South Downs Way – notes from day 4

(Cocking to Houghton)

The hospitality last night was wonderful and made up for a tiring day. A good meal, good sleep and good breakfast have helped me feel more human again today.

The long down hill section that nearly finished me yesterday!

This is a shorter day and not too many hills so far. Highlights so far have been an early trig point and stunning views across the south coast, including the many wind turbines off-shore from Shoreham [which I saw every day onwards from here].

south downs way trig point
trig point near Cocking
RIP Rolo

I came off the route to visit the Roman villa at Bignor – light lunch (aka a stodgy scone, bag of crisps & slice of fruit cake!!) and a bit of culture before I head back up again. Bizarrely the site here has no electricity so the urn & fridge run off gas cylinders! They do however have some pretty amazing mosaics from the original flooring – and the slightly macabre remnants of the bones of two babies. 

I’ll add more later when I’ve picked the cherries out of my fruit cake and taken photos of mosaics….

Bignor, South Downs Way
Dining room floor, with underfloor heating obvs!

Cultural interlude complete – a 3-mile, 2-hour round-trip – I headed back up the very steep hill to the SDW and got back on with my stroll through this green and pleasant land. My Pacerpoles have been put to good use every day so far – there have been gradients that I don’t think I could have done without them – except maybe by sliding on my bottom going downhill!!

I only got these poles three days before I left home, having used different poles while I was training, but I am really pleased I switched. The design of the handles is brilliant – light and comfortable to hold with no straps to irritate my hands and wrists – and I now feel well-practised in the different technique required for Pacerpoles. I’ll write more about them later…

Nothing much to report – more stunning views, more hills, a few more people out and about today – and I arrived at my home for the night at 4pm.

South Downs Way near Bury
south downs way views

An hour later my bed is made, I’m clean, my clothes are clean and going through a spin cycle in the washing machine and there’s green tea in my mug – happy days. 

I felt like a more seasoned adventurer today – I remembered to buy water when I stopped to eat and unlike every other day so far there were no careless wrong-turns made immediately after lunch. Feeling proud!! 

Today I’ve been dreaming of a veggie burger, in a bun with fries on the side. I’m sending vibes to the pub down the road as I post this…[I had to settle for a halloumi burger which was pretty good!]

Tomorrow, just after I leave here I will hit the official half way point for the SDW, although my mileage is already more than that…

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