List of walks in date order, with links
Date Walk Distance
11 September 2010 A walk from Pulborough to Amberley, following sections of four long distance paths 20.5 km (12.8 miles)
22 August 2010 A walk from Bexhill to Battle, after seeing Antony Gormley’s ‘Critical Mass’ 13.8 km (8.6 miles)
01 August 2010 A walk to see the Long Man of Wilmington, after seeing Eric Ravilious's painting 15.3 km (9.6 miles)
05 June 2010 A walk from Ford to Amberley Station, by way of Burpham 19.3 km (12.1 miles)
28 March 2010 A walk from Hassocks to Bramber by way of Devil's Dyke 16.7 km (10.4 miles)
19 December 2009 A circular walk from Hassocks, to visit Ditchling Beacon 11.5 km (7.2 miles)

I'll use this page of the log to record those odd walks that are not part of a particular project.

19 December 2009: A circular walk from Hassocks, to visit Ditchling Beacon

11.5 km (7.2 miles)

Lodge Lane
Lodge Lane, approaching the Downs

On Saturday I’d arrange to go for a short(ish) pre-Christmas walk with Haydn and Pat. First Capital Connect was having one of their frequent bad days, so I arrived in Hassocks rather late. It had snowed heavily, and the roads were not good, so we decided to walk up to the Downs above Hassocks and along to Ditching Beacon. With more time, we would probably have gone on to Lewes. Viv had been due to sing in a concert, but it had been cancelled due to the bad weather, so she was able to join us for the walk.

Top of Downs
Top of the Downs, looking towards Ditchling Beacon

The weather was superb – still, cold, crisp and clear, with beautiful power snow underfoot, drifting up to a foot deep. Perfect walking conditions.

Top of Downs
Top of the Downs, looking towards Brighton

We followed Lodge Lane out of Hassocks. We then took a path off to the right, just after Lodge Farm, which skirts the edge of Hassocks Reservoir (with bullocks in the field, to Viv’s consternation). The path crosses Underhill Lane (which runs along the base of the Downs) and climbs steeply up a spur between Whitelands and Coombe Bottom, to reach the top of the Downs at a local high spot (234 m). We then headed east, following the South Downs Way to Ditchling Beacon.

Near Ditchling Beacon
Near Ditchling Beacon, looking west

I stopped to touch the trig point and take a photograph (though Haydn grumbled that I’d already got plenty of photographs of the trig point), and Pat and Viv made snow angels (to make a snow angel, fall backwards into deep snow, then sweep arms though an arc). In the car park we had some tea (from Pat) and KitKats (from Viv), then set off down the track towards Ditchling village that starts parallel to the road over the Beacon, and gradually diverges from it.

Ditchling Beacon
Ditchling Beacon, trig point

When the track reached Underhill Lane we turned west, and then north along Beacon Road to reach the village. (With hindsight, we should probably have followed the route of the Sussex Border Path into Ditchling.) In the village we stopped at the Ditchling Tea Rooms (formerly Dolly's Pantry) for a late lunch (excellent sweet potato and chorizo sausage soup).

Snow angel
Snow angel

From Ditchling we followed the lane to Oldland windmill (now restored) and then back to Hassocks. The sun went down below the Downs as we reached the mill, and the last part of the walk was very cold.

View of Downs
View of Downs from lane to Oldland Mill
Oldland Mill
Oldland Mill

Common Gorse


28 March 2010: A walk from Hassocks to Bramber by way of Devil's Dyke

16.7 km (10.4 miles)

Wolstonbury Hill
View of Wolstonbury Hill, over the Warenne

Haydn and Pat had just got back from a long cruise, so they were clearly in need of a proper walk. I therefore proposed a walk over the Downs, and Viv agreed to join us. I suggested walking from Hassocks to Bramber by way of Devil's Dyke, as the views are some of the best in Sussex and I wanted to try a new path around the back of Wolstonbury Hill. Also, having walked the Wey Navigation the previous weekend, I wanted something a bit hillier. The forecast wasn’t great, but it was better than for the Saturday.

Bridleway, Wolstonbury Hill
Bridleway to Pyecombe over west side of Wolstonbury Hill

I met the others at Hassocks Station. We then followed the footpath alongside the railway to Butchers Wood, crossing the railway before reaching Clayton to pass by Clayton Wood Natural Burial Ground, where you can be buried under a tree.

