Ups and Downs around Telscombe, Rodmell and Lewes

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Lowland and Hill Walks
Oct 12

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The walk is just under 13 miles with a steep climb to 188m in the first quarter, proceeding steadily downhill for most of the middle, then along the flat valley at the end.

Telscombe is a tiny hamlet tucked away in the Downs behind, but inaccessible by vehicle from, Saltdean on the Sussex coast between Brighton and Newhaven. Much of Telscombe belongs to a trust set up by the owner of a Grand National winner over a hundred years ago, which aimed to preserve the hamlet in its undeveloped state. This has been more or less achieved, as photographs taken in 1902 and 2002 show. There are less than 50 inhabitants and the only access road comes from the inland side of the Downs near Southease.

Since this walk was planned, the fields have been ploughed and it has rained a lot, thus turning much of the planned return route into a potential quagmire. Therefore, we will now leave Lewes via the remains of Lewes Priory and then the Lewes Brooks Nature Reserve and to the edge of Kingston village and thence a farm track past Swanborough Manor to gain the South Downs Way, which we shall cross twice today but not follow, at Swanborough Hill. From there we go south to reach the next ridge which is, partly, directly above the coastal settlements so we should get good views of them and of the sea.

We approach Telscombe by circumnavigating the hamlet to approach it from the south, joining the access road where it comes to an abrupt end on the hill. Following it back, we pass through the hamlet and then stay on this very quiet road, leaving the buildings and progressing downhill gradually until we cross and follow by the main Lewes to Newhaven Road to pass into the quaint village of Rodmell.

This leads us to the river Ouse which we follow back into Lewes. From here it will be back to the start or if required I can divert into the town to show you around. We will possibly visit one of the many pubs of Lewes.


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