Walk Reports December 2019 - 2020

 

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Falmer to Lewes – Tuesday 4 February 2020

The sun shone and the wind blew on the seven walkers who set off from Falmer train station to walk to Lewes across the top of the Downs.  We began by skirting the impressive and oppressive walls of the Amex stadium before finding our way to Falmer village where the path beside the road to Woodingdean is an easy ascent onto the Downs.  Half way up we were able to escape the noise from the road by heading east along a bridleway with broad views back towards Lewes.  A short climb took us up to Juggs Road which was our route to Lewes, arriving in town by the Swan Inn in Southover.  The skylarks were to be heard twittering away above us.  Why they were not blown away in the gale force wind must be down to the powerful effect of evolution.  Only the fittest survive.  Hilda and Graham led this bracing outing.

 

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Falmer to Plumpton – Tuesday 26 January 2020

Apart from the unplanned encounter with some horses and a lot of very squelchy mud, the walk on Sunday went more or less as planned.   Thirteen walkers set of from Falmer and climbed steadily up Ridge Road onto The Downs north of the village.  The wide-ranging views to the coast were limited by the general haze and low clouds which foretold the rain that had been forecast for the afternoon.  Continuing on we joined the South Downs Way where three of the group elected to walk directly back to Lewes, a marginally shorter walk than the planned route. 

 

The rest of us continued on to the Half Moon Inn by way of a narrow and somewhat precipitous path down to the road.  At East Chiltington Church it became apparent that we were a little pressed for time if we were going to catch the train at Plumpton Station so the leader decided to take a previously un-walked path directly to the station.  This was a mistake because half way along the path goes straight through a series of horse paddocks each with a ladder style across dividing fences, or gates where the horses had churned up the ground into a lovely gloopy unavoidable mess.  The short cut had turned into a bit of a nightmare.  Previously pristine boots were now covered in mud. 

 

The final quarter of a mile along the road was covered in record time and we arrived with minutes to spare.  A not entirely welcome memorable end to an otherwise very pleasant walk.  Graham was the responsible leader.  And the rain that had been forecast for the afternoon arrived on time.

 

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Downs behind Peacehaven – Sunday 12 January 2020

Prior reconnaissance revealed that the rain-generated mud round Fletching would have rendered the planned walk too unpleasant to contemplate, so the walk was relocated to Peacehaven.  Twenty-three of us began the walk at the always impressive Meridian Monument on top of the cliffs overlooking a very grey and stormy sea.  The fierce gale-force west wind blew us along as we headed east but we soon turned inland and found our way through The Big Park, past the mostly hidden sewage works before a gentle climb through the outskirts of Peacehaven to the footpath that runs to Telscombe where a smattering of mud was encountered. 

 

The mandatory coffee break was taken amongst the gravestones by the church and this fortified the group for the climb out of the village onto Telscombe Tye where the full force of the wind reasserted itself.  This last part of the walk follows the route of the Greenwich Meridian Trail, finishing as it does back at the monument to King George V.  Graham and Hilda were the leaders of an enjoyable and cobweb- clearing outing.

 

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Winter Solstice Sunrise Stroll – Saturday 21 December 2019

The purpose of the Winter Solstice Sunrise Stroll was to watch the sun rise on the shortest day of the year.  Pedants pointed out the shortest day was actually on the Sunday but getting up so early on a Sunday just seemed to be too uncivilised so at a quarter past seven, whilst it was still quite dark, five of us convened on Cliffe Bridge.  The overnight rain had come to an end and the clouds were breaking up, so, with high hopes of seeing the sun, we set off up Chapel Hill.  On the way to the top we were passed by several cars on their way to the golf club.  Surely the bar was not open that early in the day?  Through the car park and onto the footpath towards Caburn.  The clouds were closing in and one large black example rained all over us.  A faint redness in the east and generally lightening skies convinced us that the sun was up and that we could return to town and find somewhere to eat breakfast.  Above us two silhouettes were playing golf.  That is dedication for you.  At Bill’s we were asked if we had booked, which surprised us as the place was only a quarter full, if that.  By the time we had finished our food the place was full of breakfasters. Just another aspect of Lewesian life that we discovered that day.  Not only do the locals eat out for breakfast, they book in advance.  How decadent is that?  Hilda and Graham admit responsibility for the outing.

 

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On Cliffe Bridge – the sky gets lighter.

 

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On the Downs – See the sun?

 

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Blackboys – Sunday 15 December 2019

Braving a weather forecast promising heavy showers, eight walkers set out from Blackboys along a muddy track through Kiln Wood. Turning into Hollow Lane, we followed the road for about half a mile before turning off onto the Vanguard Way along a very squelchy track, which brought us out to the road again. A trudge across a muddy field and a rather slippery scramble brought us to Oak Tree Farm and back to the road, where we stopped briefly for coffee and a snack. Crossing the busy B2192 we joined the Wealdway traversing another broad field, where the rain caught up with us, slanting in on a bitter wind. The shower passed quickly and the sun was shining by the time we walked through New Place Farm, encountering runners being cheered home after a cross-country competition. After a steady uphill climb we reached the main road back to Blackboys. The walk was led by Anne.

 

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Clayton – Sunday 1 December 2019

Eight stalwart members, undaunted by the advance warnings of the prospect of a mud bath, set off from the Clayton Mills car park on a cold but clear day. After record-breaking Autumn rainfall, it was a relief to find the long-range weather forecast for a dry day was correct and we even enjoyed some sunny spells. We set off in a southerly direction on a short stretch of the South Downs Way before diverting off onto another path that took us to Lower Standean Farm. We passed through North Bottom, where we had a short refreshment stop making use of some trees whose bent trunks made a convenient seating area, before climbing back up towards Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve. Here we re-joined the South Downs Way to head westward back to the car park with the winter sun highlighting the dips and folds of the downland panorama spread out before us.

 

The anticipated mud was less severe than expected, having dried out a little in the preceding week, and one of our number even boasted his boots were cleaner at the end of the walk than when we started (draw your own conclusions about how clean he usually keeps his boots!).

The walk was led by Wendy.

 

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