We’ve been on the South Downs again.
That’s why you haven’t heard from me for a while. Here’re a few pictures.
We began walking from Amberley this time, and on the first day the weather was pretty meh. It was either raining or starting to rain or just deciding when to rain. But, as always, the Downs looked fantastic. This view reminded me of a Roland Hilder painting:
But it got steadily wetter throughout the day. We took a very welcome break in the Frankland Arms in Washington and if I was writing a pub review it would get five stars – especially as it served Harvey’s Old Ale. But I only allowed myself one of those, as we still had some serious mileage to do. And it was, as noted, getting wetter. We approached Chanctonbury Ring:
And as we began the descent from the top, the saddest part of the journey. We walked among a large number of ash trees, all of which were dead or dying from Ash Dieback disease. It looked like a picture of the Somme.
The next day was dull, but at least it was dry. We walked past the Devil’s Dyke which I never seem to be able to get a good picture of, no matter which angle I take it at. The Devil’s Dyke is so-called because for some reason the Devil wanted to destroy Sussex, and got talking to Saint Dunstan and asked him the best way to do it. Why he did that I can’t imagine. Never ask a saint for advice if you’re the Devil. It won’t end well. Anyway, Saint D suggested he dig a channel through the South Downs and flood it. Right, thought Old Nick, and set to work. Saint D let him toil away for a few hours and then caused all the cocks in Sussex to crow. Thinking it was morning, Old Nick threw down his shovel, twirled his moustaches and hissed ‘Curses, foiled again!’
Alternatively, it might have been caused by melt-water during the ice age, but why spoil a good legend?
And the best weather? During our rest day in Lewes. And, oh look! There’s the Harvey’s Brewery! What a good rest day.
The following day was dull again as we left Lewes, and by now quite a sharp wind was blowing – into our faces too, unfortunately. But we had a pretty decent day and passed this church in Southease, one of only two (I think) in England with a round tower outside of Norfolk. The other is in nearby Lewes.
The final day began sunny but again with a sharp and unkind wind. We left Alfriston with its church on the edge of the village by the river and headed towards the coast. On the South Downs away to our right we passed a white horse carved into the chalk.
Soon we were up onto the Downs again, for the final walk into Eastbourne over the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. I tend to forget how tiring this leg can be, going continually uphill then downhill for the best part of six miles. For some reason, although we could see the Belle Tout lighthouse in the distance, it never seemed to get any nearer. Once I could do this leg of the walk easily, but…getting a little older…
An always fantastic view, though. Here we’re looking back across the Seven Sisters towards Seaford Head.
After all that, we could do with a holiday.