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Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Lewes via West Firle - a South Downs classic (with lots of afternoon options)

Book 2, walk 25 - Lewes via West Firle
and/or
SWC walk 181 - Lewes to Seaford via West Firle

Length: Options from 16.8km (10.4 miles) to 23.6km (14.7 miles)
Toughness: 7 out of 10: two big hill climbs (fairly flat otherwise)

9.47 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction, 10.03 East Croydon) to Lewes, arriving 10.47.

Buy a day return to Lewes, unless you have definitely decided to return from Southease, Berwick or Seaford (see below) in which case get a day return to those places.

"Why haven't we had any South Downs walks this summer?" I was asked recently. The answers include: a) we have had a few, b) Southern drivers work to rule, c) charity events using the South Downs Way, d) the voracious enthusiasm of Meet-Up groups for doing South Downs walks.

This week c) and d) don't seem to apply. My answer to b) is that trains to Lewes are half hourly. If the specified train is cancelled, get the one half an hour later. (Venceremos!!)

So, the walk today is Lewes via West Firle and there now two incarnations of this. Book 2, walk 25 (directions) and SWC walk 181 (directions). Their routes to West Firle and up onto the downs are almost identical, except that SWC 181 has, in my opinion, a better and less strenuous route over the Mount Caburn massif. So I recommend you use that one as far as lunch.

Lunch is at the Ram Inn in West Firle, the Trevor Arms in Glynde being closed currently (and possibly permanently). The Ram is popular but does food all afternoon, so it might be an idea to get there after the lunchtime rush. There is a tea room in Glynde which might provide an early light lunch alternative.

After West Firle you have lots of choices (You know you love'em!)

*# 1) Switch to the Lewes to Berwick option for walk 25 (directions), which takes you along the bottom of the downs, passing Charleston, summer retreat of the Bloomsbury set (Virginia Woolf and chums), which is open to the public. This is a 17.5km/11 mile walk. Trains back from Berwick are at 17 past.

*# 2) Follow walk 25 to Southease, have tea in the YHA tea room (closes 4pm). Get train home (36 past to 19.36, then 20.39). This is the 16.8km/10.4 mile option.

The other options are all 23km/14.5 miles:

*# 3) Do 2) above and then do the river ending of walk 25 back to Lewes: flat, tranquil, perhaps a bit samey after a while. Trains back from Lewes are at 16 and 54 past

*# 4) Do 2) and then the Northease Ending to Lewes. For this you will also need these directions.

*# 5) Do 2) and then the extension to Saltdean, a suburb of Brighton, where you can swim in the sea (but see tide info in comment section). For this you need the second half of these directions. You return by train from Brighton: many trains an hour: your return to Lewes is valid.

*# 6) Finish walk 181, which goes over the heart of the downs (the book 2 Southease to Seaford route, essentially) to Seaford, where you can also have a swim. Trains back from Seaford are at 27 and 58, usually changing at Lewes, sometimes changing at Brighton. T=2.25









3 comments:

Walker said...

If you are thinking of doing one of the sea swimming options for this walk, note that it will be LOW TIDE when you get to Saltdean (5.17pm), which means you can't swim at Saltdean (rocks): but there is a beach at Rottingdean, about 1 mile to the west along the seafront promenade, which is swimmable even at low tide. Or you can get the bus into Brighton and swim there.

Seaford is swimmable at any state of the tide

Anonymous said...

At Lewes we saw a fair few set off walking whilst N=6 of us chose the Glynde to Berwick option which is still 15.5K according to the sat nav, so not to be sniffed at.
Glynde was easily reached after extra coffee and pastries at Lewes whilst we waited 15 minutes for the connecting train
Upon walking out of Glynde ( The Trevor Arms is well shut ) we wandered along to The Ram in West Firle where we had a very pleasant lunch and watched as a fast male walker with two female companions whizzed by with ner a nod to us early lunchers.
All in all it was a very gentle day on the lowlands and the
conversation in lowered voices with a smattering of laughter every so often made it all very relaxed. I don’t think that Trump or MPs or Brexit were mentioned even once.
The afternoon walk was punctured / punctuated by w=occasional_showers ( we felt a little sad ( only a little ) for those walking over the top ) during which time we headed in for tea and cake or tea and dessert at firstly the Charleston cafe and secondly at The Cricketeers. Both of them delightful in their own ways - the home made plum cake and the lemon and poppy seed cake at the first one come cafe
highly recommended. That reminds me, there was a little foraging for wild plums which were delish but the blackberries have a way to go - say another three or four weeks yet.
The day finished with us catching the 17.17 out of Berwick with a change at Lewes which gave another opportunity for cake and further refreshment
Ho hum
One our group suggested that we all go on a 5/2 diet and make Saturday one of the 2 days - this was met with hoots of derision.
We did our best to support the local economy by making the most of each and every shopping opportunity - chicken eggs, duck
eggs, plants, jams, marmalade and almost some 8 day old chicks - the amount of support we dished out made us feel very virtuous.
The only real hiccup of the day was the lightning strike at East Croydon that took out the train signals resulting in a somewhat delayed arrival at Victoria but no matter - Marks and Sparks was still open so we could buy some evening meal supplies.
I Replete

Thomas G said...

As told on today's Shoreham walk.... all in, about n=15 walkers, no leadership and people dispursing in various directions quickly. Some frustration with the plethora of route options, complicating following the text in the dire conditions.