Bottoms and Dykes and the South Downs Way
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This is a nice bracing walk which starts by following the river Ouse south of the town for a while, then leaves it via the villages of Rodmell and Southease to join the South Downs Way in Cricketing Bottom. The word bottom, in South Downs parlance, means valley. Cross dykes are prehistoric earth works found on some hills, so perhaps not what you were thinking, but in some places, doubtless, the term may have other meanings!
From here we climb steeply up onto Mill Hill and then gradually work our way up at a fairly gentle gradient to Swanborough Hill, from where we should get some nice views including to Seaford Head and the sea. We will also cross the global Meridian line as we pass from the Eastern to the Western hemisphere.
Once we are up on the hill, totally exposed to whatever the weather might throw at us, it could lead to a combination of being windswept, sunburned and pretty wet all at the same time! Chuck in a bit of snow and we could experience all the extremes of global travel all in one place all at once which is apt since the walk technically includes both sides of the world.
We will leave the Downs to descend into Kingston, where the weather and ground conditions will dictate which return route we follow back into Lewes. Either via the Cockshut (I'm not making these names up!) and the ruins of Lewes Priory, or a rather scary high road crossing over the A27 and thence to Southover Street. We may have a drink in either the village pub in Kingston, or in Lewes, or both or neither!
What to bring
Water: bring at least 1.5 litres
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Day rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, they are comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely
Boots: waterproof and breathable and designed for hiking, trainers are OK if the ground is dry and there’s little chance of rain
Gaiters: recommended for wet weather or boggy conditions
Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: ideally no jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Gloves: Windproof, or better still, waterproof gloves are the best choice, bring a spare pair if expecting rain
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Lunch: bring a packed lunch unless otherwise stated
Food & drink
Please bring a packed lunch as well as water to keep you hydrated during the day. Sweating, even in winter, can dehydrate you more than you might think.