This walk along the lower reaches of the Adur encounters a multiplicity of Shoreham’s transport links past and present. Vincent Hallett guides from Shoreham Beach to Beeding Hill and back.

The walk starts at Beach Green car park. Climb the river embankment by one of the private concrete steps to join Riverbank, a concrete public access alongside the eclectic house boats moored on this side of the Adur. Turn right and have a look for the living accommodation made from a coach, a three wheeler and Cadillacs interspersed with British and US naval vessels. At the point where the path ends head towards the new Adur Ferry footbridge, just before The Waterfront pub.

Cross the river using this bridge and pass into pedestrianized East Street with the Ferry Inn on the left. By the NatWest bank, in 75 yards go into the churchyard of 12th century Mary De Haura, meaning at the harbour. A diagonal route leads to the west door where an information board indicates evidence of the nave that collapsed in the 17th century. Continue and leave the churchyard, glimpsing Church Street, formerly Star Lane left and turn left into North Street. Cross John Street and Ship Street. At West Street, formerly White Lion Street, proceed down the alleyway ahead. This leads to Victoria Road after 50 yards. Cross right and follow another footpath left just before the railway bridge that emerges onto the Old Shoreham Road, A283, opposite Ropetackle.

Pass into Broad Reach and head to the embankment path. At the waterside the route goes right underneath the West Coastway line and soon joins the former Shoreham to Christ’s Hospital Adur Valley line, marked by a set of buffers. The path is tarmacked up to the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge. Where a short section of old railway lines remain go right and cross back over the A283 alongside the Parish Church of St Nicolas in Old Shoreham. Visitors are most welcome at this thousand year old building. At the end of St Nicholas Lane turn left into The Street. The Street rises, passing the entrance and exit to Lesser Foxholes, just beyond, on the left is a footpath sign. Take this route and skirt round three sides of a paddock, ignoring a left footpath.

At the road, Mill Hill, go left across the bridge high above the A27, Shoreham By-Pass. On the other side the footpath resumes left at a finger post adjacent a bungalow. The path turns sharp right at a gate and climbs by a fenced paddock with good views left over the Adur and Brighton City Airport. At a style the way goes through scrub. Look out for the inscription of Psalm 34:1. A way post indicates the route across more open down land. At a second post take the signed left path that descends down steps initially and then traverse Mill Hill Nature Reserve below a car park. Where the path start to rise again it enters cover and a flight of steps by a marker post lead to a gate. Strike out ahead through pasture to a style. Go right across a small paddock and over a second style into the environs of Old Erringham Farm.

The footpath sign at this point is concealed. Take the track ahead because the track left is private property. Shortly, a style to the left of the track is reached with a footpath roundel. No need to go over this style because there is no gate here. Keep to the right hand edge of the next long field. In 750 yards where the field ends, go right to join a public byway at a finger post. Walk left along the metalled road for ¾ miles to a small car park on Beeding Hill where the South Downs Way is joined. The remains of the Shoreham cement works and quarry will be seen on the left with its distinctive chimney.

A gate gives access to the long distance path that goes along the brow of a ridge and then descends through a gate between fences to the A283. Walkers are directed to stay on the grass verge and cross at a point just beyond a bus stop into a layby on the other side. The South Downs Way continues towards a metal footbridge over the Adur between fences and hedges. The Botolphs tap and trough provides an opportunity to replenish water bottles. Do not cross the bridge but stay on the east bank signed Downs Link bridleway, Shoreham 3 miles. The way hugs the river bank and enters the old cement works where evidence of siding rails are seen.

At this point the Downs Link reverts back to the old railway line route. The river bank can be followed from here back to the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge. It is suggested that initially walkers stay on the Link until a gate left is encountered after ½ mile. Go through this gate and continue south along obvious paths and the river bank. Lancing College chapel will get closer and once beyond the Shoreham Flyover will take over as the landmark to head for. A finger post and style lead under the flyover and back to the Toll Bridge.

This time walk across the wooden bridge built in 1781, restored in 2007. It closed in 1971 when the charge for cars was 6d. Once across take the footpath left. WWII brick and concrete installations are seen here that once defended the Shoreham Airport right. Planes and helicopters landing and taking off will engage on this section of walk. The iconic 1930s terminal building stands overlooking the airfield. Immediately after walking under the railway bridge take the footpath right. The route is not well defined so keep close to trees on the right until flood control gates are crossed and the path meets the busy A259. Opposite is Riverbank. Walk along this footpath, passing more eccentric boats for living until the car park where the walk started can be accessed.

The essentials

DISTANCE/TIME: Nine miles, taking four hours.
BY CAR: Park in Beach Green pay and display or on roads nearby. GR TQ222048.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Compass Bus 19. Stop name: opp Beach Green. Access from busses serving Shoreham, stop name: Crown & Anchor and rail Shoreham-by-Sea.
WHAT’S UNDERFOOT: Shoreham Beach and Old Shoreham mainly paved paths. Country section, downland walking and stoned-up tracks. A few styles, gentle climbs. 
THIRSTY WORK: The Waterside, Shoreham Beach. Ferry Inn, East Street Shoreham. The Amsterdam and The Red Lion Inn, Old Shoreham.
SO YOU DON’T GET LOST: OS Landranger 198 Brighton & Lewes. OS Explorer map 122.