My day trip out from London for a hike in the South Downs National Park. Long, slow unrelenting climbs but lots of lovely textures and shapes to look out for, which (to my eye) suit b&w photography.
Onwards from Victoria, passing through Gatwick to Haywards Heath, where the train divides amid much automatic announcement and heckling from the train public address loudspeakers. Four coaches go west and the part I’m in goes east. The long low ridge of the South Downs looms out of the morning mist, then a halt at Plumpton racecourse. A white cliff comes in to view just before Lewes. Change at Lewes for the shunter train to the coast at Seaford. It’s feeling like a long way from Hammersmith - hard to believe some people do this as their everyday commute.
Seaside sun and air at Seaford and no wind: the English Channel is so calm there are almost no waves striking the long shingle beach. Striking inland to the South Downs via the flint-faced houses of the hamlet of Bishopstone, the church has a traditional Sussex square tower. I have a map, fortunately, as the signposting of the paths isn’t maintained particularly well; methinks some of the farmers aren’t too keen on hikers and trail bikers getting near their pedigree herds.
Then hiking up the long low rise to the ridges of the South Downs. The climbs aren’t to huge heights but the inclines are thigh-killingly unrelentent. The clear February air allows fantastic views from the ridges, rewarding the exertion. I took my picnic at a tumulus with a fine view of the still-blue sky, the sea and the surrounding ridges.