West Sussex Literary Trail
The West Sussex Literary Trail, which links Horsham with Chichester Cathedral along a route rich in literary associations, passes through the heart of Bury. The guidebook (available from the website) brings the walk alive with stories of the many and varied literary connections along the way.
Forsyte Saga author John Galsworthy would have crossed the River Arun by ferry from his house in Bury, whilst English folk song patriarch Bob Copper wrote a wonderful anecdote about the ferryman. Hilaire Belloc was everywhere in this area, and part of the route follows in the footsteps of his novel The Four Men: A Farrago, a homage to ‘this Eden which is Sussex still’ and conveys Belloc’s ‘love for the soil of his native land of Sussex’.
The 55-mile trail concludes in Chichester with its strong ties with William Blake and John Keats.
Whether you cover the trail in a week or a series of short walks, you will be delighted with this little gem. Full details and map at www.westsussexliterarytrail.co.uk
South Downs Way
The South Downs Way was the first bridleway National Trail in England. It is also the only National Trail to lie entirely within a National Park. Stretching from the ancient cathedral city of Winchester in the west, through to the white chalky cliffs of Beachy Head at Eastbourne in the east, almost all of its stunning 100-mile length is blissfully off-road.
There are countless ways to enjoy this trail and all that it connects. It is the central thread running through the patchwork of culture and nature that is the South Downs National Park.
Our ancestors have been walking the ridgeline of the South Downs for as far back as we can discover, all sharing the views that found Virginia Woolf “overcome by beauty more extravagantly than one could expect.”
They crossed between Bronze Age barrows, with grassy ramparts still clearly visible at Old Winchester Hill, or as a circle of beech at Chanctonbury Ring and Iron Age hillforts, lit the beacons at Ditchling and Firle to warn of the coming Armada. Along the South Downs Way route, we can share these experiences and enjoy more modern wonders such as the Chattri, a serene stone memorial and cremation site for the many Indian soldiers who fought and lost their lives in the First World War.
From Amberley Mount, the South Downs Way drops down to cross the River Arun at the footbridge between Bury Wharf and Houghton Bridge and then turns west, climbing Bury Hill (and crossing the busy A29 so take great care) towards Bignor Hill.
Download a walking map at www.nationaltrail.co.uk/en_GB/trails/south-downs-way/custom-itinerary/
The Coffin Trail
The ancient Coffin Trail was used for centuries to bring deceased parishioners from West Burton by cart for burial at St John the Evangelist churchyard in Bury. These were obviously sad journeys to undertake but today the Coffin Trail offers a joyous meander through peaceful countryside, with a mixture of bosky groves, hidden vales and commanding views. The trail follows the Greensand ridge, and leads through a mass of wild garlic flowers in May. It crosses the stream that originates in Bignor and eventually crosses under the A29 to discharge into the River Arun.
Access points in Bury are from the stone style at the back of the churchyard, from The Street which the trail crosses, or from close to Hillside Nurseries You will eventually emerge on West Burton Lane in the heart of the hamlet.