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A Hundred Years in the Sunshine

1st Annual South Downs Way Walk

7 to 15 June   Eastbourne to Winchester

Day 1   7 June   11 miles   Eastbourne to Alfriston

       Done in 6 hours & 20 minutes - seemed like a long 11 miles, was caused by the SDW sign posts being a bit random. The stretch along by the Seven Sisters was very up and down however, the view into the Cuckmere valley was so magnificent.

Day 2   8 June   14 miles   Alfriston to Newmarket Inn

       The breeze was very strong along the ridgeway, we could have done with it being a bit more from behind. A long climb up to Firle Beacon and then greeted with many glorious views to the north over the Weald ... but "ow" my feet hurt. Had to stop at Southease.

Day 3   9 June   12 miles   Newmarket Inn to Devil's Dyke

     Disaster has struck, the pain yesterday seems to have turned into a minor blister or some such thing - limping badly today - trying to rest and recover and hope to get back out tomorrow with alternative footwear. So disappointed.

Day 4   10 June   12 miles   Devil's Dyke to Washington

       Hooray - up and running again (well, ok, hobbling). A fine walk along the ridge with spectacular views into the distance. So many lovely country churches lie close to the path of the SDW - and, as a treat, we spotted some orchids too.

Day 5   11 June   9 miles   Washington to Whiteways

       A very wet day, good job I took my waterproofs. Despite the rain it was a good walk but, as the cloud was so low along the top of the Downs, one could only see a few yards. In view of the conditions I did not try to take any pictures.

Day 6   12 June   9 miles   Whiteways to Cocking

       Rain and low cloud again today - only time for a couple of photos before the rain set in. Good walking but no chance of seeing views of the countryside. The ice-cream lady was out again today and Middle Farm, Cocking provided tea and cakes.

Day 7   13 June   12 miles   Cocking to Queen Elizabeth Park

       Although the walking has been great during the last 3 days, the struggle on the first two necessitates my taking another day out to recover my feet so I can do the final two days. It is a pity but not sorry to miss today's wind!

Day 8   14 June   12 miles   Queen Elizabeth Country Park to Exton

       Lovely weather, lovely walk. Butser Hill, Old Winchester Hill and the Meon valley - ah, Hampshire, God's own country but we all know that Sussex is much nicer. Last day tomorrow and then my feet can have a deserved rest.

Day 9   15 June   13 miles   Exton to Winchester

       Last day - wind, rain and a few spells of sunshine. Good walk today, the final hill and the descent into Winchester. It is the first day my feet have not hurt, where is the sense in that? Home is the hero, home from the sea - sailor beware!

The iconic Chanctonbury Ring

The first hill - setting out from Eastbourne

The Annual South Downs Way Walk is organised by Footprints of Sussex

Visit them at footprintsofsussex.co.uk

Learn more about this walk along the National Trail at southdownsway.com

This annual event is sponsored by Regatta and supported by West Sussex County Council