Hassocks to Lewes: Scenic South Downs Hike
Time & Location
About the event
This is a gem of a walk along the South Downs, we hike along a ridge of the South Downs chalk grassland with panoramic views inland and out to the sea by Brighton. This hilly walk leaves Hassocks and then heads quite steeply uphill to the Jack and Jill windmills of Clayton.
On the way up to the ridge, the route passes Butcher's Wood and also visits a church in Clayton. The friends of Jack and Jill windmill sometimes serve tea on weekends. If we have time we may make a short detour to the Chatri Memorial. A memorial to Indian soldiers who died of their injuries while at the Brighton Pavillion hospital during the two World Wars.
The walk then follows a flat stretch of the South Downs Way, where we'll get a good opportunity to enjoy panoramic views. On the South Downs Way we'll also pass medieval dew ponds and an Iron Age fort at Ditchling Beacon.
After lunch, down below in Plumpton, we'll climb back up onto the downs, before a final walk into the historic town of Lewes along the River Ouse, then up to the Norman castle and through its gateway into the ancient High Street.
Distance: Approx 12 miles (18 kms)
Ascent: About 460 metres Allow about 5-6 hours
Train: Buy a return London - Lewes - London Victoria ticket or London Bridge- Lewes - London Bridge Leaving from London Victoria at 09.46 am and from London Bridge at 09.35 am (please check times your self).
Historical facts about the region and Lewes
The Saxon Church of St John the Baptist in Clayton has eleventh or twelfth-century wall paintings and an entrance path whose rippled effect comes from stone quarried from the fossilised bed of a sea or a river. Ditchling Beacon, once an Iron Age fort, with traces of ramparts still visible, was a site for one of the beacons that gave warning of the Spanish Armada.
Anne of Cleeves House is a 15th-century timber-framed Wealden Hall. It formed part of Queen Anne's annulment settlement from King Henry VIII in 1541, although she never stayed in the House or visited it.
The castle was built by William de Warenne, who fought alongside William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. Its towers were added about the time of the Battle of Lewes. In this battle in 1264, the rebel earl, Simon de Montfort, with an army of Londoners and 5,000 barons, defeated Henry III, who had two horses killed under him and was forced to seek refuge in Lewes Priory. The Mise of Lewes was signed next day and led to England's first parliamentary meeting at Westminster in 1265. The church at Lewes Priory was larger than Chichester Cathedral but was demolished during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. Only ruins of the priory remain. The churchyard of St John Sub Castro ('Under the Castle') has an obelisk commissioned by Tsar Alexander II to commemorate the 28 prisoners of war who were captured during the Crimean War and who died in Lewes Gaol in the 1850s.
Please note that unless the trip is cancelled the payments are non-refundable as the costs need to be paid in advance. However you may be able to sell your place to your friends or other group members
- Full price£5.35£5.350£0