South Downs Way – Final Leg – Alfriston to Eastbourne

For the final stage of the 100-mile SDW, I took the Coastal Route from the downland village of Alfriston, through the Cuckmere valley, across the Seven Sisters Country park with its bright white cliffs, via Birling Gap, up to Beachy Head before leaving the downs, descending into Eastbourne and it’s seafront promenade. A thoroughly enjoyable last twelve miles – a classic!

Weekend Walk 38 – Hythe to Beaulieu – Solent Way

Continuing east-west along the Solent Way, from the ferry at Hythe to the Hampshire village of Beaulieu. This is an inland stage once leaving Southampton Water, entering into the New Forest through Fawley Inclosure, Beaulieu Heath, to Hilltop, then down into the village itself on the banks of the River Beaulieu where I was sort of attacked by a goose. Disappointingly, most of the walk is along roadsides, or very near the road. I’d really like to see an alternative route for the Solent Way to the East of Beaulieu.

Apologies for the dirty image. It’s not on the lens but inside the camera.


Weekend Walk 31 – Woodingdean to Alfriston (South Downs Way)

A 12 mile hike along the South Downs, from a suburb of Brighton to the village of Alfriston (mispronounced in the video). This section of the trail goes above Kingston, Lewes, Ilford, Rodmell, into Southease with its interesting c12 church. The path then leads across the Ouse Valley past Newhaven back to the downs above Firle and Seaford.

It was a very windy day and my camera’s wind reduction couldn’t cope.

One more stage of the South Downs Way left to walk, to Eastbourne along the river and coast. I hope to do this in the next couple of weeks before the days get too short.

110208 Alton to Selborne

Yoga when I woke up, then breakfast before driving to Selborne. From there I caught the bus to Alton so I could walk the first part of the Hangers Way back to Selborne. The path is 21 miles long and heads south and east from Alton to Queen Elizabeth Country Park south of Petersfield, so today’s walk was a third of the total. I expected the bus to be a mostly empty Tuesday morning rural bus, but no, it was full of teenagers headed to the college. That feeling of being watched as I looked for an empty seat, only one spare because the kids were sprawled over a couple of seats each. The first part of the walk was fairly boring, through the industrial part of town and over large fields. As it got hillier, it was more fun. It took about two and a half hours walking, with a couple of short breaks, sitting in the late winter sun. New growth pushing up in the woodland, the leaves of the bluebells. Keep it rural! Here’s the walk video I made:

Weekend Walk 24 – Alton to Selborne – Hangers Way from Duncan Toms on Vimeo.

This afternoon, resting, editing the video which takes an hour or so, plus export and upload time. Otherwise continuing looking at TVs and buying a Playstation 3. But this morning during yoga I saw through all this entertainment and constant occupation, to something simpler, purer, more in touch, real, whole. It’s a question of right action and what to do with my time on this earth, what to do with each day. At the end of it: ‘Oh, I saw some fine movies and played some games, rode some waves, made some good friends, loved and was loved, worked a lot.’ Well, maybe that’s what there is, but something else is touched upon when deep in a stretch or in relaxation. I can’t force it, but I can allow it to come. It’s not something more, but unrelated to all that I know.

Steps stepped: 14,706

Weekend Walk 20 – Pycombe to Woodingdean

Unlike the WNW-ESE direction of the previous South Downs Way walks, this one took a turn south half way through, roaming over the downs towards the ridge between Brighton and Lewes. The walk took in the Clayton Windmills, Ditchling Beacon, Black Cap hill, across the A27 and railway. I then cut west to get to Woodingdean where it was easy to get back to the car via Brighton.

Weekend Walk 17 – Amberley to Steyning (South Downs Way)

The ninth stage of my South Downs Way adventure, picking it up after a break over summer. Up to the downs from Amberley, the half way point, with amazing views to the north and south, to Chanctonbury Ring and the town of Steyning. The path really opened up during this stage as we move past Littlehampton and Worthing, towards Brighton.

Weekend Walk Video 15 – Cocking to Duncton

Duncton. The best village name ever. I’m not biased.

From the village of Cocking, onto Heyshott and Graffham Downs. Mainly through woods this time. Then down the West Sussex Literary Trail past Duncton Mill to the Cricketers Pub.

The drizzle started pretty much as soon as I got on the high ground and didn’t much let up. Got steadily soaked, especially when walking through the drenched rape crop.

All new territory, deeper into West Sussex.

Weekend Walk 10 – South Downs Way – Cheriton to West Meon

On Saturday I again walked some of the South Downs Way. I left the car at West Meon then took the bus to Cheriton for the starting point. It’s a couple of km from there back to the path, to the west. After crossing the A272, the path slowly rises back onto the downs at Millbarrow. I saw one of the burial mounds up there, near the Milbuty pub. Then it’s great views as I headed east, seeing Hinton Ampner House to the north and the Isle of Wight to the south. From Beacon Hill, there are great views to the north, east and south into the valley. The path then descends into the lush Meon valley to Exton. I then followed the Meon Valley Trail back to West Meon. All in all it took five hours, with 16 miles of the South Downs Way completed now. Here’s a video I made.