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> SDW Final Thoughts

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Ashley Heeley's South Downs Way Diary

Final Thoughts

So, what are my final thoughts? Firstly, it was a really enjoyable walk. It was in a part of the country I donít know very well and the end day on the cliffs was quite spectacular. The walk gets better the more you get away from Winchester and Iím glad we did it West to East. Although not as high as the Lakes, Dales etc you do seem to be high up when you are on top of The Downs and some of the climbs are short but quite steep. What amazed me throughout the walk was the fantastic views and countryside in the south east of England which is supposed to be the most overcrowded part of our island. At times it was difficult to imagine that we were only 50 miles or so from London and the crowds seemed a long way away.

Secondly, the walk was harder than we thought. The route finding was easy but the hard chalk paths seem to take its toll on the feet. Most of our days were 20 miles or so give and take some, so we were quite tired from the start. The weather didnít help with only 1 day without any rain (the last day) and the Wednesday, our longest day was atrocious. Still, we did it and in a kind of masochistic way we enjoyed it (at the end though).

Thirdly, we were surprised that so few people seem to be doing it. We only met 2 lone walkers going the other way which is surprising. Perhaps itís just not popular but if you are thinking of doing it, do it, itís a good walk.

Last but not least a big thank you to Dale for putting up with my snoring and bad jokes, to Kate for the cake and putting me up the night before and after the walk, to Karen, Mike, Matt, and Mark who were great company all along and a privilege to know and to Janine and my family for letting me out for a week to indulge myself.















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