This is a full on up and Downs stretch. From Amberley to Pyecombe – 19 miles of challenge and beauty.

Only just got the train from Pulborough and then forgot to check it stopped at Amberley ( it did thankfully). Serious weather fronts greeted us as we climbed steeply up to the ridge above Amberley.

But visibility was good so we could see the sea and Bignor and beyond to the West. It was a day of farm animals – cows, sheep and pigs and lots of muck spreading whilst the soil was damp.

The ancient sound of Ravens cronking filled the air as four of these birds flew around our heads. The cooler weather helped us motor along to Chanctonbury Ring (via the dare-to-cross A24) a favourite spot for us and perfect place for a picnic. Twenty years on from our cycle and the trees have filled out significantly since the Great Storm.

Here we spotted a couple we fondly refer to as ‘the lesser spotted orange back’ – fellow travellers from Winchester to Eastbourne who, like us, are surprised so few people are undertaking this trek.

This next section from Chanctonbury to Steyning Bowl was alive with birds, wild flowers and butterflies – we had a great view of a corn bunting and even more amazing for the location, a great spotted woodpecker followed us down the chalky path flitting from post to post.

A decline into Botolph and I popped into the pretty St Botolph church to find the cast of a travelling drama group setting up for Macbeth.

Thanks to the South Downs Society we were able to fill up with water at a free standing tap before crossing our fourth river in the SDW – the Adur (Itchen, Meon and Arun before)

Whisky Way helped us up Devil’s Dyke and ¬†we enjoyed a further libation at the Pyecombe parting – Sophie headed left for her campsite and we went right to Tallia B and B.

Over two thirds of the way…discounting going in and out of Lewes and any other detours.

When I was struggling to gee myself up 22 miles in on day one I heard and ethereal voice whispering ‘come on’ (it was a cyclist coaching himself up the hill below). To Sophie and any wayfarers with sore feet I repeat ‘come on’. We can do this!

Lesser orange backs

Picnic at our favourite – Chanctonbury Ring

Weather front looking East from Amberley

Quick steps over A24