Postcard Album: Dyke Hill and Poynings Church, Sussex

4 Feb

Below is another view of Devil’s Dyke, West Sussex looking south-west towards the north face of the hill, showing Poynings Church in the foreground with it’s solid square tower, but then the caption already told you that.

This postcard is unused, but the back reveals that it was No. 30 in The Brighton Palace Series XVIII, which means it was published by the Handwercks of Brighton, Sussex and probably dates from around 1912-13.

Apart from the farm buildings and haystacks in the foreground, the other interesting feature of this card is the steep grade railway on the side of the hill. That light coloured strip running half-way down the side of the hill marks the course of the railway.

It was a funicular railway transporting visitors up and down the side of the hill, supposedly to enable visitors to the Dyke to all visit the villages at the foot of the Downs, but as you can see it didn’t really go all the way, and I suspect it was of little practical value.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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3 Responses to “Postcard Album: Dyke Hill and Poynings Church, Sussex”

  1. Ian Gates February 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Wonderful period view! And surprisingly little changed from all those years ago, thank goodness; some friends of mine recently moved from a bungalow sited near where those trees are at the foot of the slope, and the views from their living room were spectacular. Not sure that I approve of the church tower being floodlit, though. I think the picture conceals the final stretch of the funicular, because it appears that there were 3 different gradients, the lowest stretch nearest the village being least steep. It only lasted ten years or so, and I can’t say that I regret the fact, as it seems very out of place in that setting- but then so do the hang-gliders who use that area nowadays!

    • John Gasson February 13, 2012 at 7:24 am #

      Hi Ian,

      Of course you are right, the railway did go further down the hill, I should have known that because I have postcards showing the full length of the railway. I agree it doesn’t fit in well with the surrounding countryside, although as a railway fan it would have been nice to see it in action.



  1. Postcard Album: Steep Grade Railway, Devil’s Dyke, Sussex « The Wandering Genealogist - March 17, 2012

    […] weeks ago I mentioned the steep grade railway that once ran up and down the side of the South Downs at Devil’s Dyke […]

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