Canoe Days Out

Sussex - River Arun - Greatham Bridge to Pallingham Quay (& return)

This page was submitted by David and Rhoda Wilson (E-mail this submitter)
How to get there - Greatham Bridge is on a turning east off the A29 in Coldwaltham, south of Pulborough. Convenient layby east of bridge.

Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)

Suggested Launch Site - Public footpath along river bank

General Description - A meandering section up to Pulborough, after which the river turns sharply to cut through the Greensand Ridge at Stopham. There are then hills on either side, and eventually the river narrows and becomes overgrown until it reaches the disused Pallingham Quay, where there was a lock on to the former Wey and Arun Canal.

The Arun is a strongly tidal river and you will enjoy it much more if you can use the flow to go up and the ebb to come back (or vice versa!). Tide timings are approximate, as away from the coast spring tides arrive earlier than neaps, run more strongly and reach further up. At extreme neaps, there may be no tide at all above Pulborough, and spring tides are necessary to reach Pallingham comfortably. The amount of fresh water flow may also suppress the tide.

To illustrate the problem of describing tides in rivers accurately; we have started downstream from Pallingham WITH the freshwater flow; met the tide coming upstream AGAINST us at Stopham; and arrived at Pulborough to find the tide ebbing and ourselves going WITH the current again, all in the space of an hour and a half!

Our recommendation for this section is to start at Greatham about two hours after high tide at Shoreham (on a different river, but the nearest reference port), go up to Pallingham, and take a break at the White Hart at Stopham on the way back (nice garden; land under the new road bridge and find the footpath which cuts down by the old bridge). Round trip, about 14 miles, but it should only feel like half of that if you get the tide right!

For a shorter trip, about half the distance, start at Pulborough. Parking just south of the old bridge (turn off the new section of A29 100 yd south of river), public slipway on north bank next to tea rooms. In this case, catch the tide about three hours or a little more after high tide at Shoreham.

The tidal section of the Arun is a public waterway - no licence needed.

Comments on this trip

Phil and Verna
30 Jun 2015
Did this yesterday, north from Pulborough. Easy put in, very quiet easy paddle, ideal for us newbees. Tea shop was open as well.

01 Nov 2014
As part of a long distance kayak run I am planning next year, I would appreciate any local knowledge of the Arun from Pallingham to Littlehampton. How long would it take roughly (depends on tides I guess but assume a mean speed) and would you say it was a safe waterway south of Arundel Thanks.

Brian Silk
18 Aug 2011
Only my second trip on my kayak (first was on the sea). This was a short trip to get used to stuff for me and my son. Launched at the cafe/antique shop in Pulborough and took an easy run up to Stopham Bridge and back. This was a really nice trip, very peaceful. Took us about one and a half hours, very leisurely paddling. Narrow in parts and had to 'get off' and move a log, but no problems. Easy launch, if a bit slippery, and landing. Car park south of the bridge.

Phil n Fuzz
25 May 2009
Lovely trip. Very enjoyable. Worth taking the fork before Pulborough for an alternative (narrow) paddle.


Pulborough Brooks (RSPB)
Tide Tables

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The last trip loaded was Great Haywood to Great Haywood (Circular Route) on the River Trent / Trent & Mersey Canal by Peter Robinson