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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, 9 March 2019

Saturday walk - Hassocks to Upper Beeding - a classic South Downs walk

Length: 16.3km (10.1 miles) or 18.6km (11.5 miles)  (Walkers have also been known to extend this walk along the River Adur to Shoreham, adding about four miles)
Toughness: 7 out of 10: three big climbs in the morning: largely flat or downhill

Catch the 9.25 train from Victoria, (9.32 Clapham Junction, 9.41 East Croydon), arriving Hassocks at 10.20

A group of Metropolitan Walkers will be on the same train, and will also be on the platform at Hassocks on arrival, so don't join the wrong group... They will be going another route from us, however.

Buy a day return to Shoreham-by-Sea unless you definitely plan to get the 100 bus at the end - see below - in which case a day return to Hassocks would be sufficient. You could get the 9.20 Thameslink train from St Pancras or 9.35 London Bridge on the outward journey, arriving Hassocks at 10.33, and then walk quickly to catch the group up. If you do this and and return from Burgess Hill on a Thameslink train, cheaper Thameslink-only tickets may be available.

For walk directions click here, for GPX click here, and for the walk home page click here. T=2.23

This is a classic South Downs walk, with wonderful escarpment views almost the entire day. There are three big ascents but these are all in the morning: in the afternoon the terrain is only gently undulating or downhill.

The only lunch pub is the large, busy, but efficient Devil's Dyke pub. It can be very busy on fine Saturdays but we usually manage to squeeze in. An alternative, 1.1 miles earlier, is the Wildflour Cafe, a farmyard pop-up that does nice vegetarian food but has open air seating.

Towards the end of the route you have a choice between the standard ending and the slightly longer valley ending (the 11.5 mile version of the walk), which has a dramatic descent down the escarpment with eye-popping views, and then crosses water meadows. Given the dry winter we have had I am guessing the latter will not be waterlogged, but if they are you will be able to see that from near the start of the option.

Some walkers have in the past extended the walk from Upper Beeding along the River Adur to Shoreham-by-Sea, which I calculate by rule of thumb (literally!) adds about four miles.

Otherwise from Upper Beeding you have to get one of two buses at the end of the walk:

- The number 100 goes to Burgess Hill at 18 past the hour to 17.18, then at 18.22 (last bus). It takes 42 minutes and gives you a fine view of the escarpment you have just walked across. Burgess Hill railway station is the penultimate stop. If you get this bus, your train ticket need only be a day return to Hassocks. The bus connects fairly comfortably with a 08 past the hour Thameslink train from. Burgess Hill to London Bridge (55 minutes) and St Pancras or a 15 past train to Victoria (50 minutes).

- The number 2 bus goes to Shoreham-by-Sea at 15.47, 16.49, 17.43, 18.44, 19.36, 20.36, 21.36 and takes 21 minutes to Shoreham railway station (with earlier stops in Shoreham's town centre, where there are some nice cafes in the pedestrianised area near the church). Trains from Shoreham to Victoria go at 12 and 43 past the hour and take 1 hour 17 minutes.

1 comment:

Walker said...

W=Windy would be a succinct description of the weather. It was mainly sunny in the morning, cloudy after lunch, but the westerly gale was in our face most of the day, the exception being in the dips between hills in the morning, when it sometimes felt quite warm. Otherwise it was at times like Scott of the Antarctic, straining into the wind. Conversation was sometimes difficult.

This apart, it was a grand day to be on the Downs, with clear views. In valleys and on some of the slopes there was a lot of gloopy mud (especially where a farmer had unwisely let a herd of bullocks churn up a whole hillside), but on the tops the ground was reasonably dry. Lots of larks were singing, but you needed sensitive ears to hear them above the sound of the wind.

N=21 got off the Victoria train at Hassocks. If any got the later-arriving Thameslink service I would be interested to hear their report. I would to know too what happened to most of the group, in fact, since we got split up. Many, I know, stopped for lunch at the Wildflour cafe, but six or seven of us pushed on to the Devils Dyke pub, which had plenty of free tables. Five of us then improvised a route to Shoreham at the end of the walk, staying on the road on top of the ridge, then passing through the Mill Hill Reserve and ending up on the river. At least four followed the river all the way from Upper Beeding.

In Shoreham the line of cafes in the pedestrian street by the church were all busy closing when we arrived at 4.45. Credit, then, to the bakery on the corner (whose name I forgot to note), which stayed open until 5.30pm and had interesting and tasty cakes and tea in big cups. Some talked of walking after this down to the beach, but six of us got the 5.43 train instead. Lacking a Stargazer, no one could be persuaded to go to the pub.