LONG MAN OF WILMINGTON    This white chalk figure cut into the hillside, whose origins are very unclear, stands at 72 metres high. No one can quite decide whether the figure originates from the Iron Age or as research suggests the 16th century. No matter when this figure appeared on Wilmington Hill it is a natural gathering point for other human beings. If you were hiking in the area in the late 1920’s you may have stumbled upon an unusual bunch called the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, a youth movement that had grown out of the scouts. Its members included former suffragettes, explorers, teachers and authors, at first glance they could easily conjure up visions of a sinister secret society, however, the group’s ideological aims were to bring about world peace through a respect of the outdoors and crafts.

LONG MAN OF WILMINGTON

This white chalk figure cut into the hillside, whose origins are very unclear, stands at 72 metres high. No one can quite decide whether the figure originates from the Iron Age or as research suggests the 16th century. No matter when this figure appeared on Wilmington Hill it is a natural gathering point for other human beings. If you were hiking in the area in the late 1920’s you may have stumbled upon an unusual bunch called the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, a youth movement that had grown out of the scouts. Its members included former suffragettes, explorers, teachers and authors, at first glance they could easily conjure up visions of a sinister secret society, however, the group’s ideological aims were to bring about world peace through a respect of the outdoors and crafts.

   SOUND MIRRORS - DUNGENESS    There are three sound mirrors, or listening ears, that are a walk-able distance from Dungeness at Greatstone Lakes. These listening devices were built between 1928-1930 to detect incoming enemy aircraft. There were great limitations to their use, at best they could only offer a 15 minute warning of the impending aerial threat, and this became even less as the speed of aircraft developed. After relatively short-lived service, they were finally abandoned when radar was invented in 1935. The three curved concrete structures vary in design and size, with the largest measuring nearly 61 meters in diameter. A few other sound mirrors can be found on the cliffs to the east along this stretch of coast.  The island where they stand is not usually accessible. A 2 metre wide trench of water makes them tantalisingly close but unfortunately keeps you at a distance. You can only access these giants directly on rare open days held by the local RSBP, but you can reach this viewing point by crossing the shingle behind Romney Sands Holiday Park, or by walking north from Dungeness.

SOUND MIRRORS - DUNGENESS

There are three sound mirrors, or listening ears, that are a walk-able distance from Dungeness at Greatstone Lakes. These listening devices were built between 1928-1930 to detect incoming enemy aircraft. There were great limitations to their use, at best they could only offer a 15 minute warning of the impending aerial threat, and this became even less as the speed of aircraft developed. After relatively short-lived service, they were finally abandoned when radar was invented in 1935. The three curved concrete structures vary in design and size, with the largest measuring nearly 61 meters in diameter. A few other sound mirrors can be found on the cliffs to the east along this stretch of coast.

The island where they stand is not usually accessible. A 2 metre wide trench of water makes them tantalisingly close but unfortunately keeps you at a distance. You can only access these giants directly on rare open days held by the local RSBP, but you can reach this viewing point by crossing the shingle behind Romney Sands Holiday Park, or by walking north from Dungeness.

   NUCLEAR POWER STATION - DUNGENESS    The Dungeness A and B power stations are an unavoidable yet unconventional point of interest in the area. Dungeness A has now been decommissioned after initially being switched on in 1965. The building is slowly being demolished, eventually leaving the two defunct nuclear reactor cores in place. Dungeness B, its huge neighbour, remains operational, powering around 1.5 million of London’s 3.5 million house-holds.  As a visitor to this area, the sheer proximity and dominance of the power stations can add an unsettling undertone to a trip, a reality which becomes especially stark when reading one of the ‘emergency procedures’ boards dotted around the estate. However, if you are lucky enough to spend a night in Dungeness, there is a gentle beauty in the mass of twinkling lights, and something almost comforting about the 24/7 activity buzzing away within these giants.  If you want to get closer than the perimeter wall allows, and get a more in-depth look at the internal workings of the power station, including a view of the reactors from up above,  free tours  run on weekdays and can be arranged by appointment and security check only.

NUCLEAR POWER STATION - DUNGENESS

The Dungeness A and B power stations are an unavoidable yet unconventional point of interest in the area. Dungeness A has now been decommissioned after initially being switched on in 1965. The building is slowly being demolished, eventually leaving the two defunct nuclear reactor cores in place. Dungeness B, its huge neighbour, remains operational, powering around 1.5 million of London’s 3.5 million house-holds.

