SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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all to reward the climber is remote unless he chooses that fortnight in early June or late September when the peaks are usually unshrouded. Really bad weather, long continued, is uncommon in the Down country. A dull or wet spell is soon over. The writer has set out from Worthing in a thin drizzle of the soaking variety, descending from a sky of lead stretching from horizon to horizon, which in the north would be accepted as an institution of forty-eight hours at least, and on arriving at the summit of Chanctonbury has been rewarded by a glorious green and gold expanse glittering under a dome of intense blue.
From the wooded heights of the Hampshire border to that grand headland where the hills find their march arrested by the sea, the escarpment of the Downs is sixty miles long and every mile is beautiful. It would be an ideal holiday, a series of holy days, to follow the edge all the way, meeting with only three valley breaks of any importance; but the charm of the hill villages nestling in their tree embowered and secluded combes would be too much for any ordinary human, especially if he were thirsty, so in this book the traveller is taken up and down without any regard
for his consequent fatigue, when it is assured that his rest will be sweet, even
though it may be only under a hawthorn bush!
"No breeze so fresh and invigorating as that of the Sussex Downs; no turf so springy to the feet as their soft greensward. A flight of larks flies past us, and a cloud of mingled rooks and starlings wheel overhead.... The fairies still haunt this spot, and hold their midnight revels upon it, as yon dark rings testify. The common folk hereabouts term the good people 'Pharisees' and style these emerald circles 'Hagtracks.' Why, we care not to enquire. Enough for us, the fairies are not altogether gone. A smooth soft carpet is here spread out for Oberon and Titania and their attendant elves, to dance upon by moonlight...." (Ainsworth: Ovingdean Grange.)
"He described the Downs fronting the paleness of the earliest dawn and then their arch and curve and dip against the pearly grey of the half-glow; and then among their hollows, lo, the illumination of the east all around, and up and away, and a gallop for miles along the turfy, thymy, rolling billows, land to left, sea to
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