1066 Harold’s Way, The Final Journey
18th July 2015
It started warm and continued warm on the day that we climbed Cliffe Hill above Lewes.
Back up to proper numbers it was a lovely sunny day with a faint breeze in the air as we left Chiddingly through the churchyard towards Whitesmith and Vert Wood, sounds altogether posher than just plain Green Wood, and its long straight path through the trees. Hannah and Louise, fresh from their adventures in Vietnam, set a blistering pace holding the walk instructions but we declined to follow and meandered along in our own time.
This first section along the levels towards Ringmer was a mixture of green lanes and bridleways, shaded from the sun and enjoyable to walk, just mind the tree roots and rabbit holes.
Across the airfield, low on the horizon, was Cliffe Hill, from this distance it never seems so high but taken in easy stages it would not take long to climb.
A picnic lunch first, to comply with one of the rules of walking that there is always a hill straight after lunch! But it was worth it to look back from below the Glyndebourne wind turbine over almost the whole of The Final Journey to the east, from Netherfield, Warbleton and Horam to the valley below, it was some sight even on this hazy day.
The final climb was up towards Cliffe Hill. It is an amazing place and one of my favourite views on Final Journey, the undulating hills that match the paintings and drawings of Eric Ravilious and synonymous with the South Downs. The clear skies sharpen the landscape of ridges and valleys as the breeze rustles the grass. There is always time to stop and stare.
Today, we walked across the golf course but this final section to Lewes will be re-routed, across the summit, to walk past the obelisk in commemoration of the Lewes martyrs before the final descent into town.
The Dorset Arms was a fitting end for the issue of passports and stickers and for the sale of Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House books – last year’s walk.