As a visitor to this area, the sheer proximity and dominance of the power stations can add an unsettling undertone to a trip, a reality which becomes especially stark when reading one of the ‘emergency procedures’ boards dotted around the estate. However, if you are lucky enough to spend a night in Dungeness, there is a gentle beauty in the mass of twinkling lights, and something almost comforting about the 24/7 activity buzzing away within these giants.

If you want to get closer than the perimeter wall allows, and get a more in-depth look at the internal workings of the power station, including a view of the reactors from up above, free tours run on weekdays and can be arranged by appointment and security check only.

   STARLINGS - BRIGHTON    During the autumn months, the skies above the Sussex landscape become the stage for one of wildlife’s greatest performances. As evening comes, clouds of starlings in numbers of up to 100,000 swoop and dive in unison as they group together for warmth and protection. Both Brighton piers play host to this spectacle known as murmurations, in one of the rarer examples of industrial structures chosen as roosting sites.

STARLINGS - BRIGHTON

During the autumn months, the skies above the Sussex landscape become the stage for one of wildlife’s greatest performances. As evening comes, clouds of starlings in numbers of up to 100,000 swoop and dive in unison as they group together for warmth and protection. Both Brighton piers play host to this spectacle known as murmurations, in one of the rarer examples of industrial structures chosen as roosting sites.

   BALSDEAN VALLEY - SOUTH DOWNS NATIONAL PARK    Balsdean is a deserted hamlet located just north of Rottingdean. There is little remaining of the original dwelling, which once consisted of farm buildings and a medieval church. One of the two farms was eventually used as a lunatic asylum and the rest disappeared during the Second World War after the area was used for target practice.  The fields hidden in this valley are worth a trip to see in the early summer months. As working farmland, the precision and pattern is at its greatest when the regimental lines of growth, and block colour intensity, start to show. You may find yourself responsible for cutting the path into newly growing crops, making your way across the valley with various grains brushing past your legs. And days with a slight breeze are even better, transforming the patchwork of corn fields, rape and long grasses into rolling green waves. As the summer months pass, a scattered audience of poppies break up the agricultural rigour, lining the tracks and infiltrating the crop. It’s worth taking a moment to look down on these fields if you approach from the higher footpaths.

BALSDEAN VALLEY - SOUTH DOWNS NATIONAL PARK

Balsdean is a deserted hamlet located just north of Rottingdean. There is little remaining of the original dwelling, which once consisted of farm buildings and a medieval church. One of the two farms was eventually used as a lunatic asylum and the rest disappeared during the Second World War after the area was used for target practice.

The fields hidden in this valley are worth a trip to see in the early summer months. As working farmland, the precision and pattern is at its greatest when the regimental lines of growth, and block colour intensity, start to show. You may find yourself responsible for cutting the path into newly growing crops, making your way across the valley with various grains brushing past your legs. And days with a slight breeze are even better, transforming the patchwork of corn fields, rape and long grasses into rolling green waves. As the summer months pass, a scattered audience of poppies break up the agricultural rigour, lining the tracks and infiltrating the crop. It’s worth taking a moment to look down on these fields if you approach from the higher footpaths.

   MERIDIAN LINE - PEACEHAVEN    The Meridian, or line of Longitude, is an imaginary line which runs directly between the North and South Pole. It divides the Eastern from the Western Hemisphere and every place on earth is measured in terms of it’s distance from this line. It runs through the main telescope at the Greenwich Observatory in London, and it was here that, in 1884, delegates from 25 countries named this point Longitude 0° and therefore the centre of world time.  The line runs directly south out of the capital and ultimately exits the UK into the channel at the cliffs in Peacehaven. The point is marked with an obelisk, erected in 1936. Due to cliff erosion, it has been relocated north (a total of 55 feet) twice since then.

MERIDIAN LINE - PEACEHAVEN

The Meridian, or line of Longitude, is an imaginary line which runs directly between the North and South Pole. It divides the Eastern from the Western Hemisphere and every place on earth is measured in terms of it’s distance from this line. It runs through the main telescope at the Greenwich Observatory in London, and it was here that, in 1884, delegates from 25 countries named this point Longitude 0° and therefore the centre of world time.

The line runs directly south out of the capital and ultimately exits the UK into the channel at the cliffs in Peacehaven. The point is marked with an obelisk, erected in 1936. Due to cliff erosion, it has been relocated north (a total of 55 feet) twice since then.

