Churches, Canals and Coffee
A linear walk of 12.5km (7.8 miles)
17th November 2017
Today’s walk will be going through historical smuggling coastal towns to a lost route to London with coffee on the way, i am joined by my son Matthew, my mate Paul and two dogs Cookie & Kiah.
From Barnham Station we followed Yapton Road under the railway bridge until the Murrell Arms; Originally a Georgian farmhouse and converted into a pub in 1866 by George Murrell who had inherited the property from his mother, he named the pub after their surname but unfortunately died in 1867, the pub was then sold on to the Anchor Brewery of Littlehampton. We decided that we best not stop here so early on in the trek as a pint would really have slowed us down and we wanted to get to Arundel before dark. We then headed south down Church Lane and probably about half way down passed an old property call Curacao, it is believed locally that this was an ale house at a much earlier time than the Murrell Arms. We continued to the end of this road where Barnham Court a grand residence stands, built between 1630 and 1650 of hard red Sussex brick. Next to this and on our right at the end of the road is St Mary’s Church. This place of worship has been here since before the 1086 doomsday survey. If you go into the church look out for the rare 15th century graffiti in the wall on the way to the vestry, written in latin it translates as “Pray for the soul of my father who died at Agincourt” it’s incredible that this inscription has been here for over 600 years and is considered rare because few people could read or write at that time. The immediate area around the church is where the original village of Barnham was situated, a tidal inlet came right into this village in the middle ages making it predominantly a fishing village, with smuggling also taking place here, apparently there is a secret underground passage leading to the church, however with the advent of the railway and the station meant that the modern village was developed further north.
From St Mary’s Church we took the cycle track opposite that links Barnham with Felpham and followed for a short way until coming across the remains of an old bridge that once crossed the Arundel to Portsmouth canal. This is part of ‘London’s Lost Route to the Sea’, a route that took barges inland from Portsmouth to London City thus avoiding the dangerous sea going route during the napoleonic war, unfortunately the demise of the canal was also to be blamed on the introduction of the railway (further details of this route can be seen in my ‘London’s Lost Route to the Sea’ walk and blog). At this point the remains can be seen of one of the many swing bridges that crossed the canal allowing farmers to cross to their fields
The old canal here is quite distinct, albeit empty and we walked eastwards on the raised bank which i assume is the old tow path. On this section to the north of the canal can be seen John Baker’s Windmill, named after the miller in 1882. There has been a mill on this site since c.1760s and the current tower mill replaced its predessor that was destroyed in a storm in 1827. This mill has been in operation grinding corn from 1829 to 1863 and has had several millers working there.
Trekking past the mill the canal is easily followed and at Drove Lane we continued over the road and along the edge of a field, the canal at this point has disappeared. We took the twitten and dropped down by the edge of an old bridge that once crossed the canal, be extremely careful here as when i was walking down, my foot lost its grip and i started to slip, i thought that i would be able to steady myself, but no, i slipped all the way down the steps, falling on Cookie as i went, who gave out a yelp. I picked myself up at the bottom, brushed myself of and thankfully everything was still intact, however everyone else was more concerned with Cookie than me, i know my place! We were now in The Pines (a residential street that is built on the line of the canal) and we followed until Canal Road, we turned left then immediatly right into the Main Road. This was to be the tricky bit as i had left the map in the car and was going to have to put my memory to use in remembering the route that we took the previous year. Opposite the shops we crossed diagonally through car park and into Downview Way. At the end of Downview Way we crossed over the road and took the twitten between houses. At the end of this path was more remnants of an old canal bridge, after passing under we headed across the field and walked alongside trees that you can see are growing in the recess of the old canal. At the end of this small visible section we headed north and followed the path around the edges of the tree lined fields until reaching Ford Lane.
