walking boots in the South Downs

The Weald is good, the Downs are best – I’ll give you the run of ‘em, East to West

Kipling was right. No matter how good the Weald, the Downs are best. The South Downs, that is, running from Beachy Head above Eastbourne to St Catherine’s Hill overlooking the River Itchen at Winchester.

Smooth green hills, they are. A generous, ample land characterised by skylarks, poppies, cowslips, and sheep, and from whose crest scores of vantage points looking out over the Weald in one direction, and off to the Channel in another. And elsewhere? Elsewhere there’s what Octavia Hill – the great Victorian champion of the countryside and co-founder of the National Trust – once referred to as ‘the healing gift of space’.

This is a walker’s landscape, as good as it gets, and I for one could never grow tired of it. A mountain man most of my days, I’m as happy and fulfilled when spending a day exploring a corner of this the newest of our National Parks – or wandering end-to-end along the South Downs Way – as I am trekking the high Himalaya. For if you have an eye for beauty you’ll find more than enough to gaze on here. And there’s always something to learn, something new to discover.


Copyright: Kev Reynolds