Refreshments, Saddlescombe

We crossed the A 273 and worked our way round to the west side of Wolstonbury Hill. The hill has a reputation for orchids, and I’m proposing to return to look for them later in the year. On the west side of the hill, just above a chalk pit, is a six-way crossing of paths and bridleways. Unfortunately I wasn’t paying sufficient attention to the map, so we ended up walking some way up the southern flank of Wolstonbury Hill, rather than dropping down to the crossing over the A 23 at Pyecombe. However, we turned back before too long (passing a group of scouts with large rucksacks returning from an overnight trek across the Downs) and found the right turning onto the bridleway. The bridleway turned out to be foul – the surface churned into six inches of sticky mud by the frequent horse traffic. It was without doubt the worst path I’ve walked this winter (it still felt like winter).

View to Poynings
View to Poynings from lower slopes of Devil's Dyke

Once over the A 23 we crossed West Hill, with fine views over Newtimber Hill and up Devil's Dyke. From West Hill we dropped down into Saddlescombe to join the South Downs Way. Saddlescombe is a large farm complex with cottages, barns and a big old farmhouse. In one of the yards someone had set up a caravan selling teas and cakes. We therefore made an unplanned stop to have a cream tea.

Newtimber Hill
View back to Newtimber Hill

From Saddlescombe we just followed the South Downs Way. Along the way we found several notices giving warning of the closure of Southease Bridge from 26 April to October/November 2010 (though from my experience of other bridge closures, I’d not bet on it reopening on time). However, a temporary footbridge is promised for walkers and dismounted cyclists.

View from above Fulking
View from above Fulking towards Devil's Dyke and Newtimber Hill

We didn’t stop at Devil's Dyke – the pub on the top is not very attractive. It serves the motoring and family market, and is not for walkers. Nor, exceptionally, did I divert to touch the trig point (having visited it often enough in the past). However, we stopped for sandwiches overlooking Fulking, in the shelter of some thorn scrub.

Truleigh Hill
Odd structure on Truleigh Hill

After lunch, the wind got up and it was noticeably colder than earlier in the day. However, it stayed dry. We continued to follow the South Downs Way, crossing Truleigh Hill, with its collection of radio masts. Near the summit there is an odd brick structure capped off with concrete, looking like an old ventilation shaft. We couldn’t make out what it was (perhaps an old mast base?).

Lancing College Chapel
View towards Lancing College Chapel from Beeding Hill

At Beeding Hill (which has good views over Lancing College Chapel) we left the South Downs Way and followed the Monarch’s Way down into Upper Beeding and then Bramber, crossing the River Adur. The bridleway into Upper Beeding always looks rather litter-strewn for some reason. There is a small rookery in Upper Beeding where the bridleway joins the A 2037.

Our timing was nearly perfect, as we had only 10 minutes to wait for the No 2A bus to Shoreham-by-Sea (an hourly service on Sundays), where we took the train home. Had we needed to wait for the bus, there was a choice of pubs – I tend to use the Castle Hotel, simply because it’s opposite the bus stop in Bramber.

A good walk, with excellent views, and we were lucky with the weather.

Upper Beeding
Upper Beeding village sign

Lesser Celandine


05 June 2010: A walk from Ford to Amberley Station, by way of Burpham

19.3 km (12.1 miles)

Approaching Arundel
Approaching Arundel

I’d agreed to go walking with Haydn and Pat, and we had been thinking of walking some of the Solent Way from Gosport towards Southampton. However, we were put off by the time we would need to spend travelling to and from the walk. I therefore suggested that we walked from Ford to Amberley, following the route I had walked with Ian and others on one of our pub walks (20 February 2010, though on that occasion I had started from Arundel). It’s a route I really like, and Haydn and Pat hadn’t walked the Arun Valley. As I’ve already described the route, I won't describe it again here.

Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle

We took the train to Ford, and found an ‘unofficial’ path leading to the bank of the Arun, just to the south of the level crossing next to the station. It seems to be a regular route for fishermen. We met two of them on the way, who said there were no fish, but plenty of eels (interesting that fish and eels are different categories).

