See previous blog for Days 1-4 of South Downs Way
Arundel Castle taken down at river level.
Day 4 ended at Amberley Station with bowls of soup in the Bridge Inn. 14 and a half miles and 5 and a half hours.
We looked down on Amberley village to the north as we descended to the River Arun, the last river to cross. The castle looked large, imposing and interesting. What a location. Well protected by the river to the west, the Wild Brooks(flood plain) to the north and the Downs to the south. 900 years old and the home of bishops until destroyed in the Civil War. The 60' curtain wall still exists with a 'modern' house built inside which houses the Relais and Chateaux hotel.
Our destination was Arundel which I had always wanted to visit and the Norfolk Arms Hotel.
Chanctonbury Hill. This is a special place. A tree-covered hill fort with breath-taking views all round. Why I didn't take a photo I'm not sure.
This is Christopher's drawing of it which he downloaded onto The Big Draw website, the charity for which he is raising over £2,000. Well Done, Christophe!
We met Mike here who had walked/run out from Amberley Station to meet us and then very kindly drove us into Arundel. He joined us for the night and dinner in the hotel with another friend of mine, Marianne Topham, from West Wittering joining us for dinner too.. Being a visual artist, she was very intrigued by the Big Draw and generously donated to Christopher. Marianne worked with me on my projects at Charles Hammond and painted the most wonderful visuals to illustrate designs to clients.
Day 5 Our views were short-lived. Another misty moisty day! On with the blue condoms.
We did see a kite close too and possibly a kestrel dive into a flock of fieldfares(?) and take one for his breakfast! Very exciting to see a kite so close too and to watch a predator at work. The animal life so far has been disappointing - every beastie staying 'hudden doon' out of the bad weather.
I did think I caught a glimpse of a blue butterfly. Adonis, Chalkhill, small, common or holly blue I couldn't say.
This is exciting! We are crossing Stane Street which took the Romans from Noviomagus (current day Chichester) to London. We'd just passed the sign to Bignor Villa which has some of the finest roman mosaics ever found in England.
Shame we didn't have time to visit.
Apparently this stane street is not to be confused with the stane street that is the A120 and passes Pattiswick on its way to Colchester.
They say 80% of downlands has been lost to agriculture and this rather shows it.
The western end of the South Downs Way is much more wooded with less open downland. In parts, I felt I could be walking anywhere. The Downs magic had gone.
This apparently is Anthony Goldsworthy's chalk ball sculpture.
At the time of the photo we wondered what on earth it was and what it was doing here - some strange meteor from another planet perhaps?
No, just a dotty bit of modern sculpture.
My cousin, Sally Maybury, joined us today. She is our hostess for the night at Chithurst and had met up with Mike at Didling to walk to join us.
Day 5 - Amberley to Didling 16.2 miles 7 hours.
I didn't sleep last night as I stupidly ate a, admittedly, delicious chocolate fondant pudding and the caffeine kept me awake. So I found today a bit of a slog and was glad to see the car at the bottom of Didling Hill!
Day 6 Didling to East Meon Valley 21.2 miles 8 hours
This is the view from Beacon Hill looking south - well worth the climb up but missing out on the loop via Telegraph Hill where I had once stayed with the Gault family who used to own it. We had the pretty village of South Harting to our north and the tempting prospect of Uppark to our south but we pressed on.
Heading for the highest point on the SDW at Butser Hill. No views sadly.
PK has now joined us for the last day and a half - he's taking the photo!!
East Meon Valley with the church steeple centre left tucked under the hill.
It truly is a beautiful valley.
We stopped at the Sustainability Centre for a much needed lunch before setting off down the hill and through Hen Wood to our bed for the night at Drayton with my friend, Philippa Thorp. Wonderful hospitality and a much needed relaxing comfortable night
Beacon Hill - the last major hill before Winchester. Mike, Caterina and Venetia Goodhart joined us here for the last few miles.
As you can see, the weather hasn't improved and sadly denied us the view down on to Winchester.
Our last lunch spot and ritual airing of feet! all within the sound of the Motorcross Bonanza that had accompanied us most of the day, including the mud, shit, rubbish engendered by several thousand spectators and their vehicles.
Outside Winchester Cathedral Day 7 116.5 miles, 267,151 steps, 17,185 calories used.