Tag Archives: trig point

Wandering: Box Hill, Surrey

14 Jun

The recent extended Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend gave my friend Chris and I chance to get out for a walk, unfortunately the less than ideal weather conditions meant that it was only going to be a brief walk.

Short of time we decided to head to Box Hill near the town of Dorking, Surrey. Box Hill is just a short train ride from Horsham and situated on the North Downs. If we didn’t have time to get out onto the South Downs then the North Downs would have to do.

Box Hill is also going to be playing its part in the London Olympics. It is hosting part of the cycling road race (both the womens and mens races) and we were interested to see how preparations were going. The cyclists will be racing up and down Box Hill as part of the road race before heading back into London from whence they came.

They will no doubt appreciate the newly re-surfaced road, but the freshly erected signs will probably be no more than a blur as they whizz past, on the way from Dorking to the top of the hill.

Apart from the new road surface and signs there didn’t seem to be a great deal to indicate that the Olympics were coming. There has been a bit of clearance along the roadside, where spectators will be crowded, but apart from that you could be forgiven for not noticing the approaching furore.

Of course the cyclists will not have time to enjoy the view from the top of Box Hill over the town of Dorking, Surrey. A view made all the better for the presence of a trig point. Nor will they have to experience the steep and slightly treacherous descent down the side of the hill, which was nice and slippery after the recent rainfall. Unfortunately that all means they will miss the joy of having to pick their way across the River Mole on the concrete stepping-stones.

The closest railway station is Box Hill and Westhumble, Westhumble is the village to west of the railway line and Box Hill is east of the station. It is a delightful little station which although short on facilities has quite a reasonable service. It’s survival is probably down to its role as a gateway to the North Downs.

When we visited it was receiving the attention of railworkers, who were busy excavating the southern end of the station, presumably to enable extension of the platforms in anticipation of the increase in traffic that the Olympics will bring.

In a fitting tribute to forthcoming Olympic games the workers were taking part in a their own relay. Taking it in turns to push wheelbarrows full of stones and soil along the length of the platform the skip waiting outside the station.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Wordless Wednesday: Wolstonbury Hill trig point

25 Jan

Wolstonbury Hill trig point looking west (7th January 2012)

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Wandering: West Dean – The Trundle – Singleton

15 Oct

My original plan for today was to visit the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester, West Sussex but once it became obvious earlier in the week that the weather for today was going to be relatively warm and bright I decided a change of plan was called for. As I had already promised my wife a trip to Chichester I decided to fulfil on of my long-held (well a few years held anyway) ambitions to visit The Trundle.

The Trundle is the name given to the iron-age hill-fort on top of St Roche’s Hill a few miles north of Chichester and just south of the ancestral village of Singleton, the hill-fort itself surrounds a much older neolithic causewayed enclosure and all manner of other ancient and not so ancient sites. As hill-forts go it is quite impressive, with the ditch and bank still being well defined.

There are many approaches to The Trundle, in fact about a quarter of a mile west of the summit of the hill is a spot called Seven Points, where the finger-post below indicates the possible directions (Binderton, Lavant, Goodwood, Trundle, Charlton, Singleton and West Dean). As you can see despite the slightly misty conditions the views were pretty spectacular, and I can’t believe I have never come across any reference to Seven Points before.

My approach to St Roche’s Hill and The Trundle was from West Dean, having got off the bus from Chichester at the Selsey Arms pub in West Dean, I headed south-east across the dried up River Lavant and began the climb up the hill, with the flint boundary wall of West Dean Park on my left as my guide. The path here is actually part of the Monarch’s Way and passes through a couple of stretches of woodland before heading in a more easterly direction to Seven Points. The views on this part of the route were pretty impressive themselves, looking across to the other side of the river valley.

From Seven Points the path heads up the hill to the east, with the radio mast on The Trundle dominating the skyline. I seem to be becoming more tolerant of these artificial intrusions in the landscape, especially when they act as beacons and navigational aids to the walker. There is plenty to see on The Trundle itself, many lumps and bumps, quite apart from the main ditch and bank, however the views from the hilltop were quite breathtaking.

A full 360° panorama and even with the mist it was still possible to see for miles, the spire of Chichester Cathedral was clearly visible and Chichester Harbour, further west I could just about make out Portsmouth and to the south-west the bulky outline of the Isle of Wight. I found myself wishing for a clearer day, but knew that I would be returning again one day, hopefully in better conditions to take in more of this spectacular landscape, which unfortunately my digital camera did not do justice to.

