|St Margaret's Church, Ditchling|
|My first view of Ditchling Beacon|
Now this is not a problem, however I now have 2 lists of county tops, Pre 1970s and post 1970s, each list with different hills and mountains in them, which list do I climb? in the Pre 70s list Ditchling Beacon does not appear but it seemed like it might be a good climb, The same with St Boniface Down on the Isle of Wight, the island used to be a part of Hampshire and so St Boniface Down was not classed as a county top, so I made the decision to combine the lists and climb all the county tops new and old. This WOULD mean a lot of extra climbs but I figured if I did them all then I can say I have done them all.
So, back to Ditchling Beacon, the first of the hills in MY list from the post 1970s county tops, I had decided a long time ago that I wanted to do some of my walks and climbs by public transport, this was actually an idea put into my head by my cousin Charlie who did a similar thing a few years ago with mountains. I packed my bag and got my waterproof coat ready and set off for the Station for my 10:04 train to Hassocks on the East/West Sussex border.
|The path starts to climb|
On arrival at Hassocks I left the station and followed the road east past the shops (into the bakery for a sausage roll) and on towards the village of Keymer. After Keymer it was another 20 mins walk until the next village of Ditchling where I turned south towards the hills, up until now I has follows the roads but I was soon on to some off road footpaths now and into the countryside, for a short while I wondered whether I was going the right way as the path seemed to look like someone's back alleyway but it eventually went over a stream and then through some fields.
|A sheep pond with Brighton in the distance|
|Ditchling Beacon gets closer|
Just before I reached the trig point on the top of the Beacon I stopped off to chat to a lady about her husband and his ankle (she was talking, I was petting the dog), I soon made my excuses and reached the highest point of West Sussex, it was 4.1 miles walking from the station in Hassocks and it had taken me around 90 mins to get there. I sat down, had a cup of tea from my flask and ate some sandwiches (cheese and pickle), the wind was really biting but I sat down next to the Trig point and used it as a kind of shelter.
At the bottom of the hill I crossed a small road then walked thro a very neat and tidy landscaped field with a beautiful pond, then into another field full of rabbits. The next field was mud glorous mud, I squelched my way through this mess and past the cows who seemed to be watching me (and laughing in their own bovine way) and finally out onto a country road (again part of the roman road) which led me back to civilisation.
|Tradition hill climbing lunch|
All in all I had a wonderful trip to Ditchling Beacon, I got home pretty tired but happy to have reached the highest point of East Sussex some 248mtrs (814ft) above sea level.
|Map of the route I walked|