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Black Down

Since reaching the common land, I had seen the dark hill to the West. It was now time to head up onto it. I merely had to cross the main A283 Witley to Petworth road, then climb to what is the highest point in Sussex. All was going well until, on the narrow long hill known as Jay’s Lane, I had to come to a standstill at what turned out to be less than 150yds from the top. A couple of horse riders were coming in the opposite direction. By stopping, I had lost momentum and couldn’t get going again. The lane is simply too steep. I had no choice but to reverse back down the hill in the hope that I could find a section that was less steep in its incline to take a second run at it. Partway down, I spotted a side road leading to a farm. There was enough room, albeit just, to reverse into in order to turn around. However, the turn left to continue down the hill is a fraction tighter. I noticed that my caravan was uncomfortably close to the brick pillar that stands at the entrance of the road. I tried to shunt into a better position to get a better turn. The truck was having difficulty getting a grip on the road surface. Eventually, my caravan appeared to have cleared the pillar. I then continued down the hill. At the bottom, at the junction, I stopped to check the satellite map. I then turned right and continued on to the next right turn going up the hill. Although just as narrow, the incline is not as steep and is the road that I had been so close to when the climb had gone so awry. I continued on until we reached a sharp right bend. Noticing a wide track to the left, I stopped to investigate. The track leads into what turned out to be a peaceful, little used, secluded car park.

I settled into the best position for internet signal. As usual, it wasn’t brilliant, but there was a particular spot that had enough signal to work with. I then unstrapped the steps to set out by my door. It was then that I noticed the damage.

The door and doorway had a couple of nasty gouges and the windowsill had been ripped off completely.

Very upset, I set out my pitch and had a cup of tea. I then walked down to the scene of the incident. It was only a ten-minute walk. Incredibly, I found the sill in almost perfect condition. There, of course, was no other damage. The only evidence was the shavings of wood on the pillar that had been gouged from my caravan. I simply brushed it off and recovered the sill.

Back home, I decided to just chill out for the day. The next morning, I opened the back of the truck and started on the repairs. There wasn’t much I could do, other than to sand back the damaged area.

I took a my time to do the job, allowing for drying time. I also took the opportunity to do a couple of other jobs while I was at it.

I saw very few people, but those that I did were friendly. A couple of ladies that I had got chatting to were kind enough to lend a hand. I had prepared the area and was wondering how I was going to go about fixing the sill back into position, when Sarah and Heather appeared from their walk. I used a bonding mastic and the ladies kindly held the sill in position as I ran screws in from inside. Fortunately, as it is the bedroom window, the headboard hides the screw heads.

It’s not pretty, but it does; artistic licence; battle scars.

Early one morning, Rowan and I walked the short distance up to the summit for the sunrise.

The view across the Weald to the South Downs is glorious.

Black Down is at the northern extreme of the South Downs. Because of the bowl-like shape of the Weald, one can see across the Weald to the main bulk of the South Downs. At the point at which I watched the sunrise, Duncton Hill can be seen.

It was clear that I was going to need more time to explore, so I headed home with Rowan.

Later, I headed back.

Black Down is amazing. One can walk in circles around the hill without walking the same path twice!

There are some incredible views of the North Downs

all the way around

to the South Downs, where one can see Butser Hill in the far distance.

Scot’s Pine

Young Scot’s Pine cones

MacKay’s Heath

Gray Heath

Silver Birch


Sweet Chestnut

Young Holly



Black Chokeberry



There were a number of Lakenvelder bullocks grazing.


The lane along which I had traversed is known as Tennyson’s Lane. It was named so after Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who spent many years wandering along the lane. His house, Aldworth is next door to the car park in which I was parked. (Sorry, no photos).

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