Tuesday 18 July 2017

The Favourite Walk revisited

This was the view for a worryingly long time,
squashed into a hedgerow, wing mirror folded and holding in our stomachs
as caravans and 4x4s inched down a lane
wholly inadequate for the traffic, which had been diverted by a field fire.

'Go on, you could get a bus through there,'
was the helpful advice yelled from the car in front to each anxious
new driver as they advanced towards us grimacing.
'I only came out for a pie and a pint,' was the cheery and more typical
reaction from one man as he made it past us.

A huge sigh of relief went up as we saw the motorhome ahead of us 
accelerate away in a wider stretch.
The wide rolling hills of the South Downs as they hoved into view
were never more welcome.

I've checked back, and it seems to be six years since we last did this walk,
or perhaps I didn't record it here.

The V-shaped view to the sea

opens just as satisfactorily as it ever did,

and the view to the Seven Sisters seems little changed,
but for the fact that there were two large cliff falls
further along at Birling Gap recently.

Two military planes briefly shattered the peace.

It was still a lovely walk but something vital was missing.

It was the company of our sons.


  1. I love how the white foam mirrors the white cliffs in the 6th picture. There is a castle with beautiful gardens that my family have always visited together - it never feels quite right if I go there on my own. I hope you'll get to do the walk with sons and granddaughter soon - it's fun to introduce a new generation to a family haunt.

  2. It's sad about the sons. My daughter goes to big school in September and another mother at the bookclub last week told me that that's it, kaput, they grow up and are gone. I'm tackling this situation head on by not reading the book she suggested.

  3. Ah yes, those pesky children who insist on having their own lives. Just as they get to be no bother at all - lovely companions - they're off. I'll never get used to it. Sigh.

  4. Oh, that Mise. I've missed her. She's always good for a clever quip and a laugh, isn't she?

    I grew up a hop, skip and jump from the sea. Now that I am planted in the plains, I envy you folks in England who have only to throw a stone and it lands in the briny surf.

    Lovely photos. Lovely day.

  5. A grand day out. I love the South Downs and they don't get enough praise. One day plan to do the walk from Canterbury to Winchester. No southern softy, me.

  6. Ooh my sister lives near there - it's one of my favourite views - and by the number of times I see it on pictures, postcards and passports, generally one of Britain's too! :-)

  7. Now where is this Lucille? We've been staying at Rathfinny vineyard this week and did three favourite walks: Firle Beacon to Charleston and back; East Dean to Birling Gap and back and lastly Wilmington Priory to Folkington (found Elizabeth David's grave in the churchyard- a lovely surprise), up to the top of Folkington hill and steeply down past the Long Man. During our two days away we also visited Ditchling museum and I bought my first Persephone book in the Alfriston bookshop (V. Woolf's "A Writer's Diary" edited by Leonard and with endpapers by Vanessa). I've just looked again at your photos and realised it must be Cuckmere haven. Next time ...

  8. Yes we start at an unmarked but large car park on the top of Seaford Head and walk to Hope Gap and then down to the Cuckmere and round back again. It's a short walk for such a long drive but we incorporated some NGS Open Gardens into the day. We sometimes visit Breaky Bottom vineyard too but Peter Hall needs advance warning.

    1. Thanks Lucille. E. Sussex is becoming a favourite destination for us too. In W. Sussex we love the Chidham Harbour walk, a five mile circular walk starting at the Church and with fabulous views to East Head and beyond to the IoW.

  9. I had absolutely no idea where those pictures were taken so had to Google. I have never been anywhere near there, even though I have visited most of our fair land. Thank you.

  10. Absolutely beautiful!!! If someday I get to visit England this is a place I would love to visit!

  11. I want to do that walk - it looks so beautiful! And narrow lanes are nothing to us!! Or at least nothing to The Gardener - he's a whizz at managing them, whereas I am not.

  12. Lucille, thank you for these lovely pictures. A treat to see the beautiful sights without having to handle the close calls. xo