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Wolstonbury Hill from Clayton

Here’s an extra walk. This one can't be approached directly from Lewes but can be easily reached by car, or by bus from Brighton.

Its length is 5.5 Km, elevation 260 m and will take approx. 2.5 hours

The start is at the Jack and Jill pub on the A273 (London Rd) BN6 9PD. You can Park in Clayton Recreation Ground, opposite the church, in nearby Clayton (TQ 300140), or, you may get permission to park in the pub.

There are many buses along London Road: 40, 40X, 134, 273, A1, A12, C3 from Brighton to various places Northwards.

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Walk up New Way Lane next to the Jack and Jill pub. Note the folly over the rail tunnel

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Turn left up the bridleway. Walk right up to the top of the hill.

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Turn right at top of the hill and walk along the ridge. Note the unfolding views. Behind you are the Jack and Jill Windmills. To the right is the Weald, made of fertile clay soil and beyond are the North Downs. Near the top to your left the sea can be seen at Brighton, also a view of Devil's Dyke.

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Turn right through the gate and walk up to explore the earthworks: bearing right and go round anticlockwise (this circuit is not shown on the GoogleMap). See below for details of the view. Watch out for the local rare breeds of sheep and cattle and, if possible, go and say hello: both can be very friendly.

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After doing the circuit, walk over the top to face Northwards and, a little way down the hill, find the steep footpath, looking like a series of cut steps heading in the direction of Hurtpierpoint College and the stud farm immediately below. Down you go; the steps make it easier than it looks.  Go into the trees at the bottom and look for a large tree in a hollow on your right currently festooned with kids’ rope swings.

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For those who don’t fancy the steep descent, there is a less steep, much quicker but less interesting way down from the N E opposite the Jack and Jill windmills. This path takes you straight down to waymark 9. At the bottom, it’s left after the gate and the wm 9 stile is on your right.

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Turn right after the tree in the hollow and walk along the path to a stile. Turn left and down after the stile.

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This path soon reaches a crossing with a bridleway. We are going straight ahead (actually a quick left then right on the bridleway) to carry on along a less obvious woodland path. This soon come to a T junction with a larger path, where you should turn right and carry on along the path that skirts the lower edge of the wood, which comprises a fine mixed deciduous copse. Ignore the first set of steps upwards.

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At the second set of steps to your right, the way ahead is marred by a particularly unpleasant bridleway. You can try the rough path along the wall to the left of the bridleway or, more fragrantly, take the steps up to your right and enjoy the wild garlic. At the top of the steps turn sharp left and then go down the next set of steps. Both ways take you to the wooden fence at Warenne. Walk along the now substantial path, with the fence on your left.

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Where the path turns right to re-enter the trees, take the stile to your left. Cross the field and walk up into the trees on the other side.

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Halfway up the hill, turn left  and onto the footpath above and to the left of the bridleway. At the next gate turn left and retrace your steps to the Jack and Jill.

If the bridleway path looks unpleasant, you can carry on up the steps and turn left at the top.

 

 


St John the Baptist Church in Clayton has wall paintings, which may be early 10th
century.

Tunnel Cottage

This amazing folly in the style of a Tudor fortress was built by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway Company. The signalman's cottage is situated between two towers. It is made of Caen stone and is Grade 2 listed.

see photo

Clayton Tunnel was the site of one of Britain's worst railway disasters in 1861, when an incorrect signal resulted in a train reversing inside the tunnel being hit from behind by the next train. 23 people were killed including two children and 176 injured.

The View and the Hill

Debate rages over the age of the fort on top of the hill. Some place it as early as the late Bronze age. See these links:
http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/6387
http://csweb.bournemouth.ac.uk/wolstonbury/wol_interp.html

Note that some, if not all, of the mysterious pits are probably the result of the fort being used for target practice during the 2nd WW.

The hill is an area of special Scientific Interest for its habitat and flora. It is maintained by a group of friends, whose web page is worth a browse before you go.

Going round anticlockwise: there's the Jack and Jill windmills on the horizon. The black Mill, Jack, is privately occupied. Jill has been restored and is set to work occasionally. The mills have interesting histories and have been the inspiration for a couple of important inventions (see link). There is no mention of the dramatic events during the night of the 1987 hurricane on the link, when, but for the bravery of one of the owners, Jill may well have been burnt to the ground. I note, however that the event is mentioned in the publication that is for sale on the link. The reconstructed events played an important part in a televised documentary on the hurricane.

Nearer, down in the valley is a 'working' dew pond.

To the North the squat ecclesiastical building is the chapel of Hurtpierpoint College and the church with the spire is at Hurstpierpoint village. Over at the North Downs, Box Hill can be seen, where Emma gained such a delightful scolding from Mr Knightly for being so dreadfully rude to poor Miss Bates.

Down on the North Western slopes, overlooking the only major blot on the landscape in the form of a large chalk quarry, the grass is kept short by the friendly South Downs Cross sheep and Welsh Black cattle. Also on these slopes are the orchids, which abound in spring. There is a fair bit of rare flora on the hill.

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