passing a curious structure a row of what I suspected were beach huts painted to look like an old railway carriage!
Shoreham Beach seemed to be quite a popular place for water sports with a few paragliders (I think that is what they are called) enjoying the fairly sizeable waves.
I had a decision to make here. I had now reached Shoreham Beach. This is a thin spit of land with the sea on the south side and the large entrance to Shoreham Harbour behind it. It was a dead-end so if I walked out to the end I would end up almost back where I started. But despite this I decided to walk around this spit too.
Sadly there was no path so I had to walk on the shingle though after a while there was a “sort of” path, sometimes clear, sometimes covered in shingle. The coast here seemed to be building up as there were plants beginning to colonise the shingle at the back of the beach suggesting the waves rarely, if ever, made it this far up the beach.
As I neared the end the paragliders had not made it up this far and the beach more or less deserted now. At the end I came to a large breakwater which marks the western side of the entrance to Shoreham Harbour (and the mouth of the River Adur).
I made my way to the top of this and a lone fisherman was fishing from the far end. Beyond this breakwater I was surprised to see a smaller harbour wall just a little further inland, perhaps an earlier entrance to the harbour.
The view ahead was not attractive, with lots of concrete and what I suspected was a power station.
Inland though was another pleasant surprise. This is Shoreham Fort, another Palmerston fort which was completed in the 1850s.
I was not sure if it was still in use because there was a more modern building (a little like an airport control tower) on the top but I was rather taken that the sides of the fort had been constructed in the traditional Sussex manner with flint stones on top of the red brick. An information board suggested it had found later use as a film studio. It seems that now a trust is working on restoring more of it and opening it to the public. It was quite an interesting place and I’m glad it seems to be in good hands.
From here I had to head a little inland along roads, as residential gardens now came right down to the coast. I resume on the coast by a boat club. However I was soon forced back inland as now buildings had been built right along the waterfront. A footbridge ahead provided a bit of a shortcut to cross the harbour mouth so I didn’t need to walk all the way back to the road bridge. Looking east the view was, as I had feared, rather industrial.
But the town itself looked rather lovely ahead with another view of that fine church tower.
The bridge was (at least at the time) a rather ugly and simple concrete affair that looked like an extended railway footbridge. Still I was grateful for it, as it was a shorter and more pleasant route than using the road bridge.
This bridge has since been demolished and replaced with a new footbridge, which opened in 2013 called the Adur Ferry Bridge (presumably because a ferry used to run there?). The bridge provided a fine view of the harbour which looked far nicer than I had expected under the later afternoon sunshine.
From here I continued the short distance ahead to the railway station which took me right past that pleasing church.
From here I took the train back to Angmering. It was not a pleasant journey as groups of youths would get on at one stop, be very loud then got off a stop later, most making loud comments about looking out for the guard (presumably because they did not have tickets) and one group ended up climbing over the wire fence at one of the stations to get out, presumably to avoid the ticket barriers. I was glad to arrive back at Angmering and get off the train!
I hadn’t had high hopes for this walk being mostly urban from the map. However lines of trees or grass made it more pleasant than I had expected for much of the time. There was also a bit more of interest than I expected, such as the nice pier in Worthing and the interesting fort at Shoreham. I was though beginning to miss cliffs, as so far all the Sussex coast had been flat!
Here are details of the public transport needed for this walk. Southern Trains run frequent trains between Shoreham and Angmering and onwards to Littlehampton, Portsmouth or Southampton. There are 4-5 trains an hour Monday – Saturday and 3 an hour on Sundays taking about 20 minutes. Note however that Southern Railway seem to be mostly on strike at the moment, so you’ll be glad to know there is also a bus.
This is Stagecoach service 700 which runs a long route from Portsmouth to Brighton. It runs every 10 minutes Monday – Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays though it takes over an hour to make the journey.