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This Week's Walks - Archive

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, 25 June 2016

Saturday First Walk - a South Downs classic

Book 2 Walk 25 - Lewes via West Fire
Length: 16.8km (10.4 miles) with lots of opportunities to extend: see end of post
Toughness: 7 out of 10 (mainly due to two big hill climbs: 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 Southease, unless you have definitely decided on one of the extensions: see below

For walk directions click here.

It is not without some trepidation that I pick a Lewes walk, given the covert industrial action on Southern that is leading to some train cancellations at present. But trains to Lewes are half hourly, so if the 9.47 gets cancelled, hopefully the 10.17 will run. A fast train to Brighton and a connection there to Lewes may also work. Plus last week the Berwick to Eastbourne walkers had no train problems..... 

We have so many walks from Lewes these days that this classic outing gets overlooked. It is a simple yet beautiful walk, up over the downland massif of Mount Caburn to Glynde, across the valley to West Firle, and then along another beautiful downland ridge to Southease. Both Glynde and West Firle have mouthwateringly nice pubs (under the same management these days), so it is more a question of which one you are outside when your stomach starts rumbling (or which one has room, though both seem to cope with large numbers)

The 10.4 mile version of this walk would end at Southease, from where trains return to Lewes at 36 past to 19.36, and then at 20.39 (last train). Change at Lewes for trains to London (unless your connection has been cancelled, in which case it might be better to stay on the train to Brighton and change there: your ticket will be valid).

The YHA cafe is a possible tea stop at Southease but it closes at 4pm. After that time you may be able to get hot drinks from the YHA reception. Or you could break your journey (allowed on the return leg) at Lewes and search for refreshments there.

Extensions to the walk:

- The "main walk" goes along the River Ouse from Southease to Lewes, a distance of 4 miles. This is idyllic or monotonous depending on your frame of mind, but on a sunny evening could be rather nice. Trains back from Lewes are at 16 and 54 past the hour until 19.54, then 20.54, 21.54 and 22.40

- Or you can carry on from Southease to Saltdean, a seaside suburb of Brighton where a (probably somewhat chilly) sea swim might be possible. To do this you need to have the directions for Book 2, walk 24. This also adds 4 miles or so to the walk. You get a bus from Saltdean to Brighton station. A day return to Lewes is valid for return from Brighton.

- Lastly there is a Lewes to Berwick option on the website - see here, that goes along the base of the downs from West Firle passing Charleston Farmhouse, where the Bloomsbury Group lived and which you can visit, and Berwick church that the group decorated (free). This is only a mile or so longer than the main walk. ie 11 miles. You travel back from Berwick (trains at 17 past the hour), changing at Lewes or Brighton, and will need a day return to Berwick (Sussex).


Unknown said...

Not sure what the mud factor is on this walk but huge thunderstorms down this way last night so some 'goo' might be expected in parts.

Ian T said...

As the “Berwick One” who only met the others for about 20 minutes in a popular hostelry, I am probably the least qualified to comment. But seeing as no-one else has, here goes.
They tell me 15 got off the train at Lewes plus 1 free spirit starting at Glynde (that’s me) so n=16
Weather was w=changeable-cloudy-some-sun-ominous-rumbles-from-the-sky-on-occasion-but-no-rain-to-speak-of
Not boggy underfoot on the Berwick section. The Ram was friendly and seemed to please. Seem more organised than in the old days.
I can’t tell you how many finished at Southease cos I wasn’t there.
Meanwhile, the Berwick One got followed by a herd of baby bulls. (Turn round and they stop, continue walking they start again. We’ve all played that game). Thankfully, they gave up after a couple of fields. Alciston church was open – a first for me- but (sorry) not all that interesting inside. A quick "half" in the Cricketers then took the longer finish to Berwick. Got there just as the rain started.