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Southease circular walk via Telscombe and Peacehaven

A 5½ mile circular walk via Telscombe and Peacehaven from Friends of the South Downs. Start at the bus stop adjacent to Downs Walk on Telscombe Road and head north up Downs Walk up a track until you get to the Lookout. Turn right and follow the track along the ridge, passing the whole row of houses.

At the end of the path, go through a field gate and turning right as the path continues around the field. After 770 yards go through the gate right and follow the winding path down to a farm road, turning left towards the river.

A short diversion at the main road enables a viewing of Money Burgh, a 6 feet high oval barrow dating from the early to middle Neolithic period, one of 13 in Sussex. Barrows are prehistoric rectangular or trapezoidal earth mounds traditionally interpreted as collective tombs. There is strong evidence that during the period 4300 to 2500 BC there existed in Sussex socially coherent and autonomous groups occupying discrete territories.

At the road cross (take care: busy road) to the path, turning left along the river.

Continue on into Southease village. The Church, which is normally open, is worth a visit. The round tower, of which there are only 3 in Sussex, was built in the early 1100s, and several parts of the church can be dated to before the Norman Conquest. The village is even older than the church, being noted as a thriving community in the Doomesday Book (1086). It seems to have been by far the largest fishery in the district.

Turn left on leaving the church and walk up the hill to a T junction, taking the path right for a few yards to another junction: cross the road (take care: busy road) and follow South Downs Way signs turning right into a large field. Follow the path to the bottom of the valley turning left onto the track along the valley bottom. Continue for approximately 1.3 miles through the farm until the track becomes suddenly more grassy. Turn left here at a blue sign on a post and cross the field to the opposite corner (the path goes around the edge). Underfoot the chalk and flint that is characteristic of the South Downs can easily be seen.

Turn right at the road and descend into Telscombe Village. The route goes left past the church but a diversion into the church is worthwhile if it is open. There was certainly a church on the site in the year 966, although the present church dates from the early 1100s as at Southease. A few yards further on the Youth Hostel, if open, has chocolate and drinks.

Follow the bridleway past the church and head back to the Lookout. Turn right to take you back to the bus stop on Telscombe Road.


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