Walking in the South Downs: day two
Second day of a two-day walk in the South Downs, tried and tested by environment and travel journalist, Mark Rowe. You'll start at Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve, taking in great views as you follow the South Downs Way towards the hamlet of Southease.
Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve, grid ref: TQ325134
If walking from Ditchling, it's preferable to avoid the traffic by taking the public footpath just east of the post office (TQ327152) that sweeps diagonally south-east towards The Nye, then due south past Jointer Copse, crossing Underhill Lane to climb steadily up to the ridge just east of Ditchling Beacon.
Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve
One of the highest points on the South Downs and the site of an Iron Age fort, Dichling Beacon is a steep chalk hill rich in open grassland. The 20 hectare nature reserve on the escarpment is home to a variety of butterflies, birds and insects.
The South Downs Way is clearly marked form here, heading east before turning south (TQ37012) and zig-zagging down to Housedean Farm.
Exmoor ponies (similar to the ones shown here) graze above the folds of Cold Coombes, not far from Direction 2 of this walk. They help to keep scrub at bay and allow the chalk downlands to flourish.
Continue to follow the South Downs Way as it sweeps around Swanborough Hill before picking up the Military Road to Southease.
In summer, the South Downs teems with wildlife. Look out for everything from chalkhill blue and brown Argus butterflies, to whitethroats, yellowhammers, bees and beetles.
Southease train station, grid ref: TQ432055
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