It is just over a fortnight since I completed the South Downs Way; the week walking on the chalk downs gave me a real taste for the area. Up until then my experience of walking on the Downs had been limited, but it is now one of my favourite locations to explore.
So today after dropping my son at Gatwick Airport I decide not to return straight home but instead stop off to explore the Devil’s Dyke area. I head up Devil’s Dyke Road parking at the second car park on the right just before the turning to the Golf Club.
Starting my walk I join the footpath running behind the car park and head uphill to reach a crossing of paths where I take the footpath sign to cross a field. Entering another field I turn right to follow the undulating path around its edge whilst enjoying the views.
On reaching a minor road, Saddlescombe Road, I turn right and walk a short distance to turn left to follow the driveway of Waterhall Golf Club towards the clubhouse. In front of me in the distance is Waterhall Mill, built in 1885 and apparently the last mill built in Sussex, it continued to operate until 1924. Reportedly it was used by the Home Guard as a look out post in World War II and converted into a private dwelling in 1963.
I pass the Waterhall Golf Club practice area, this is a municipal golf course owned by Brighton & Hove Council and opened in 1923.
After passing the Clubhouse I continue along the driveway to a gate and keep left on the path heading down between bushes to reach playing fields.
There is not much sport being played today; the area is populated with dog walkers and a flying astronaut. I have never been good at kite flying, but this is like flying a giant balloon and looks relatively easy. My view is reinforced when I see that the chap is sat in a chair whilst he flies it!
Continuing along the tarmac lane, Waterhall Road, I pass the playing fields and go straight on ignoring a turning to the right which goes under the A27. I take a footpath on the left heading uphill across the downs to reach a gate to a track. I follow this track up Sweet Hill.
There is a trig point besides the track and even though I have the grid reference it takes a lot of searching to locate it. Eventually I spot it well hidden in the hedge and bag my 117thtrig.
I follow the broad track which is muddy in parts after the recent heavy rain.
In the distance to my right are the Jack and Jill Windmills at Clayton. I visited them a few weeks ago whilst walking the South Downs Way.
I am following the route of the Sussex Border Path but veer off this to the right at a junction of paths to continue steadily uphill to a fork in the path, I take the left option heading along a track to reach West Hill. Here I turn left towards Saddlescombe. The views are stunning.
When I walked this path in the opposite direction a few weeks ago it was threatening rain. Today it is warm and sunny and I have good views of Devil’s Dyke in front of me. I am now on the South Downs Way (SDW) national trail.
I pass the farm at Saddlescombe and reach a minor road.
Crossing the road I follow the SDW markers uphill above Devil’s Dyke.
At the minor road I cross and then take a slight diversion from the SDW path to visit the Devil’s Dyke trig point. I bagged this a few weeks ago, but it is well worth another visit.
I follow the embankment eastwards for a few hundred yards enjoying the view in front of me.
At a footpath I turn left and head the short distance back to the South Downs Way. After going through a gate I leave the SDW by a path that heads diagonally across Fulking Hill, I am on the Sussex Border Path again. Going though a gate I follow the clear path besides fields.
In front of me is a view of Brighton; this is a town I have not visited for years. Perhaps Lynnie and I should visit again to see what it is like these days.
Keeping on the well-defined path I head south ignoring a footpath on the right and eventually reach the trig point at Mount Zion, which becomes my 118th, it has easy access and fine views.
The path continues down a stony track and just before it reaches the A27 I turn left down the driveway towards a farm whose buildings and fields are devoted to horses. This route is the Monarch’s Way and I soon pass a field with a bull who appears to be daring me to enter his territory. He could easily be thinking the lines of Clint Eastwood’s ‘Dirt Harry’ character “Go ahead make my day!”
The path heads towards Brighton & Hove Golf Club, this lays claim to being one of the oldest courses in Sussex. It was founded in 1887 but claims a history prior to that as a couple of chaps played the area for a few years before.
I follow the path past the golf course and then pick up the driveway to reach the Devil’s Dyke Road. Here the sign for the course indicates all are welcome. How things have changed. Back in 1892 the Club opened a ladies course at Devil’s Dyke because the men did not want the “fairer sex” stepping on their course. According to the Club’s website it was not until 1909 that ladies were allowed on the course and then they were barred on Saturdays and competition days.
I cross the road and turn right to walk the short distance back to my car. It has been a stunning afternoon ambling on the South Downs; I have covered ten miles and now must drive home to Wiltshire.
To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map – OL11 Brighton & Hove
10th October 2018
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2018)