Much closer to the hill, in fact butting up against the hill to east is Goodwood Race Course, another man-made structure which didn’t seem to intrude quite as much as I had expected, although that may not be the case on an actual race day.

To the north the views were not quite as far ranging due to the presence of the South Downs, but still pretty spectacular, especially being able to look down (see below) on the ancestral village of Singleton from such a fantastic vantage point. Singleton was the end point of the walk today and it was pretty much all downhill from The Trundle, heading in a northerly direction, first along the road to Charlton and then branching off to the left on a footpath down the spur of Knight’s Hill. The path leading me down, quite steeply near the end, to the parish church at Singleton with so many family connections.

The walk didn’t take long, around two hours and was probably somewhere between 3½ and 4 miles in length and thus not particularly challenging, but I would have to say that it was probably my favourite walk of the year. I have walked in some of the most beautiful parts of Sussex this year whilst doing the South Downs Way but I don’t think anything came close to today. Perhaps it was the fact that it was new to me, perhaps the beautiful weather for this time of year, perhaps the ancestral connections or maybe just that I needed to get out and let my mind wander as well as my legs. I think I made the correct decision not to go to the record office after all.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Wandering: South Downs Way – Exceat to Southease

21 May

When my wife and I left home it looked like it was going to be a nice day, but the weather soon turned misty and before we had reached the south coast the sun had disappeared and we were beginning to wonder whether we would actually be able see anything as we walked along the South Downs.

For the first couple of hours it was somewhat disappointing, with very limited views. The photo below is of one of my favourite views, Cuckmere Haven, but as you can see the mist is creeping in from the sea. Compare this to the crystal clear view I had just over a year ago when I walked the same stretch of the South Downs Way.

Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex

Fortunately the cloud did begin to break up around lunchtime and by the time we left Alfriston it was starting to warm up. There was a slight breeze which helped to keep us still cooler. The mist didn’t clear completely, but the views to the north across the Weald were quite good and eventually the views to the coastal town of Newhaven also improved.

Instead of going into a blow-by-blow account of the walk I am going to give you some facts and figures for today’s walk:

Starting point: Seven Sisters Country Park, Exceat, East Sussex
Finishing point: Southease railway station, Southease, East Sussex
Distance walked: 10.1 miles
Highest point: Firle Beacon (713 ft)
Places of note: Exceat, West Dean, Friston Forest, Litlington, Alfriston, Bostal Hill, Firle Beacon, Beddingham Hill, Itford Hill and Southease
Number of trig points spotted: Two – Firle Beacon and White Lion Pond
Number of sandwiches eaten: One (egg and cress)
Time spent waiting for sandwich: Too long
Number of bus journeys taken: Three
Number of train journeys taken: One
Number of ice creams eaten: Zero
Shorts or long trousers: Long trousers (a bit too breezy)

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Wandering: South Downs Way – Eastbourne to Exceat

7 May

A little over a year since I started walking the South Downs Way I was back in Eastbourne, East Sussex starting it all over again. This time I was accompanied by my wife, who has decided that she would also like to walk the South Downs Way (SDW) this year. This year I had planned to take a week off work and walk the route in one go, but for now we will be walking it together over several months.

The route is now quite familiar to me, I have only walked it a few times but have revisited it in my mind and in my digital photo albums many times. I won’t go into the details of the route here, beyond the basics: head west from Eastbourne up onto the hills, across Beachy Head, past Belle Tout lighthouse, drop down to the National Trust cafe and bar at Birling Gap, up to the start of the Seven Sisters, up and down the Seven Sisters several times and finally down to the Cuckmere River and along to Exceat.

Weather conditions were generally good for walking, probably more a little more sunshine than cloud with a few very light (and brief) showers. All in all it was a good walk, the Seven Sisters didn’t cause me any real problems and although my legs and feet were tired they soon recovered.

I hope to try to make this walk of the first section of the South Downs Way an annual occurrence, at least for as long as I am capable of completing it. For now though I will leave you with a few photos.

Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex (7th May 2011)

Seaford Head and Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex (7th May 2011)

The obligatory trig point photo - Cliff End trig point, Seven Sisters, East Sussex (7th May 2011)

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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