Burpham church
Burpham church

The day was extremely hot, the hottest this year. We therefore stopped for tea and water in Arundel. This made us a little later than planned, and we began to worry that the kitchen would be closed when we reached the George and Dragon at Burpham, where I’d planned we would have lunch. Fortunately they were still serving at 14:30, and we had an excellent lunch (some Greek meze, and salmon sandwiches). I drank shandy as it was hot.

Lambs, Peppering Farm

We thought it had cooled down a bit when we set off to complete the walk to Amberley, but this proved to be a illusion, and the weather remained hotter than was quite comfortable for walking. At least it was dry underfoot around Downs Farm, where the paths are usually muddy and churned up. Pat said she hadn’t seen any orchids yet this year, so I was pleased we spotted a few (rather small) common spotted orchids along the way.

At Amberley we just missed the train home – we saw it pull out of the station as we got to the entrance. We therefore went to the Bridge Inn to wait for the next train, which allowed me to have my usual pint of Harveys.

View towards Downs Farm

White Bryony


01 August 2010: A walk to see the Long Man of Wilmington, after seeing Eric Ravilious's painting

15.3 km (9.6 miles)

Dew pond
Sheep drinking from dew pond, East Hale Bottom

The Towner gallery in Eastbourne currently has an exhibition called ‘Familiar Visions - Eric and James Ravilious: Father and Son. I like Eric Ravilious’s work, and particularly his watercolours of the South Downs, so I was keen to see the exhibition (I’d last seen his work at a big exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in 2003/04). I therefore persuaded Viv to come with me to the exhibition and then do a walk to see the Long Man of Wilmington, the subject of one of Ravilious’s best paintings.

Belle Tout
Belle Tout from Long Down

We took the train to Eastbourne and walked to the gallery. The exhibition was an ideal size, so that we could give each work due attention. We then had tea and scones on the balcony of the cafe, with a view of the downs.

A very helpful member of staff ordered us a taxi to take us to the top of the downs, to give us a good start to the walk. The taxi dropped us at the car park on Warren Hill, on the road to Beachy Head. This is close to the start of my Alternative South Downs Way, which we were to follow as far as Snap Hill in Friston Forest.

Birling Gap
Birling Gap

At East Dean we stopped at the Tiger Inn and bought a drink (Harvey’s in my case, lime and soda for Viv) and then found a bench on the village green in the shade where we sat and ate our sandwiches. The green was packed with families picnicking and drinking in a very jolly holiday atmosphere.

Approaching Birling Farm
Approaching Birling Farm

Next to our bench was a cottage with a plaque claiming it to be the retirement home of Sherlock Holmes. Not entirely convincingly, as Watson reports (in the preface to His Last Bow) Holmes retired to ‘a small farm upon the Downs, five miles from Eastbourne’.

Tiger Inn
Tiger Inn, East Dean

From East Dean we resumed following the Alternative South Downs Way to Snap Hill. There was a good selection of butterflies along the way through Friston Forest, including Red Admirals, Peacocks and Gatekeepers.

Peacock butterfly
Peacock butterfly, Friston Forest

From Snap Hill we followed the bridleway that skirts the western edge of Lullington Heath National Nature Reserve (‘one of the largest areas of chalk heath in Britain’) and Winchester’s Pond. The bridleway leaves the reserve to head northwest around the edge of Deep Dean and Tenantry Ground, a deep valley.

Firle Beacon
View towards Firle Beacon from near Lullington Heath

At the head of the valley, our route met the South Downs Way. We then continued northwest across the open down to reach the fence and permissive path that run over the summit of Wilmington Hill. The summit is marked by a trig point, but the highest point is a nearby tumulus. There are superb views in all directions from the summit - perhaps the best view from anywhere on the downs east of Lewes.

View over the weald
View over the weald, descending Wilmington Hill

From the summit we walked down the permissive bridleway along the spur of Wilmington Hill to the Holt, a patch of woodland. From there we picked up the Weald Way, which runs underneath the Long Man itself, and then turns down a track to reach the village of Wilmington. Eric Ravilious’s painting must have been based on a sketch made somewhere along this track.

