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

South Downs Way legs

Leg 13

Washington to
Ring and beyond
2.75 miles

So up a short hill and just as Liz was saying “well, that wasn’t too bad” we turned the corner to see the long slog of about a mile up the hill to Chanctonbury Ring. The fame of the Ring is due not to it being a hill fort but to the beech trees, which were planted in 1760 by Charles Goring within the earth bank of the fort, which is still prominent today. The trees became a famous landmark, very thickly wooded; however, the Great Storm of 1987 destroyed most of the trees and the replanted trees are only now beginning to restore the ring to its former glory.

Autumn has arrived! At Bramshott Place it was just 6 degrees at 7:30 am, but it was a beautiful day, complete with hot air balloon floating over the trees. We drove over to Washington (north of Worthing on the A24) in glorious sunshine.  Our intention was to call a taxi to take us back to Kithurst Hill so that we could walk back to the car. Nothing is that simple! We tried three taxi firms none of which could help (“sorry love, on my way to Gatwick”). So plan B was hastily concocted: we would walk eastwards past Chanctonbury Ring for about 3 miles then walk back again. We didn’t want to run the risk of not being able to get a taxi at Steyning.

The chalk, flint and loose stone had given way to grassland which made the walking much more comfortable.

There were wonderful views across to Worthing, in the distance Brighton and onwards to the radio masts at Truleigh Hill.

Towards Chanctonbury Ring

But it was becoming pretty hot, so time for lunch.
We were very lucky to find a gate that wasn’t padlocked through to a wooded copse where we were able to sit in the shade and have lunch before turning back. Some clouds had formed and we were cooled by a south westerly breeze which made the return walk very pleasant, though the mile downhill back to the carpark was quite hard going.

Although we did 5.5 miles today and had a great walk, it was only 2.75 off the total, but it was very encouraging to be able to see Brighton.

Some interesting facts from today!

We have noted before that everyone says “morning” well into the afternoon on the South Downs Way – well we can report that afternoon starts at 13:25

We observed that we seemed to be the only ones walking with full rucksacks, most of the other walkers were sauntering along with no equipment. We can only conclude that they were lightweights who had parked at the Chanctonbury car park and strolled up!

The mountain bikers were out in force today and we saw a huge number of MAMILs (Middle Aged Men in Lycra). We went to Whiteways for tea and cake where we saw many more MAMILs but these were of the leather variety!

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof!

Then back to Petersfield, and to round off a perfect day, Timmy, the newest member of the family, was on the garage roof, having mastered the catflap.

Lunch spot

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