Not my first walk in England but my first on the South Downs Trail which stretches a long way from Winchester to Eastborne on the south coast of England.
With only three days to walk I was limited to but a small portion of the trail. I started on the outskirts of Brighton and walked eastward toward Lewes covering about 5o km of beautiful countryside.
Unlike other walks I’ve done in England and Portugal, this one was not organized by a walking company. I visited the South Downs walk web-site, got some maps, made a first night reservation and set off. Most importantly I packed very light, small back pack and a camera.
I walked about 16 km through fields and up and over the Downs and back down into the valleys. Lots of other walkers and plenty of livestock to keep me company. Although it was the last of September there were still beautiful gardens and wild flowers and walking along the ridges of the Downs allowed me to look down on the misty fields below.
On my last day of walking, I managed to return to the South Downs Trail from Lewes. It had rained in the night and some of the paths were muddy but the sun was out and things soon began to dry.
I walked to Rodmell, the town where Virginia Woolf and her husband had a cottage near the river Ous. This is where Virginia waded in with her pockets full of rocks. The National Trust has opened the house and visitors can see where Virginia spent her last days before her suicide. It was quite stirring to realize that she lived in a time when women were very devalued and those attitudes combined with her immense intelligence must have made life unbearable for her.
Having short distances to cover each day meant I was able to visit and enjoy many of the sights along the way. Definitely something to consider when planning my next walk.