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Ashley Heeley's South Downs Way Diary
Day 5

Day 5 Clayton to Alfriston 21 Miles

Today was more like we expected a walk on the South Downs would be like.

After yesterdays slog in the torrential rain, today was a relief. We knew however that today was another long day. We had an early breakfast which was excellent (9) so we could get away by 9.00am. The B&B last night was very good and we have found that the breakfasts have been generally better than on the C2C or WHW, especially that nightmare in Tyndrum. The B&B were also kind enough to let us dry our wet stuff over the AGA which helped a lot.

Anyway, the general strategy today was to walk quickly so we could have lunch at the pub in Rodmell before 2pm. Like every day on this walk we started with a steep climb to get onto The Downs.

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View after climb back onto The Downs above Clayton

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Cross Roads sign showing the way to Brighton.

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Cross Roads sign with Winchester pointing right and Eastborne left. We turned left. Phew! Who needs maps eh!

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Friendly Calf

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Friendly Bull (thankfully) and son

Once on the tops it was steady going with Mark leading the way obviously with lunch in his nostrils. I generally kept my plodding pace at the back. The views were great and it still seems amazing that here in the most crowded part of the UK there is so much emptiness and countryside. One highlight in the morning was seeing a deer running ahead of us on the path before leaping the fence and running across the field.

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Top of The Downs near Lewes

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Karen and Dale near Lewes

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Southease Church

Now the SDW is well marked all the way but for once we missed a turn off and ended going wrong and finished up in a farm yard. A lady on a horse put us back on track and we had not gone too far off route and our lunch date.

At about 12ish we had a few drops of rain and our hopes of a rain free day were dashed. It wasn't much though and we made our lunch stop at 1.45pm.

After lunch (very nice too) we headed off past where Virginia Wolf jump into the river to kill herself (for you literary types). We climbed back up onto the downs past some cute cows and calves (got some photos Keegy) and as we got higher we had great views of Seaford and Newhaven. We could even see the first of the Seven Sisters, part of our final day tomorrow.

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Cute cow and calf

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Views of Seaford on the climb out of Southease

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Happy cows on the climb out of Southease

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Awwwww cute calf

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Calf disguised as a sheep?

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Dale, Matt, Karen and Mark at the Firle Beacon trig point

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View of Seaford on the climb out of Southease

We eventually came into Alfriston very tired after another long day. We are staying in a B&B but the hostellers are living up to their name and staying in the YHA.

My feet are quite bad and I'm glad it is a short day tomorrow. I must change my boots. The wildlife is much the same as before with the deer the highlight.

Had dinner at The George which is in the Good Pub Guide and very nice it was too. The food was very good and the beer good to. Karen and I were put on trial, for the crime of having too longer days but we put up a spirited defence. Still our sentence will be passed tomorrow and could involve karaoke or some drinking penalty. We will see.

Alfriston is a very pretty village in a way a bit too perfect. The post office/general store looks very interesting. Will try and get some photos before we set off tomorrow.

Tomorrow should be an easy day. My feet are shot so an easy day will be appreciated. There are 3 pubs on route and we intend to have a drink in each of them. Hopefully we will resist the temptation to chuck ourselves off Beachy Head. We are looking forward to the last day and celebrating what has been a tough walk but a great holiday.


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