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Saturday, 20 January 2018

Saturday walk - Hassocks to Lewes - a South Downs classic

Hassocks to Lewes (Book 1, walk 29)
Length: 18km (11.2 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10: one big climb to start, another if you go to the pub for lunch: otherwise gently undulating or downhill

9.20 train from Victoria (9.26 Clapham Junction, 9.36 East Croydon) to Hassocks, arriving 10.07. (A lovely quick train - this is basically the Brighton Fast with a Hassocks stop)

Buy a day return to Lewes (this is valid via Brighton and so therefore must be valid via Hassocks, right?...)

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

I am taking a gamble on the weather in picking this walk at this time of year. If there are gale force winds and driving rain it has not a shred of shelter and will be mainly attractive for those practising for their Scottish holiday in May..... Low clouds would also hide the magnificent views that make it worthwhile. (In fairness, both of these things are true in June too.) But if there is reasonably fine weather there is little better than a bracing stride along the South Downs Ridge, with all England spreading away to the north. Blow away the winter cobwebs, focus your mind onto summer walks to come, look down on fields and villages and feel detached from the humdrum cares of the world...

The chalk downs are also relatively mud-free in winter - the word to stress being "relatively". Hopefully no gloopy morasses and with (almost?) no stiles either, the miles should fly by. The one thing to watch out for are paths descending off the downs, particularly when going down to Plumpton: thin mud on chalk can be slippy. Take care.

It is a VERY long time since I went to the Half Moon in Plumpton, the recommended lunch stop, but it seems to still be there. Sandwichers can miss out this ascent and descent. In Lewes as well as the tea places mentioned at the top of the high street you may also find others at the bottom in the pedestrianised bit by the river...

Trains back are at 16 and 54 past today. This is not quite the normal service and journey times are 5-10 minutes longer than usual (so 1hr 10 mins or so), but nothing tragic. T=1.29

6 comments:

tartanrug said...

The Half Moon pub won’t take reservation for lunch. Walk-ins only.

tartanrug said...

Will take a taxi from the lunch time pub back to Hassocks, if anyone wants to bail out early. P

Lisa said...

Where will we meet at the beginning of the walk? This is only my 2nd walk -- thank you!

Walker said...

The group should be obvious when you get off the train at Hassocks.

Anonymous said...

There should be quite a few walkers in the group tomorrow, Lisa.

Anonymous said...

n = 7

Light rain; mist

Seven on this: six regulars (including one late starter) and one occasional - genial company all. Opening and closing curtains of atmospheric mist on the stilly South Downs. Keen on a pub lunch and snack-free (unlike my companions - thank you to them for offers to share), I parted from the other five who were on the scheduled train, at the point where you can divert to The Half-Moon. I was then caught by the speedy Late Starter and we enjoyed a very friendly reception and fine fare at the pub: excellent pork sausage and battered fish dishes, promptly served, but not too promptly. Late Starter then sped on toward Lewes and I walked to Plumpton Station. I hope the other five enjoyed the rest of the walk.