SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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both. Elsted has an inn from the doorway of which the traveller has a superb view of the Downs. From Treyford a bridle-path leads directly south to the summit of Treyford Hill, where are five barrows called "The Devil's Jumps." From here the track running along the top of the Down will bring us in two miles to the bold spurs of Linch Down (818 feet), the finest view-point on the western Downs, the views over the Weald being magnificent in all directions. A track will have been noticed on the west side of the summit, and a return should be made to this, and then by striking southwards through the Westdean woods we eventually reach Chilgrove. We might then climb the opposite spur and keep southwards until the ridge rises to the escarpment of Bow Hill, but the finest walk of all and the most fitting termination to our tour will be to keep to the rough road which runs down the valley south-east to Welldown Farm. Here a road turns right and in a little over a mile drops to the romantically beautiful Kingley Vale.
This vale is a cup-shaped hollow in the south side of Bow Hill; its steep sides are clothed in a sombre garb of yews and at the farther end of the combe is a solemn grove of these venerable trees amid which broad noon becomes a mystic twilight filled with the spirit of awe; a fitting place for the burial of warrior kings with wild, barbaric rite. Tradition has it that many Danish chieftains were here defeated and slain and that here beneath the yews they rest. But who shall say what other strange scenes these lonely deeps in the bosom of the hills have witnessed before Saxon or Dane replaced the Celt; who in turn, for all his fierce and arrogant ways, went, by night, in fear and trembling of those spiteful little men he himself displaced, and whose vengeance or pitiful gratitude is perpetuated in the first romances of our childhood. Though their living homes were in the primeval forests of the Britain that was, their last long resting places were under the open skies on the summits of the wind-swept Downs. Many of the smooth green barrows that enclosed their remains have been ruthlessly rifled and desecrated by greed or curiosity. It is to be hoped that the votaries of this form of archaeological research have now discovered all that they desired to know, and that our far-off ancestors will be left to the peace we do not grudge our more immediate forefathers.
[1] These measurements are confusing, unless the pillars were of an unusual shape. A round column 18 feet thick would be 54 feet in circumference.
[2] Two seals were seen on the west of the Selsea Peninsula in December, 1919, and one of them was shot for preservation in a local museum.
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