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

South Downs Way legs

Leg 18

Housedean Farm (Falmer) to Southease
7 miles

Today’s leg was scheduled to take an impressive 7 miles off the total, and  bearing in mind that we tend to peak at 5 miles, we thought it would be tough even without the travel logistics.

We left Petersfield at 8:00am and had an excellent journey over to Housedean Farm, put our boots on, went round the corner to the bus stop and the bus to Lewes appeared within 5 minutes.  So far, excellent, but once we were in Lewes it became apparent that the bus was not going to the station (superb transport links!)  For once, we had a friendly driver and he dropped us off and pointed out the way to the station.  This walk added a mile to our total!  Lewes station was a nightmare and we missed the one train an hour to Southease by 4 minutes, so another taxi was needed.  The taxi driver filled us in with all the local problems caused by the appalling service provided by Southern Railways.

Fortified by a piece of cake, our walk started by this new Youth Hostel, formerly Itford Farm.  We crossed the railway line at Southease station and shortly afterwards, the River Ouse and on to Rodmell.  We were intrigued by what we assumed was a rock festival (it was really quiet so they must have had a heavy night) and so it proved to be.  Interesting to note the last line on the poster “Secret Location Nr Brighton” – well we found it!

Weighing up the options for today’s walk it seemed better to walk east to west, ie get the climbing done earlier in the day, and that was a good call, although the majority was a steady climb with just a few challenging hills.

On the way we passed the Greenwich Meridian marker. In an on-line article we had seen one section referred to as the yellow brick road from the Wizard of Oz, which was a great description (even though it was neither yellow nor brick) but was a very straight concrete strip through cornfields and as we walked up, stunning views appeared of the sea across to Peacehaven and along to Beachy Head.

The inevitable field of cows was on hand to scare Allison; they were completely blocking the path and it seemed as if there might be a stand off! However, we made it through, before five minutes later, the next scare.  We heard the thundering of hooves from behind us and thought the cows had stampeded, even Liz admitted she was preparing to run – but it was a horse and rider!  Had they missed the turning at Goodwood?

The Bimble Banada festival

Soon we saw our old friend the Amex Stadium and were heading back to Housedean Farm and the completion of our longest leg.  What a triumph! Although we had walked east to west to make the hills easier, the second half of the walk had the best views.  In fact today was probably the clearest we have had and we really could see for  miles and miles.

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