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On the road again - 11 - The South Downs, part 2 - Butser Hill

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

After saying farewell to the coffee vendor I moved on. We continued following the road, passing the car park on the right, which did indeed have a height barrier. Following the road, we crossed Teglease Down, Long Down, past Salt Hill, through Hyden Wood, eventually reaching the village of Clanfield. I turned left and continued out of the village. Immediately after the last house I took the road that forked off to the left. It took us to Gravel Hill. At the end of the road, I turned left down the steep hill and joined the main A3 London road for a mile or so. I took the slip road and followed it round and back under the highway to height barriers.

I was hoping to find a nice spot in the woods there. Fortunately, there was plenty of room to do a U- turn. I then went back to just before the junction from the A3, where I backed into an evidently quiet lane. I got the map out. Just then a couple of cyclists passed by. They stopped and asked me if I was lost. I explained the problem of the height barrier and asked them whether they knew of somewhere quiet. “Yes.” they said. Then proceeded to give me directions to the very top of Butser Hill. I thanked them heartily.

I followed the long and complicated route back onto the A3 southbound. Then at the next junction, some miles off, did a U-turn rejoining the A3 northbound. I returned all the way back to the junction that took me to Gravel Hill. At the top, I turned onto the road back to Clanfield. In the village at the inn, I turned right and followed the long, often narrow lane up and up to the end, where it met a road at a right angle bend. I continued ahead. Again, quite narrow, though there were a few little laybys. We continued up. The road ended at a sizeable car park to the left.

I noticed that the car park barriers were open and the ticket machines were not working. I turned into the car park. It was big enough, but didn’t feel inviting and besides, I had already spotted a brilliant parking spot, right next to a Hawthorn that was absolutely loaded with haws. I turned back onto the road, then reversed back as far as I could get. The Hawthorn was right at my door. I could easily reach out and pick the haws. (As you may remember, that little fruit keeps me alive). Immediately behind, was the footpath that led to the summit. I left plenty of room for access.

Butser Hill is one of the highest points on the South Downs, at nearly 900’. The views are incredible. One can clearly see the Isle of Wight. I felt so comfortable that I spent a few days there. Rangers came by now and then, but never took any notice of me.

One morning, I was up really early, not sure why, I just was. I made a cup of tea, then Rowan and I went for a walk to watch the morning sunrise. Arian wasn’t interested. She stayed behind, snoozing.

We had a beautiful sunrise. Rowan played in the morning dew. A little after the Sun was up a rainbow appeared in the East (ish. More northeast, really.) It was a full arc. It was a glorious morning.

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