10th and 11th October 2015
Sumara is now ashore and work at Arthur Beale will soon be manic so this weekend was to be the last weekend break before Christmas. We choose the South Downs Way because it is within easy reach of London and seemed strange that we hadn’t walked any of it yet. My nephew Alex likes to cycle it and sung its praises too. Selma booked us into a comfy Bed and Breakfast in Eastbourne for Friday night and we set off along the prom at 9am on Saturday morning in glorious sunshine. The forecast was for a cold breeze but it was boiling hot!
The promenade was familiar territory, having entered the Eastbourne Half Marathon a while back, so I knew what was in store at the end of the prom! Yes, a big long climb up onto the top of the Downs. There is a little café just before the hill so we topped up with water and set off. The ground is fantastic soft short grass just like Tennyson Downs on the Isle of Wight. It would be a lovely run or a great walk for someone recovering from knee trouble. Once at the top the breeze was a bit cooler but not as strong as the mocked up photo shows.
We took the north route rather than walking near to Beachy Head. It took us through Jevington where Banoffi Pie was invented.
After ten miles we arrived at Alfriston for lunch. It is a very attractive town but inevitably that attracts the tourists and the gift shops which have taken over the high street. There is an amazing book shop worth visiting.
After sandwiches we set of across rolling downland towards our evening stay at the Youth Hostel based on Itford Farm in Southease. We were impressed with the ingenuity of the padlock bar guarding the multi use aerials.
The hostel was an efficient modern place which was clean and friendly although close to a busy road from Newhaven.
In the evening we ate a superb meal at the Cock Inn near to Lewes. I had Banoffi Pie for pudding but I’m not sure that I liked It.
The first days walk was about 17 miles.
After breakfast we walked through Southease City Centre are were thrilled to spot a church with a round tower. I might join the Church with Round Tower Society one day.
We followed the South Downs for a few miles then diverted south towards Saltdean via a convenient running route with wardens and water stops. Watching the runners was interesting, the first runners looked a bit miserable but they got happier and happier as you moved back through the fleet until the last stragglers who were miserable again. We were only about four miles into the twenty mile run and I am pretty sure some of them wouldn’t make it. We walked along the seafront into Brighton Marina for lunch and then through about 10,000 motorbikes to the station for our train home.
The second days walk was only about 11 miles.
We will finish the South Downs Way another day!