Poet's Corner in Horsham Park, across from Horsham Railway Station and bus stop.
Walking level: Easy
Distance: 3.72 miles / 6km
Refreshments: Cafe in Horsham Park. Warnham Nature Reserve has a cafe and car parking areas.
Toilets: Public toilets in town by the Sundial, Forum, the cafe in the park and at Warnham Nature Reserve cafe.
Self guided cycling trail around 6km . Please note that the trail is one way only, the safest route back to Horsham Park is in reverse. Arun Cottage and Field Place (Shelley's birthplace just outside of Warnham) are private residences.
This trail is a guided bike ride on 8th July (the day Shelley drown in 1822), 4th August (the day he was born in 1792) and 7th September (The day he was baptised at St Margaret's Church, Warnham also in 1792). On these dates the current owner of Arun House welcomes participants into the private garden. On all other days the trail can be enjoyed as a self-guided routed.
The Horsham section of the trail is easy, off road, mostly along the Riverside Walk and family friendly. Please note that the Riverside Walk sections are on some fairly narrow width shared user path sections and cyclists must give priority to pedestrians. There are controlled road crossings over Worthing Road and a hazardous crossing over Warnham Road requiring due care.
This literary self-guided cycling trail around Horsham features places associated with Shelley and offers an insight into his thoughts and works. You can sample his poetry and discover some of the places that influenced Shelley as a boy.
Key sites include:
- Poet's Corner, Horsham Park
- Former Kings Head Hotel (now Ask Italian)
- Heritage Sundial, Forum
- The Causeway
- St Mary's Church
- Arun Cottage
- River Arun
- Warnham Pond
Videos to complement the marked stops
- Trail point 1: Poets’ Corner: Ode to the West Wind
- Trail point 1: Mick Jagger reading from Adonais in 1969, days after Brian Jones’s sudden death.
- Trail point 2: Former Kings Head Hotel, once a busy coaching inn. The story of coaching inns
- Trail point 3: The Heritage Sundial. ‘To a cat in Distress’ shows the young Shelley’s awareness of suffering and poverty. ‘The Masque of Anarchy’is a later poem written in response to news about the ‘Peterloo massacre’. This video gives the background and a poetry reading. This poem urges people to engage in peaceful protest
and was one of the sources of inspiration for Mahatma Gandhi’s and Dr. Martin Luther King’s
- Trail point 7: Riverside stop. The Cloud (poem inspired by the water cycle set to music). This poem is one of
the results of Shelley’s alleged hours of observation of nature, and his fascination with water in all
- Trail point 8: Warnham Local Nature Reserve. This is where Shelley learnt to sail a boat. Not only did he love sailing
in real boats, he also remained fascinated by the process of folding paper boats, setting them adrift
and watching them be transported by water and wind. If you bought some Horsham gingerbread at the museum, why not pop into the cafe at the reserve and take time to find out about the story of gingerbread and who is making it now? Find out more about Horsham Gingerbread
Shelley's first letter
This is the text of Shelley’s first letter written just before his 11th birthday to his aunt Kate:
Monday July 18 1803
We have proposed a day at the pond next Wednesday, and if you will come tomorrow morning I would be much obliged
to you, and if you could anyhow bring Tom over to stay all the night, I would thank you. We are to have a cold dinner
over at the pond and come home to eat a bit of roast chicken and peas about nine o’clock. Mama depends upon you
bringing Tom over tomorrow, and if you don’t we shall be very much disappointed. Tell the bearer not to forget to bring
me a fairing, which is some ginger-bread, sweetmeat, hunting-nuts and a pocket book. Now I end.
I am not
Your obedient servant
P. B. Shelley