The walk started at around 9.20 am with a party of five - Clare, the leader, Patrick, Michele, me and a new member of the RA - and the Hampstead Group - who had not been on a led ramble before but walked a lot as part of his job as a postman. Unfortunately, after a very short distance he found the pace rather challenging and with the prospect of another 19+ miles agreed that his best option was to turn back.
[left-to-right, Jane, Clare and Michele.]
The weather was dry and warm but very hazy. The ground was very dry and firm underfoot and one notable feature of the walk was the numerous stiles we encountered. Many of them were small versions of the ladder type:
Our route also took us through fields containing free-range hens
llamas (or alpacas?)
and also many juicy blackberries
The most strenuous part of the walk was a stiffish climb up to Ditchling Beacon. From there we followed the South Downs Way to Blackcap then had a steep descent through woodland before reaching the 'Half Moon' at Plumpton for our lunch stop. Our return route to Wivelsfield took us past Plumpton racecourse and the Polish war memorial adjoining 'The Plough' at Plumpton
We stopped at 'The Cock Inn', Wivelsfield Green for a refreshing drink and arrived back at Wivelsfield Station at 5.23 pm just as the London-bound train was pulling in to the platform - excellent timing. We had walked 21 miles at an average speed of 3.5 mph whilst on the move (3.2 mph if only the lunch and 'tea' stops totalling 65 minutes are excluded).
[Report by Jane Rosoux, with many thanks....]