Sussex walk - Goring by Sea and Ilex Avenue
- Credit: Deirdre Huston
A winter walk in Goring where the Ilex Avenue hints at the grandeur of the past and light shimmers on the ocean
The exterior of St Mary's Church embodies the Gothic Revival style and dates from its restoration in 1837 by Decimus Barton, a project which was extravagantly funded by David Lyon. Inside, the arcades are probably the oldest part of the church, indicating its 12th century Norman origins.
In 1954, German artist Hans Feibusch painted a then controversial but striking mural of Christ in Glory over the chancel arch.
Of Jewish origin, Feibusch converted to the Anglican religion and he became known for his church murals, many of which are in the Diocese of Chichester.
David Lyons also decided to build a new manor house, Goring Hall, and Ilex Avenue was conceived as an impressive carriageway, which would stretch the mile from St. Mary's to Ferring. Still imposing today, it is lined with Holm oak (Quercus ilex), a native of the Mediterranean. The fact that many of the trees are still standing is a testament to the species' resistance to sea winds. In winter, the beach is a great place to walk and enjoy a burst of fresh air while avoiding mud. The short days turn the afternoons into a light show over the sea and it can be fun to watch clouds gather and alter shape. Wrap up warmly though as the wind can be fierce!
1. Start at the end of Goring Road, beside The Mulberry pub. Walk towards the large roundabout and continue straight on, passing an entrance to St Mary's Church: you may wish to explore this building further. Continue across the road and along the signed bridleway. This tree-lined path is one end of Ilex Avenue.
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2. Cross Ilex Way to wander along the central tree-lined path. Look out for the noticeboard.
3. Pass the gateposts to Goring Hall Hospital: this used to be the entrance to Goring Hall. Pass Fernhurst Recreation Ground. Glimpse the sea to your left just before a second noticeboard. Continue along this slightly more open section. Pass another noticeboard.
4. At the road, turn left along the tarmac pavement.
5. At the coast road, turn left. Either walk along the edge of the shingle or take the opportunity to walk alongside the sea then climb back up towards a clump of trees to join a stony track which borders the beach.
There are plenty of benches where you can sit to picnic or admire the view. The path continues through the scrubby trees: walk along the edge of the grassy area.
6. Turn left at the corner. Visit or pass Sea Lane Café. Cross Marine Crescent beside the roundabout and walk along Sea Lane.
Location: Goring by Sea
Distance: 2.8 miles - one hour to walk plus stops.
Terrain: no stiles. Flat. One section is muddy so walking boots are required but the rest is hard-surfaced or, if you explore the beach, shingle.
Where to park: Goring Parade, Goring Road Short Stay Car Park.
SAT NAV BN12 4PE
Dog-friendly: yes. On leads in some sections.
Facilities: public WC at Sea Lane Café.
Easy Access: steps up to Sea Lane Café entrance.
Where to refuel
Sea Lane Café, Marine Crescent, Worthing, BN12 4HR; Tel: 01903 247847; winter opening hours are 8am-4.30pm. Wonderful sea views which can be enjoyed with a hot drink and cake or a variety of lunch options. Outside area in summer. No dogs inside. www.sealanecafe.co.uk.
The Verandah Café Bar, 322, Goring Road, Goring by Sea, Worthing, BN12 4PE; 01903 709242. A friendly and cosy café where you can warm up after the walk.