1 - From the junction of Terminus Road and Bridge Road, descend the few paces to Wharf Road and head for the footbridge that crosses the River Arun. At the far side of the bridge, having taken in the views up and downstream, descend the ramp and turn right into the access road leading to Littlehampton Marina.

In 50 yards turn right, crossing the gravel entrance to a caravan site and go right of a mobile home to the embankment path. Turn left along the path, with the river on the right, and in about 150 yards pass the final mobile home and continue ahead. Pass the harbour-side workshops and a boat storage compound on the left.

At the end of the storage site, turn left towards the marina offices then turn right on an access road that passes by a restaurant and the mobile home park called Marina View. Bear right on the road and, in a few yards, divert left across a parking area to a metal kissing gate, giving access to a copse.

Bear right among the trees, climbing a bank on the right on to a path going beneath the busy A259 road. Keep to the embankment and, on coming to a wider service track, divert right amongst scrub, walking towards a metal kissing gate.

2 - Do not go through the gate but turn left along a fenceline and when beside large double metal gates, locate a descending path leading right to a footbridge. Cross the bridge to arrive beside a large arable field.

The line of the path (which has not been re-instated) across the field is indicated by an adjacent path sign. Aim for a point that is about a quarter of a mile away, on the north edge of a caravan park. It may be a muddy trudge across the field but that is the line of the path. When next to the caravan site, keep to the left edge of the field and maintain direction to pass through a hedge opening.

Turn right and, in a few paces, take the left branch of a faintly-defined path along the planted field edge. The path bears left, continuing along the north edge of the large field (ignore a right hedgerow turning across a footbridge at the mid-point), soon diverting right a couple of paces, heading west to Church Lane at the edge of Climping.

3 - Turn left along the pavement to a roundabout in 300 yards. On coming to the busy A259 road, turn left along the path, keeping the safety fence on the right, and in a short distance cross the road with care at the crossing point. Turn right along the opposite pavement, back to the roundabout and then turn left down Crookthorne Lane.

Follow the lane for 150 yards and when beside some thatched dwellings turn right on to Brookpits Lane. In a few paces, beside the local primary school, turn left on to a field-centre public byway.

Head south for 350 yards to a crossing footpath and continue ahead as the track dips to a second crossing footpath. The southward track bears slightly right through sparse scrub as it approaches a rising bank ahead.

Climb up through the huge concrete blocks that now form part of the local sea defences, although they are more likely to be part of Second World War defences, to emerge on to the pebbles and shingle of Climping Beach. Off to the right is a grassed area at Atherington, with a beachside cafe for those in need of some briny-side refreshment; our walking route turns left.

4 - Head off along the top of the beach, although, if there is a low tide, a boots off, barefoot, sand-between-yer-toes stroll is an option. Keep to the beach-top path, using the concrete wall as an easier option but care is required in places. The path heads east for nearly half a mile and is over consolidated pebbles, which can be heavy going if you stray on to the looser shingle.

On arriving at Climping Gap (an information plinth confirms the spot), the path continues along the beach beside a fence that encloses a protected zone. After about 200 yards it is possible to climb left to the top of the dunes to get a wider view across the coastal plain and along the coast. Thread a route through the marram grass, which helps stabilise the dunes, to a point where a second protected area is enclosed. Descend to the beach and continue eastward.

Towards the end of the fenced-off section turn left up a winding wooden boardwalk climbing the dunes and descending beside an overgrown section that reveals part of the defensive wall of the Littlehampton Redoubt, constructed in 1854 to repel a possible French invasion. The redoubt was similar to other constructions along the South Coast and based, ironically, on a design by the French military engineer Lazare Carnot.

Descend the boardwalk to a car park on the western arm of the Littlehampton Harbour entrance; here the reduced-width River Arun has a fast tidal flow between the harbour arms.

5 - Turn left across the car park, following the roadside path for about a quarter of a mile to a point that is opposite a golf clubhouse and beside the entrance to Arun Yacht Club.

Climb a footpath up a bank on the right and continue north-ward, with small lagoons to the right that provide moorings for small boats and some ancient hulks decaying in the mud.

The enclosed path passes a house and rejoins the road, designated as Rope Walk, which is a clue to the past occupations of the low, long workshops as being the place for hawsers, cables, painters and strands.

Continue to the end of the Rope Walk and there turn right, crossing over the Arun footbridge, back to our starting point.

  • Distance/Time: Four and three-quarter miles, taking two and a quarter hours
  • By Car: Locate Bridge Road/Terminus Road (B2187) and turn into Wharf Road, Littlehampton, for limited on-street parking. Start point grid ref: TQ023022
  • By Public Transport: From Littlehampton railway station, walk west along Terminus Road for 250 yards and turn left to the start point on the Arun footbridge. Coastliner 700 bus service from Brighton/Worthing alight at Terminus Road bus stop adjacent to the Arun footbridge. Travel details from www.traveline.info or phone 0871 200 2233
  • What’s underfoot: Level footpath walking and a (possible) muddy field crossing. One busy road crossing, then beach and sand dune coastal walking. Possible with a baby backpack; not possible with an off-road baby buggy.
  • Thirsty Work: The Arun View Inn at the start/finish
  • So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer map 121, plus a compass for general direction

Click here for a full-sized map of the Littlehampton circular walk