South Downs Odyssey
Odýssey n. a long, wandering and eventful journey!

South Downs Way legs

Leg 15
Beeding to
Devil’s Dyke
5.25 miles

A misty Autumn morning which cleared as we headed east, although we were to find that the view remained hazy all day.  A call the day before to Steyning Taxis had assured us that they would be on the case if we phoned when we were ready to be picked up…….and much to our amazement they were!


Towards the Downs, from where we walked today

Despite the title of this leg, it should be read in reverse.  “Age brings Wisdom” so the saying goes and having checked the gradient profile we opted for the considerably easier way of walking east to west for this one.  The taxi picked us up from High Trees car park on the A283 and took us through Fulking, Poynings and round to Saddlescombe. The scenery was superb with possibly the best views yet of the Downs.  One pub we had to look out for was the one that Liz had mentioned many, many times, and just to make identification tricky, each time by a different name, so the guessing game continued until we finally drove past the Shepherd and Dog pub!


It was a short walk from Saddlescombe to the magnificent Devil’s Dyke.  It is impossible to believe that in late Victorian times Devil’s Dyke became a tourist attraction, complete with a fairground, two bandstands, an observatory, a camera obscura, all served by a branch-line from Hove.  During its heyday, Devil’s Dyke was a huge attraction for the Victorians, with 30,000 people visiting on Whit Monday in 1893.

We stopped for lunch just before the Fulking Escarpment and since we had to look this up – An escarpment is a steep slope or long cliff that occurs from faulting, tilting or warping and resulting erosion and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations.



We stopped for lunch just before the Fulking Escarpment and since we had to look this up – an escarpment is a steep slope or long cliff that occurs from faulting, tilting or warping and resulting erosion and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations.


Onwards and upwards – a steady ascent to the top of Truleigh Hill whose radio masts had been a familiar landmark from way back at Chanctonbury Ring.  Truleigh Hill has a significant and little-known history as a nuclear early warning station in the days of the Cold War.  Initially, an underground bunker radar station was built here in 1939, which was adapted as an early warning system in the late 1950’s.  Signals from Truleigh would give England four minutes warning at best – three at worst.  The network of underground tunnels, with walls 10ft thick underneath a harmless-looking brick bungalow, remains a secure site. It was decommissioned in 1958 and sold to a local farmer in 1965.  He converted some of it to use as a night club but due to health and safety problems it had to close.

Walking became very easy as our path continued on a road where we came across signs for the Rampion off-shore wind farm. “Off-shore” didn’t make any sense up here so this had to be googled:


E-On and their contractors have started work on laying a new national grid power cable under the South Downs National Park.  This new cable will connect the planned Rampion off shore wind farm with the national grid.


A quick check for the correct path with some lads in lycra who were mending a bike, across a field and a steep downhill (remember the second paragraph?) back to the car.

We had clocked up 5.25 miles today, the taxi had been well worth paying for, especially as we now didn’t have to go back to collect the other car.  A purchase of ginger cake at Storrington and back to Petersfield for tea.


Thanks to YouTube here is a sample of today’s views

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1

Winchester to Cheesefoot Head

Sun 21 Sep 2014

3.5 miles

2

Cheesefoot Head to Beauworth

Sun 31 Aug 2014

5.5 miles

3

Beauworth to Exton

Sat 2 Aug 2014

4 miles

4

Exton to Old Winchester Hill

Mon 28 Jul 2014

3.125 miles

5

Old Winchester Hill to East Meon

Mon 5 May 2014

5 miles

6

East Meon to Petersfield

Sat 12 Apr 2014

4.5 miles

7

Q.E. Park to Harting Hill

Thu 10 Apr 2014

5.5 miles

8

Harting Hill to Cocking

Thu 17 Apr 2014

7 miles

9

Cocking to Duncton

Thu 15 May 2014

5.25 miles

10

Duncton to Bury Hill

Sat 23 Aug 2014

5 miles

11

Bury Hill to Storrington

Sat 23 May 2015

6 miles

12

Storrington to Washington

Fri 11 Sep 2015

4 miles

13

Washington to beyond Chanctonbury Ring

Sun 6 Sep 2015

2.75 miles

14

Chanctonbury Ring to Beeding

Sun 20 Sep 2015

4.5 miles

15

Beeding to Devil’s Dyke

Sun 4 Oct 2015

5.25 miles

16

Devil’s Dyke to Ditchling Beacon

Sun 5 Jun 2016

6 miles

17

Ditchling Beacon to Housedean Farm

Tue 21 Jun 2016

5 miles

18

Housedean farm to Southease

Sun 31 Jul 2016

7 miles

19

Southease to Alfriston

Tue 6 Sep 2016

7 miles

20

Alfriston to Cuckmere River

Mon 26 Sep
2016

3 miles

21

Cuckmere River to Birling Gap

Fri 7 Oct
2016

5 miles

22

Birling Gap to Eastbourne

Mon 10 Oct
2016

5 miles