If the Dyke was the work of the devil, though hardly a malevolent creation, then the South Downs is a fitting response from the Almighty. And being almost religious in my devotion to the South Downs Way, I’m more than happy to sing its praise.
As you amble your way along from the Dyke through to the Adur, the views northward seem to barely change in feature. But it doesn’t matter, for these panoramas will encapsulate you. And indeed this is basically a summary of the whole reason for the walk itself.
The chalky nature of the area is at its most prominent here, and walking boots, rather than trainers, are definitely preferred. It is very easy to become complacent on such terrain, what with the fast drainage and the absence of muddy fields, but the rocky paths will often mean that as much as your footwear wont need a wash afterwards, your ankle may need a plastering…
Starting from the Dyke Inn, which would be a more preferable end to the walk, I simply headed west along the South Downs Way, Caroline in tow. She commented that this had been a walk she was familiar with, but for me, despite my Sussex wanderlust, it was my first journey on this route into West Sussex on a country excursion-certainly that I can remember. Most of my country sojourns take me north and east. I’ve never understood this sub-conscious prejudice.
The journey itself is very easy to follow on the recommended Land Ranger Map, as the only departure from the South Downs Way is a voluntary one, to take snaps from the edge of the hillside. The terrain itself has many inclines, but whatever your transport to the Dyke is, you can thank it for taking the away the proper climbs. There is very little exertion here.
Having meandered your way along to Edburton Hill, somewhat less inspiring than the wonderful view down the hill to the village itself, it’s then on to Truleigh Hill and past the YMCA, which externally, looks like a suitable setting for a teenage horror film. The descent to the Shoreham Road then begins, and the option of catching the bus back in to town, or continuing north-west to the quaint Bramber, or the antique Steyning-both splendidly visible from the hill itself-opens itself up.
No complex instructions needed here then.
Now, once finishing the jolly jaunt, for Caroline and myself, the bus was due, and the pub was calling. But whatever your chosen end, a warm summers weekend would certainly be enhanced by this cute little ramble.
Distance: About 4.5 miles
Duration: Around one and three quarter hours.