Through a wood and then up a hill

This walk was to the top of Wolstonbury Hill a high point on the South Downs just north of the village of Pyecombe. This area is managed by the National Trust for more information please check the information on their website.

The walk for me started from Hassocks station, following the path along the London to Brighton line for just over a mile to Clayton. From here crossing the A273 by the tunnel, yes someone does actually live in a house above a busy railway line, I not sure I would be able to sleep soundly, although I am sure you would get used to it.

Clayton tunnel

Clayton tunnel with a residential building above

Turning west by the Jack and Jill pub (that does a great Sunday roast by the way) into New Way Lane, follow the road for a few hundred meters before turning onto the bridleway and start to ascend the hill.

Wolstonbury Hill

Wolstonbury Hill viewed from the bridleway off New Way Lane


Bridlepath to Wolstonbury Hill

Well worn path ascending Wolstonbury Hill

The woodland surrounding the east and north of the hill start to quickly come into view and it’s not long before you are in and amongst the trees. The path slowly ascending winds it’s way around the woodland and you are soon out walking on arable grazing land. From here the path turns back on itself following along the edge of the woodland passing the rifle range.

Woolstonbury Hill

Wolstonbury Hill from the path just before the rifle range

The Rifle Range

The Rifle Range at Wolstonbury Hill

The last part of the route is fairly steep, however turning around I saw the view across the Sussex Weald with the South Downs to my right and the first view of the windmills Jack and Jill a landmark on the South Downs.

Woolstonbury Hill

The last climb to the top of Wolstonbury Hill

I finally reached the top of the hill that has a trig point set in the middle, from here the view across the Sussex Weald was spectacular, looking south you could see Brighton, and looking north you could just make out the North Downs. But the best view in my mind was looking east with the sun just to my right.

Panoramic view

The view looking East from Wolstonbury Hill

After a short rest, I descended on the opposite side of the hill heading towards the chalk pit. The day was going well until I stepped on some slippery chalk and ended up on my back, luckily I was just a shocked more than injured. When I finally picked myself up I realised that I had fallen onto my rucksack, and that and my tripod had taken most of the impact of the fall. I was also carrying my camera, luckily the EM-1 was fine just a bit of mud and chalk on the lens hood and the grip. I decided to watch where I was treading until I reached level ground, as the surface of exposed chalk wet from the previous night’s rain and was like walking on ice.

Woolstonbury Hill

Descending Wolstonbury hill on the west side

I was soon back on level ground and back in dense woodland, from here I had a choice of leaving the woods and walking back towards Hurstpierpoint or following the path through the trees. I chose the path through the trees, as the autumn leaves and the sunlight coming through the canopy was just beautiful.

Woolstonbury Hill

Woodland path around Wolstonbury Hill

The path follows the base of the hill in a clockwise direction eventually taking me back onto New Way Lane, and back towards Clayton. Before reaching Clayton I turning north and followed a footpath across a meadow full of grazing sheep.

Grazing Sheep

Sheep grazing in a meadow at the foot of the South Downs

From here I crossed over the A273 towards the burial ground finally returning to the railway line. Instead of following the path back to Hassocks station I took a detour through Butchers Wood, managed by the Woodland Trust, and a couple of pictures of you guessed it more trees.

Looking up

Looking up into the canopy of trees in Butchers Wood


Equipment Used:

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