Sunday, 19 September 2010

South Downs Way (Falmer to Hassocks) - 16/09/2010

The sign at Housedean Farm where I left off last time

The aim today (after a couple of meetings in Lewes) was to complete another section of the South Downs Way. I've already done Southease to Eastbourne (from Telscombe Youth Hostel) and Housedean Farm (where the Way crosses the A27) to Southease. I parked up by the Jack and Jill windmills between Pyecombe and Hassocks and ran down the well marked footpath to Hassocks station. I took the train to Brighton and then on to Falmer, and ran past the university along the A27 to Housedean Farm, where I filled my bottle from the handy drinking water tap.

From here, the Way climbs steeply up over Long Hill and drops down through Bunkershill Plantation to a dry valley.

Freshly ploughed field in dry valley by Bunkershill Plantation

The path climbs steadily from the dry valley shown above for a couple of miles, to reach the north escarpment of the Downs at some tumuli. I managed to run all of this (gently - it was supposed to be a recovery / long slow run). Turning left, I followed along the Way with great views to the north over the Weald.

View across the Weald

Following the escarpment for three gently undulating miles brought me to the Ditchling Road and then on to the summit of Ditchling Beacon.

Summit of Ditchling Beacon looking north across the Weald

Another two miles along the escarpment lead to a gradual descent to Jack and Jill, two windmill which dominate the down above Ditchling and Hassocks.

Windmill above Hassocks (this is Jill, I think?)

The whole outing's running was around 10.5 miles and 1,200' of ascent (including the jog down from Jack and Jill to Hassocks at the start) and took about 2 hours 5 minutes at a nice gentle pace with a few stops for pics and gear faffs.

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