After being banged up & restricted for so long, 14 and a half miles might seem a bit of a challenge but on such a perfect day and in such a beautiful place it could also seem not long enough. Just for a change, the train to Lewes ran on time with no problems along the way, which is unusual at the moment and an auspicious start.
We walked through a very nice, quiet part of Lewes & up one of those lovely old chalk paths onto the Downs. The sea is easily visible from up there and the wonderful spread of the South Downs with natural terracing near the bottom. After a good chunk on the South Downs Way, we went down into the valley for a swift half at the Abergavenny Arms in Rodmell. One of our number peeled off to get a bus back to Lewes and the rest of us walked a little further to have lunch by the ancient church at Southease – mentioned in the Domesday Book.
The most challenging climb came after lunch – it always does – but we all made it to the top in whatever way suited our temperament, build or quantity of sandwiches eaten. It’s always worth the effort, however hard, and the rewards when you’re up there absolutely justify the slog – a 360 degree view of sea and downland with nothing to spoil the beauty. What more could one ask?
Well, possibly the best (?) tea shop in Sussex but that was no problem as we were booked in there and made it down from the top in good time. The Little Cottage Tea Room in Glynde is, as it says, little but with a beautiful garden where we rewarded ourselves with the best (?) cakes & cream teas that many of us had enjoyed in a long time. I think this may win the Best Tea Shop in Sussex award but possibly some further research would be required – any offers?
The last hill seemed relatively easy after that but perhaps the sugar rush was a part of it or maybe just the feeling of having had a really beautiful day and being well exercised. The late afternoon light on the hills made the world seem a very lovely place with sheep having a last graze in the valley and we made it back to Lewes in time for a pint or a train, or meal, according to desire or inclination.
Harriet. Photos by Ida