Long Man of Wilmington
View towards the Long Man of Wilmington

On Sundays a Cuckmere Community Bus provides a ramblers service that runs from Wilmington to Berwick Station, stopping conveniently outside the village pub, the Giant’s Rest. We had plenty of time for a shandy in the pub before the bus took us to the station for the train home - first stopping in Lewes for dinner.

Despite the forecast the weather was excellent all day. A vey cultural walk.

The Wilmington Giant
The Wilmington Giant - Eric Ravilious, 1939

Hemp Agrimony


22 August 2010: A walk from Bexhill to Battle, after seeing Antony Gormley’s ‘Critical Mass’

13.8 km (8.6 miles)

Critical Mass
Antony Gormley, ‘Critical Mass’

Following our walk to see the Long Man of Wilmington, after seeing Eric Ravilious's painting at the Towner Gallery on 01 August 2010, Viv mentioned she would like to see Antony Gormley’s ‘Critical Mass’, currently showing on the rooftop of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. I thought this was an opportunity for another cultural walk.

Critical Mass
Antony Gormley, ‘Critical Mass’ (detail)

Critical Mass is made up of five casts from 12 discrete moulds of Gormley’s body, developing from a low crouching position to squatting, sitting, kneeling and standing. The exhibition notes on the De La Warr Pavilion’s website said ‘The first impression is of some kind of trauma, perhaps an act of violence perpetrated towards the masses such as terrorism or genocide’. A battlefield therefore seemed an appropriate destination for a walk after seeing the exhibition, and the 1066 Bexhill Walk, from Bexhill to Battle (the actual site of the battle of Hastings) naturally suggested itself. It’s also a very fine walk, and was the right length.

De La Warr Pavilion
De La Warr Pavilion

We took the train to Bexhill and walked down to the Pavilion (worth seeing in its own right as a recognised modernist masterpiece, though Viv felt that the 2005 restoration has lost something of the original feel of the interiors). Critical Mass was impressive, and the outdoors setting with the sea in the background suited it well.

We stopped for tea and coffee on the balcony of the Pavilion, and then set off for our walk, only to find that it had started to drizzle. We decided to risk not putting on waterproof, hoping the drizzle wouldn’t turn to rain.

Just beyond the railway station, walking to the start of 1066 Bexhill Walk in old Bexhill, I noticed a blue plaque on a block of flats, marking the site of the house where John Logie Baird, inventor of the world's first working television system, lived for the last few year of his life, dying in 1946. The house was demolished in 2007.

Before we got to the start of the 1066 Bexhill Walk it started to rain more heavily, so we stopped to put on waterproofs. The Walk starts, inevitably and regrettably, in a car park in old Bexhill.

Blue plaque
Blue plaque marking the site of John Logie Baird's house

I’ve described the 1066 Bexhill Walk in the 1066 Country Walk section of my log (see 01 August 2009), so I won’t repeat the description here.

Combe Haven was still intact, and still beautiful despite the rain. As far as I can tell though, it remains under threat from a proposed Bexhill-Hastings Link Road. I really cannot see how anyone could support building this road having seen the valley.

By Crowhurst we were fairly wet so decided to stop off in the Plough Inn. It turned out to be a very pleasant pub. I had a pint of Harveys, and Viv had half a pint of tea.

Fortunately, by the time we had finished our drinks the rain had stopped. We walked up to the church to see the ancient yew tree, and ate our sandwiches in the church porch.

I noted last time I had walked the 1066 Bexill Walk that I’d seen no birds in the Fore Wood RSPB Nature Reserve, and there wasn’t much more evidence of them on this occasion.

When we reached Battle we spent a little time looking around, then had a quick half a pint in the Chequers Inn (my preferred pub in Battle, as it’s fairly near the station and sells Harveys). We had decided to have fish and chips for supper, and I’d considered going to Hastings for this, but in the end we decided to take the train back to Bexhill and look for somewhere to eat there.

We settled on Louis’ Fish Restaurant, just down from the station in Bexhill, at 32 Sea Road. It was a proper fish and chip shop with parlour. Excellent fish and chips, with a very reasonable bottle of Chablis - recommended.

And then we got the train home. An excellent day out, if rather wet at times.

