THE SUSSEX DOWNS AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS
My task in this chapter is to speak of the natural features of the Downs for which Sussex is famous. The range of the Downs commences at Petersfield in Hampshire, and extends to Beachy Head. Their length is between fifty and sixty miles, their greatest breadth seven miles, and their mean elevation about 500 feet, rising in places to more than 800 feet. Their northern escarpment is in general steep and abrupt, but on the south they usually descend by a gentle declivity, and unite almost imperceptibly with the lowlands of the coast.
From Beachy Head to Brighton they present an immediate barrier to the sea, forming a bold and precipitous line to the coast, but at Brighton they take an inland direction, and occupy the centre of West Sussex. From this circumstance a considerable difference exists in the geological relations of the Eastern and Western divisions of the County of Sussex.
The chalk hills of Sussex are separated into five