Across the South Downs to Jevington and Friston Forest

It is another cracking Spring day, another day for shorts and sun cream!  It is hard to believe the weather is so good at this time of year.  We intend to make the most of it by jamming about on the South Downs.  Black Robin Farm CL has a wide range of walks available directly from the site, so another day without having to move the car, always a bonus!

Before heading off Lynnie gets close to an orphan lamb that is making his daily trip up to the CL to check that all is well.  By now you will appreciate Lynnie has a thing about sheep, so the opportunity to get this close to a lamb is not to be passed up in a hurry.

Our walk starts by turning left out of Black Robin Farm CL and walking along the broad path before crossing the road to head to the trig point overlooking Eastbourne.

From here we head north along the South Downs Way soon crossing the A259 to carry on along the track as it passes through Eastbourne Downs Golf Club, we stop briefly at the trig point at the top of Willingdon Hill.

A number of paths converge on this hill, but we stay on the South Downs Way, soon descending Bourne Hill towards Jevington.  At a footpath sign on the right we leave the South Downs Way and walk diagonally across a field with a well-defined ancient field system on the hillside opposite.

Leaving the field we turn left and follow the path into Jevington, on reaching a road we turn right and then soon left to go up a lane towards St Andrew’s Church.

According the church’s website the west tower was constructed between 900 and 950 AD, making it a very old church.  Over the porch door is a cross in the shape of an anchor said to denote the local seafaring connections.  We take it in turns to wander inside, I am struck by the unusual sculpture on the wall, apparently Sir William Burrell discovered this under the tower floor in 1785.  It is believed to date from AD 950 and depicts Christ in his resurrection garments thrusting a cross shaped sword into the mouth of a beast.  Signifying good triumphing over evil.

I have not heard of William Burrell previously, apparently he did a number of interesting things including being elected M.P for Haslemere in 1768 and in 1774 he was appointed commissioner of excise.  His hobby appears to have been visiting places of historical interest in Sussex.  He visited nearly every parish within the county and had drawings made of many  houses, monuments and churches.  All his records were for personal use and were never published, but the collection was bequeathed to the British Museum.

Leaving the church we continue uphill and are soon back on the South Downs Way, which we follow for almost a mile.  At a junction of paths the South Downs Way turns right and we carry straight on along the track that soon arrives at the edge of Lullington Heath National Nature Reserve.  After going down a hill we leave the path we are on to take another into the nature reserve and follow this wide path as it wends it’s way through the valley bottom, a delightful spot on a sunny spring afternoon.

On leaving the nature reserve we enter Friston Forest, and follow paths leading to Friston, there is a network of tracks and paths so we consult the map frequently to ensure that we are on the right route.  This is an attractive forest of mixed woodland and the dappled sunshine through the beech trees is stunning.

Emerging from the woods we cross a field and descend towards Friston Place.  After a brief spell along a lane we turn right, this path leads  across walled fields above Friston Place and  after a brief spell of woodland emerges by the A259 close to the village pond.

We cross the road passing the pond to enter the churchyard of St Mary’s Church through an interesting centrally hinged gate.  This church dates from the 14th century and is said to contain a Tudor Bible written in 1550, unfortunately the door is locked.

The footpath continues through the churchyard  emerging into a field, we follow the path steeply downhill towards East Dean.  Passing the village green we contemplate stopping in the Tiger Inn for a sharpener, but we still have a few miles to cover before dusk.

We leave East Dean taking the road towards Birling Gap, which we then leave to follow the footpath skirting around Birling Farm before heading towards Cornish Farm.  This path has fine views of Belle Tout Lighthouse.

After passing the track to Cornish Farm we take a footpath on the left that goes along the top of Long Down, which we follow for just over a mile and a half.  On reaching a road we turn left to walk besides it the final quarter of a mile back to Black Robin Farm.

Our walk has covered just over eleven miles and it has been a cracking afternoon.  It became decidedly chilly as we walked the last mile or so and within twenty minutes of arriving at the caravan a sea mist descended reducing visibility to about fifty yards this imbued an earie feel to the evening.

9th April 2017

[To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Map OL25 – Eastbourne & Beachy Head.]

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2017)

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