Walk completed August 16, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014 -- Day 26, Bramber to Kingston near Lewes, 17.5 miles

Today was to be a long day, so I had an early breakfast at 7:00 am, and was walking by 8:00. I’ve grown accustomed to the long uphill each morning as the escarpment of the downs must be regained. This morning started with blue skies over the valley of the River Adur, but as I climbed ever higher onto the escarpment cold winds from the north increased dramatically. The winds carried with them rain clouds that would reach me at noon.

River Adur in Bramber (tidal)

Footpath ascending the downs

In the morning, with the blue sky, the South Downs Way reminded me of the South West Coast Path – constant ups and downs in extremely high winds. When the rain arrived and the temperature dropped, the Way reminded me of the Pennines – without the bogs.

All in all it was a good day to sit by fire with a warm drink and read a book. But, of course, I didn’t have a fire or a book, so I plodded on – and for most of the day I was the only one plodding on. I did find the warm drink, however, at Devil’s Dyke. Devil’s Dyke is a formation formed during the last glacial period – perhaps yesterday, if today’s temperature was any indication. Geologists theorize that glacial melt pooled along the escarpment until it finally broke free and swept away water-logged chalk beneath it, while adjacent chalk was still frozen in place and held its position. Thus, the valley left behind appears more like a river “V” valley than a glacial “U” valley. I found the geologists explanation very interesting, but not as interesting as the hot chocolate I had at the Devil’s Dyke Hotel. Perhaps the geologists can explain why the Devil’s Dyke Hotel is not called the Devil’s Dyke Restaurant – since it serves meals but hasn’t any rooms.

Devil's Dyke

When I arrived at Devil’s Dyke, the “hotel’s” car park was full with hang gliding enthusiasts, eager to launch themselves into the fierce north wind. After my hot chocolate, the car park was nearly empty, the enthusiasts apparently deciding that hang gliding in the rain wasn’t nearly as much fun as walking in the rain
My camera was safely tucked away in a plastic bag most of the afternoon, but I took it out to document my arrival at Ditchling Beacon, a high point on the path, even though there was no view.
Marker at Ditchling Beacon
The camera came out again when I met Hugo and Georgina, from Winchester, who thought that the day would turn out better than forecast.

Hugo and Georgina

About an hour later, a 10-member group calling themselves the Portchester South Downers came along. They are walking the South Downs Way in four days for charity. (For comparison, I am doing it in 8 walking days.) At the time, my feet were tired and wet, and the day was fairly miserable, but they so brightened my spirits that I’m making a contribution to their charity, Rowan’s Hospice, on their behalf. You can too, by going to their website,   https://www.justgiving.com/matthewdbarnes/ 


Reminder: Click on any picture to enlarge

© 2014 Ken Klug


  1. Too bad about the ugly weather, but you got some elevation gain and new cause to support. Always nice to help out the Hospices.

  2. Q. What is the difference between a 17.5 mile and a 13 mile day?
    A. TWO HOURS - and that's not counting the effects of wind and rain.

    Well done, old chap.