Saturday April 30th 2005
Hove to Brighton
East Sussex- Hampshire
Today’s walk was a very short one to finish the stretch to Brighton and planned so that we could travel back in time to Portsmouth on the 700 bus that covers the whole route. Many times over the last few years, we have seen the buses on this route and it seemed like a good way to round off the West Sussex and Hampshire stretch of the walk.
We left North Camp at 8.57 and, because we read the departure boards incorrectly, just missed a train at Gatwick. However, while we were waiting for the next one, Jen had the added bonus of meeting her friend Michael, whom she has not seen for a while. He had just landed at Gatwick on his way home from a holiday in Estonia. We eventually arrived at Brighton and, after a loo stop, found a taxi to take us to Hove and the before photo by the milepost at which we ended last time.
We started walking towards Brighton Pier which had definitely been in sight at the end of the previous walk. However this was a foggy morning and it was nowhere to be seen. The fog persisted nearly all day, rolling in and out from the sea and we walked to the sound of foghorns in the distance.
It was a gentle walk along the prom from Hove into the busier, more cosmopolitan Brighton. The West Pier looked even more derelict with the section nearest the shore now completely collapsed. The outer section was lost in the fog, but the shopkeeper at the postcard stand assured us it was still there. As we approached the centre of the town, we found more and more stalls and small shops beside the path. We bought some books at a second hand book stall and ice cream at a café and admired clothes, paintings and jewellery that we could not possibly have carried home. We passed many gift shops with tacky souvenirs and some craft shops with classier mementoes as well as the fishing museum and Sealife Centre before arriving at The Palace Pier, our stopping place for the day.
We had decided to find some lunch before seeking out the bus and had spotted a beach café just beyond the pier. We had a look at the menu which seemed reasonable so we stopped. Cosmopolitan Brighton really took over here and the language barrier kicked in; I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich with no mayonnaise and I got a ham and cheese salad. Jen had a baked potato with tuna and mayonnaise without the mayonnaise! Still it was tasty enough and we were sitting right beside the beach which was lovely.
After lunch we went to look for Pool Valley Coach Station. We knew vaguely where it was and stumbled across it almost at once. The bus was due about ten minutes later and, sure enough, nine minutes later a single-decker swung in. Disappointment was short lived as it was closely followed by a double-decker rostered for the following service. So we waited fifteen minutes for the privilege of sitting upstairs at the front and set off in high spirits.
The bus followed our route almost exactly all the way and we spotted all the highlights. The first part of the route was out of Brighton through the town centre. Then it picked up the road along Hove seafront and into Portslade. We passed the scrap yard and the lighthouse at Shoreham harbour then through Shoreham itself, past the second hand bookshop and on in front of the houses that we had seen backing onto Widewater Lagoon. We passed the green at Lancing and spotted the pink house that had been a landmark as we came out of Worthing. The bus stopped at Worthing Pier then continued its journey inland slightly through West Worthing and Goring-on-Sea. We crossed our route again at East Preston Church then meandered through Rustington. This was new territory for us until we passed the footbridge over the River Arun at Littlehampton. We had walked the next section through open country while the bus used the A259 about a mile inland. The next landmark was Butlins at Bognor Regis, then into Bognor itself. The bus then headed inland completely by-passing the Selsey peninsula and the Witterings as well as Pagham Harbour. The run through Chichester, however, was very familiar as so many of our walks have begun and ended there and the road out of Chichester was also recognizable. We spotted Bosham Church and the beginning and end of the Chidham Peninsula walk, so close together. We saw the pub where we almost gave up and the place where we crossed the road to and from Nutbourne Station. Soon we arrived at Emsworth Square and spotted the café where we had lunch and soon after that we passed the turning to Langstone. We then picked up the A27 dual carriageway across the northern end of Portsmouth, which was quite exciting on the top of a double-decker bus! From the vantage point of the flyover we saw the entrance to Farlington Marshes and the bridge over the river channel that makes Portsea an island. From there we drove down the western side of Portsmouth to The Hard then on to Clarence Pier where the route ended, nearly four hours after we left Brighton and seven years after we had left on foot.
We then walked back to the Gunwharf Quays where we decided to find something to eat. We had a lovely meal at The Old Custom House and visited the Cadbury Outlet Shop before heading home from Portsmouth Harbour. We arrived back at Ash at 9.15. The weather was very warm and we were in short sleeves by lunch time and I did not put my jumper back on at all.
Start Hove Leisure Centre 11.15am
Finish Palace Pier Brighton 12.30 pm
Total steps 5097
Total mileage 2.54 miles
Running Total 131.6 miles