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The last weekend in September often vouchsafes wonderful walking weather, but this Ramble was tremendous: sun, big skies, and breath-taking views over Sussex and towards the sea. Two feeder groups successfully conjoined  at East Croydon; the curiously triangular station at Lewes was reached on time. Then a small select group of Ramblers embarked on the nice trek through the well-preserved outskirts of the town, including an elegantly kept municipal park.

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Southover Grange Gardens provided the only opportunity for the now traditional (but brief) deviation from the planned walk, this time by only 20 yards/metres or so. Eleven Ramblers, with a nice smattering of new faces and some notable absentees, on other business and much missed.

We were soon out of Lewes and climbed through woodland, through a gate and suddenly the Downs were upon us: magnificent!

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Past a local landmark on Kingston Hill. Ashcombe Mill was rebuilt 11 years ago, almost 100 years after it was destroyed in a gale in 1916.  It now generates electricity for the grid.

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And then vast vistas opened up as we walked, eastwards back to Lewes and over towards Glynde and the sea:

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We hauled up to the top of Iford Hill

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where a kind fellow traveller made the traditional group photograph (for once utterly  unPhotoshopped):

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Said cameraperson was subsequently seen photographing a prominent cowpat;  was this (we wondered) more interesting, alluring or beauteous than his picture of the Ramblers?

Onward along the end of a great bowl in the hills where paragliders were taking off to explore hidden gulfs of air, excitingly:

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Then downhill all the way eventually arriving at the quiet little village of Rodmell, and a very decent pub: good food, excellent non chilled Harvey’s of Lewes bitter, quick and obliging service.

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(It was a different Abergavenny Arms in Frant that rescued us from starvation on our Wealden outing one year previously.  Influential family, these Abergavennies.) Terrific chips in Rodmell, almost perfect you might say..

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..and a chance for several Ramblers to put their feet up in the sun:

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After lunch, a parting of the ways.16.jpg

A return to Lewes, or a slightly shorter route to Southease station along the River Ouse where Virginaia Woolf, a local resident whose house some of us passed, tragically took her life in 1941. There were other sights too, on the way home:

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The train arrived promptly, the connections back to London worked well, and we were all home about 6pm. A wonderful day’s walking, in memorable country. The next Ramble will take place on Saturday 5th January 2019. Look out for details; here’s a teazer:20.jpg

Words by Peter; pictures by Annie, Stephen and Peter

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