South Downs Way (SDW) Amberley to Pyecombe

Our breakfast was rather slow in coming on Monday 13th May, so we had a later than planned departure for a stage that was about 24km. The weather was mostly cloudy with a strong, bitingly cold wind. We had excellent visibility with fantastic views from Chanctonbury Ring and over Steyning Bowl. Chanctonbury Ring is an early iron age hill fort, and later the site of a Roman temple. It is apparently pronounced Chanklebury in a Sussex dialect. It’s probably best known for the circle of beech trees planted in 1760 on the raised earthworks surrounding the fort, and replenished after the storm of 1987 by the descendant of the original planter. These trees provide a landmark for miles around.

Approaching Chanctonbury Ring

Approaching Chanctonbury Ring

We finished the walking day by strolling into Upper Beeding in the bright sun. Upper Beeding is another very pretty village that you pass on the SDW. There are just so many attractive, characterful old houses. This is one:

P1050054Our B&B in Upper Beeding was excellent with cakes and hot drinks when we arrived, a computer free for anyone to use and very clean and comfortable bedrooms. There was also a good pub just 100m away where we ate that evening; very generous portions. The weather forecast for the next day was pretty miserable and, luckily, it was our shortest day, so we were in no hurry to have breakfast and leave.

The breakfast was very good and we were away by 09.00 hrs and in the garage next door to buy some food for lunch. We started off walking in the dry but by the time we reached Devil’s Dyke it was raining steadily; still with a strong wind. We were pleased to take a break in the pub there. Afterwards, we walked along the side of the impressive Dyke and onwards to Pyecombe, by which time the rain was fairly steady. There was no one in at our B&B but, luckily, the pub just down the road was open all day and we sat in there for a few hours until our landlady for the night phoned the pub to tell us she was home. We had tried to make contact before, to say we were going to arrive early, and she had actually left a key for us, but we had not received the message. The B&B was very comfortable and they could not do enough for us, lighting a fire and providing lots of snacks and drinks. We went back to “our pub” to eat that evening and sampled the beers we had not tried that afternoon. The food was a bit pricey but tasty, I had chicken with apricots, sauté potatoes and veg.

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