Wednesday, 28 May 2014

South Downs Way Day 1 Wednesday 28 May

Distance walked - about 20 miles plus 2 getting to the SDW.

As I'd overnighted outside Winchester last night, it seemed like too much faf to go into the city to find the official starting point of the SDW, which runs from Winchester to Eastbourne, a distance of 108 miles. I therefore made my way to the village of Chilcomb, about 1.5 miles along the Way.

Here's where I joined the Way
There was light rain but it made for pleasant walking. The SDW is quite well used, being a National Trail in the south of England. As I was starting mid week, I expected to have it largely to myself. Two pairs of cyclists passed me, both using B&Bs. I intend camping, apart from tomorrow night. The walk should take five days.

Just past Cheesefoot Head

The next village was Exton. Before I reached it, I met a couple coming towards me, having walked from Eastbourne, today being their last day. They said the Way was extremely muddy the other side of Exton. When I got to the village, I planned a slightly different route which I hoped would avoid the mud. It was rather a waste of time though. Along a narrow lane, there was a flood of around 100 yards so I removed footwear and walked through bare foot. After that, when I headed back to the SDW, there was plenty of mud.

The Way passes over chalk downs and so water can be scarce. I've marked on my map where taps can be found. It hasn't been a problem so far.

I later met a young couple walking the Way but they seem to be using hotels. Light rain came and went but I didn't always bother with a waterproof. I stopped at 5.45 to cook a meal and then walked on till 8pm to camp on Butser Hill, looking down on the A3. It's a bit foggy but very still and quiet.

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1 comment:

  1. As an exiled Southerner living in Manchester I shall look forward to reading your trip report. It's a long time since I've walked in that part of the world!