Near Devil’s Dyke

Published 25 November 2012

Admiring the View near Devil's Dyke

People who don’t live in the South East often think of it as some massive urban sprawl; criss-crossed by roads and completely chocker-block with houses and offices. And it’s certainly true that Greater London is a massive place. One Christmas I did a pub crawl with a friend around Manchester City Centre and later on in the evening we realised we’d walked across the whole place. Try doing that in London and you’d still be walking several months later.

But London isn’t the South East – just part of it. And the reality is that there’s plenty of great scenery a short journey away from the capital. And there’s none finer than the South Downs. So much so that in April 2011 it became the UK’s fifteenth national park.

It must have been in 2005 when I first visited the area, walking a walk between Hassocks and Shoreham-by-Sea, some of which followed the South Downs Way.

The day was extremely hot and we’d just had an extremely lacklustre lunch at a pub near Devil’s Dyke where I had a lasagne so bland that the comparison with eating cardboard would be completely inappropriate. Cardboard probably has flavour.

Visitors from nearby Brighton were being shipped up in huge quantities by frequent open top buses, and the area was heaving with noisy families enjoying the view and copious amounts of ice cream, but a short way beyond the pub (and the bus stop) was an almost empty hillside. And there we sat for a while, taking it all in.

This photo is also momentous as it’s also the second ever photograph I took whilst doing a walk. It was taken in 2005 with my then pretty new Kodak digital camera which I’d bought primarily as we were heading on holiday to Iceland that summer and that’s a country that deserves photographs.

What was the first one I took? Well it was this:

View near Devil's Dyke

I wonder just how many pictures of stiles I’ve taken since that first one…

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