De La Warr Pavilion
Spiral staircase, De La Warr Pavilion

Marsh Woundwort


11 September 2010: A walk from Pulborough to Amberley, following sections of four long distance paths

20.5 km (12.8 miles)

View south towards Amberley Mount, just before joining Wey-South Path

I had thought of tackling Walbury Hill, one of the remaining off-territory Marilyns in Alan Dawson's Region 42 that I’ve yet to climb, but after a hard week at work I decided to look for a walk closer to home with easier access. At the last minute I put together a walk from Pulborough Station to Amberley Station, linking up sections of the Wey-South Path, the Serpent Trail, the West Sussex Literary Trail and the South Downs Way. Only the link from the West Sussex Literary Trail to South Downs Way was new to me, but the route went through varied countryside and finished with a pint in the Bridge Inn, one of my favourite pubs.

Stopham Bridge
Stopham Bridge

The forecast was for rain, and as it was spitting a bit when I got to Pulborough I put on my waterproof trousers in the comfort of the ticket office (it has a sofa). It actually didn’t start to rain properly until early afternoon.

From Pulborough Station I took the footpath north to cross the railway at Coombelands Lane, then a short path that meets the Way-South Path where it runs along a ridge above the River Arun. I particularly like this short stretch of the Way-South Path. It leads to Stopham Bridge, which crosses the Arun just above its confluence with the River Rother. Stopham Bridge (built 1423) has now been superseded by a new road bridge to take the A 283, but is still used by walkers and cyclists. The White Hart Inn stands at its east end, and is a good place for a pint (though I was there too early for it to be open).

Bog asphodel
Bog asphodel, Hesworth Common

Stopham itself has an old (eleventh century?) church, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin. When I called in to look at it, a small group of cyclist were there, taking part in a ride to raise funds for the Sussex Historic Churches Trust. I sponsored them for £1.50, the only change I had on me. The church has some interesting 17th century stained glass.

From Stopham I walked to Fittleworth Common and picked up the Serpent Trail, which I followed over Hesworth Common (the paths over this common are confusing, and I managed to miss the trig point). I like Hesworth Common. It has a small bog, where bog asphodel and round leaved sundew grow.

Cows near Lower Fittleworth

After Hesworth Common the Serpent Trail goes through Lower Fittleworth, where I stopped for a pint of Harveys in the Swan Inn. The inn sign is mounted on a very large wooden portal spanning the B 2138. It’s not a bad pub, an old coaching inn, with the emphasis on food.

I continued on the Serpent Trail to Sutton End, crossing Lord’s Piece, a bit of heathland currently being restored, and ‘an important place for a very rare species, the field cricket’ according to the Serpent Trail guide book. I stopped to have my sandwiches under a fir tree on the heath.

Fly agaric
Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria)

At Sutton End I picked up the West Sussex Literary Trail. In my log for the West Sussex Literary Trail, I noted that ‘Between Sutton End and Sutton the Trail passes through a number of beautiful fields of unimproved grassland, grazed by sheep with very young lambs, giving a peculiar sense of remoteness’. A second visit confirms this impression, though I think I was probably wrong to say the grassland was unimproved.

It started to rain fairly heavily when I got to Sutton, so I put on my waterproof jacket, and it continued wet for the remainder of the walk.

At Bignor I left the West Sussex Literary Trail and took the road up to the top of the downs, heading towards Bignor Hill. However, not far up the hill I left the road to follow the bridleway heading eastwards towards Westburton Hill, to join the South Downs Way.

Lord’s Piece
View over Lord’s Piece, towards the downs

The map shows a trig point on the ridge between Westburton Hill and Bury Hill. It’s off the right of way, but on a field boundary. I started to walk up the field boundary (now neglected) to see if the trig point was still there, but got intercepted by a farm worker on a quad bike, who reminded me I was (as I well knew) on private land. (TrigpointingUK records the trig point as TP1812 - Bury Hill and reports it as being in good condition.) The fields must have been something to see in summer, as they had been growing flax.

I continued on the South Downs Way to where it crosses the Arun on a large steel footbridge, and then followed the east bank of the Arun to Houghton Bridge. I stopped at the Bridge Inn for a (now traditional) pint of Harveys, and then got the train home from Amberley Station.

An interesting, varied walk, even if none of it was novel.

Westburton Hill
South Downs Way, Westburton Hill

Field Pansy