The footpath emerged into Ford Lane and directly opposite we stopped at Edgcumbes Roastery, a coffee supplier since 1981 that buys beans in from all over the world and roasts them on site in a roaster called ‘Big Bertha’ which can be seen through the window of the cafe. The cafe barista was Nancy and i have never met a barista so enthusiastic and passionate about coffee, that also really knows her stuff. We did some ‘cupping’ on three single origin coffees. Nancy was so helpful talking us through the cupping process and how to taste the coffee properly even down to slurping each spoonful properly to get all the flavours. We tried Ethiopian, Kenyan and Columbian coffee and was well guided by Nancy on the flavours of each one, she also ran through the various brewing techniques and grind size too. Nancy also mentioned that she aspires to becoming a coffee roaster too in the future. Before we left we had a cup of the Sussex barn blend cappuccino style and bought some Kenyan Coffee for the recipes below.
After taking a break and perking ourselves up with coffee we left the roastery, turned Left into Ford Lane and followed for a short while (be careful on this road as it can be busy at rush hour), we left the road at Flintstones and took the concrete farm track opposite, then took the path going diagonally across the field to Station Road, this path again follows the route of the canal, but unfortunately no evidence of it here remains here until you get to the River Arun. The other side of the road we could see the track leading to St Andrews Church-by-the-Ford. This saxon church has been here since c.1040 and was rebuilt by the Normans in the 12th century. The white bell tower was painted in brilliant white to help the ships on the river with navigation. The church is also noted for it’s fine paintings inside, ‘The Doom’ as it is called is a large painting in the chancel arch of the nave that was discovered in 1899 and is said to be dated c.1512.
We Passed by the church on the footpath to the left and headed for the River Arun. At this point the canal would have met the river and the only evidence left is the concrete from two lock gates that were in place to allow barges to pass through at high tide and keep water in the canal at low tide.
From here we headed northwards along the River Arun, under the railway bridge towards Arundel. On our approach to the town the light was fading but we could still make out ‘South Marsh Mill’ on the other side of the river. This tower mill similar to John Baker mill was built in 1830 and was used to grind corn up until 1922, the windshaft broke in 1915 in a storm so was operated by engine for the last few years. although the mill is protected by grade 2 listing there is no evidence left of the wharf that it had on the river from when it was operational.
As the sun had set and darkness was upon us we entered Arundel via Tarrant Street, so named after the previously being called the river Tarrant before it was named the Arun. We turned right into Arun Road then left onto River Road, along here we passed the old Eagle Brewery just before reaching the river in the town centre, unfortunately the Arundel Brewery shop was closed when we got there but perhaps i can return to pick up some Chilgrove Vodka for the ‘Espresso Martini’ and probably some ales too. At the main bridge across the river in Arundel we headed out of town on Queens Street to the station and after a short wait we caught the train back to Barnham.
Peanut Butter Tiramisu
- 250g Tub of Marscapone Cheese
- 568ml pot Double Cream
- 75ml Amaretto
- 5 tbsp golden caster Sugar
- 2 tbsp Smooth Peanut Butter
- 200g Pack Sponge Fingers
- Dark Chocolate
- 500ml Strong Kenyan coffee
- 1 Tbsp Brandy
- Put the cream, mascarpone, sugar and peanut butter in a large bowl and whisk until thick, stir in the amaretto.
- Dip sponge fingers in coffee/brandy mix and arrange in serving dish, then spread over the cream mix, grate some chocolate over and repeat with another layer of sponge and cream mixture until all used up, finishing with a cream mix on top. Dust with cocoa powder.
- Cover and chill for a couple of hours then serve.
For the sugar syrup
- 100g golden caster sugar
For the cocktail
- 100ml Chilgrove Vodka
- 50ml freshly brewed espresso coffee
- 50ml coffee liqueur (i used Kahlua)
- 4 coffee beans (optional)
- Start by making the sugar syrup. Put the caster sugar in a small pan over a medium heat and pour in 50ml water. Stir, and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Put 2 martini glasses in the fridge to chill.
- Once the sugar syrup is cold, pour 1 tbsp into a cocktail shaker along with a handful of ice, the vodka, espresso and coffee liqueur. Shake until the outside of the cocktail shaker feels icy cold then strain into the chilled glasses. Garnish each one with coffee beans if you like.