Chanctonbury Hill and Cliffe Hill,
South Downs

30 January 2005

Chanctonbury Hill

Chanctonbury Dewpond on Chanctonbury Hill in West Sussex
Chanctonbury Dewpond on the top of Chanctonbury Hill, north of Worthing in West Sussex. On the horizon centre-left can be seen the trig point (238m above sea level), and trees on the ancient hill fort of Chanctonbury Ring (about 242m above sea level)

trig point and beech trees of Chanctonbury Ring
Chanctonbury Ring from the trig point

earth bank of Iron Age hill fort at Chanctonbury Ring
Standing on the earth bank of the hill fort, with the ground declining into the accompanying ditch. Chanctonbury Ring is a small hill fort which commands extensive views across the weald to the north, and has the ridgeway, now part of the South Downs Way, running along its summit. Pottery found and carbon dating on an animal bone suggests the fort was built in the early Iron Age, in the 6th to 5th centuries BC, but some Bronze Age pottery has also been found on the site. There are the remains of Roman buildings within the Ring, including a temple, and another building which is thought to be Romano-British, and human remains approximately 1000 years old have been found there, demonstrating the long period over which the summit has been used by man.

Beech trees of Chanctonbury Ring
However, the fame of the Ring is due not to the hill fort itself but to the beech trees, which were planted in 1760 by Charles Goring. They became a prominent landmark, but were badly hit by the great storm of October 1987, and though replanted, will take many years yet to return to their past glory.

View from Chanctonbury Hill
Looking north as I descend towards the car park, a huge sand quarry is prominent, as are the hundreds of sheep filling the fields.

Cliffe Hill

golf course on Cliffe Hill near Lewes
The summit of Cliffe Hill near Lewes in East Sussex is occupied by a golf course.

boundary stone on Cliffe Hill near Lewes
A boundary stone on the descent back to Week Lane, marking the (old) boundary between Lewes and Glynde parishes.

dewpond on Cliffe Hill near Lewes
And coming full circle, another dew pond, this time dry.


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson