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.
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!
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.
And then vast vistas opened up as we walked, eastwards back to Lewes and over towards Glynde and the sea:
We hauled up to the top of Iford Hill
where a kind fellow traveller made the traditional group photograph (for once utterly unPhotoshopped):
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:
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.
(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..
..and a chance for several Ramblers to put their feet up in the sun:
After lunch, a parting of the ways.
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:
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:
Words by Peter; pictures by Annie, Stephen and Peter