   NAVIGATIONAL STRUCTURES - DUNGENESS    A number of unusual wooden structures can be found on the shingle beaches at Dungeness, like totem poles or a remnant from some long forgotten folklore tradition. A huge ’T’ shaped structure stands near the lighthouses, and a large ‘X’ shape and diamond can be seen on the beach in front of the power stations.  Originally these structures were used for navigation as boats approached the shore. When Dungeness A was built it obscured the church steeple at Lydd, a previously prominent landmark to the north. Lining up these wooden structures would allow boats to safely find their route home. Who knows how they found their way back on a foggy day?

NAVIGATIONAL STRUCTURES - DUNGENESS

A number of unusual wooden structures can be found on the shingle beaches at Dungeness, like totem poles or a remnant from some long forgotten folklore tradition. A huge ’T’ shaped structure stands near the lighthouses, and a large ‘X’ shape and diamond can be seen on the beach in front of the power stations.

Originally these structures were used for navigation as boats approached the shore. When Dungeness A was built it obscured the church steeple at Lydd, a previously prominent landmark to the north. Lining up these wooden structures would allow boats to safely find their route home. Who knows how they found their way back on a foggy day?

   VIEWS FROM THE OLD LIGHTHOUSE - DUNGENESS    The drift of shingle in this area has re-shaped the land enough times that five lighthouses have been and gone since the 1600’s. Historically, lighthouses have been vital on this headland as the re-shaping of the shingle made Dungeness a hotspot for shipwrecks.  Today, two lighthouses are standing, the no-longer-operational black Victorian ‘ Old Lighthouse ’ is another landmark which became obstructed by the construction of the power stations, and this led to its final, still operational, replacement.  The use of drones may not be permitted on the estate, but a walk up the 169 steps to the very top of the lighthouse gives equally impressive views. The bands of shingle ridges that form Dungeness can easily be seen from above, and on a clear day even the shores of France are visible.

VIEWS FROM THE OLD LIGHTHOUSE - DUNGENESS

The drift of shingle in this area has re-shaped the land enough times that five lighthouses have been and gone since the 1600’s. Historically, lighthouses have been vital on this headland as the re-shaping of the shingle made Dungeness a hotspot for shipwrecks.

Today, two lighthouses are standing, the no-longer-operational black Victorian ‘Old Lighthouse’ is another landmark which became obstructed by the construction of the power stations, and this led to its final, still operational, replacement.

The use of drones may not be permitted on the estate, but a walk up the 169 steps to the very top of the lighthouse gives equally impressive views. The bands of shingle ridges that form Dungeness can easily be seen from above, and on a clear day even the shores of France are visible.

   THE DADDY LONG LEGS - BRIGHTON    The still operating  Volks railway , running from Palace Pier to Black Rock, once had an ambitious extension. In 1896, Magnus Volk, local engineer and dreamer, built a sea-faring carriage which ran through the shallows at high tide.  The Daddy Long Legs , called so for it’s 7m high stilts, was a pier-like saloon carrying up to 30 passengers along the coastline, powered by electricity, conducted through the water.  The fate of the Daddy Long Legs was short lived. After suffering severe storm damage just 6 days in, the enterprise struggled on for just 4 years before lack of both funds, and sea defences stood in it tracks. Legacy of this ill-fated invention remain in the shape of slowly eroding concrete sleepers which are still visible at low tide east of the marina.

THE DADDY LONG LEGS - BRIGHTON

The still operating Volks railway, running from Palace Pier to Black Rock, once had an ambitious extension. In 1896, Magnus Volk, local engineer and dreamer, built a sea-faring carriage which ran through the shallows at high tide. The Daddy Long Legs, called so for it’s 7m high stilts, was a pier-like saloon carrying up to 30 passengers along the coastline, powered by electricity, conducted through the water.

The fate of the Daddy Long Legs was short lived. After suffering severe storm damage just 6 days in, the enterprise struggled on for just 4 years before lack of both funds, and sea defences stood in it tracks. Legacy of this ill-fated invention remain in the shape of slowly eroding concrete sleepers which are still visible at low tide east of the marina.

   LEWES BONFIRE - LEWES    On the 5th of November every year the bonfire societies of Sussex meet in Lewes for the biggest gathering of it’s kind. The societies take to the streets, multiple bonfires light the sky, and the deep rumble of large quantities of fireworks can be heard around every corner. The town is filled with eager onlookers ready to observe the yearly spectacle.  If you find yourself accidentally strolling into one of the smaller villages surrounding Lewes on a different Autumn evening, you may witness a large procession of torch baring villagers heading your way in one of the many other bonfire celebrations that happen in this part of the country.

LEWES BONFIRE - LEWES

On the 5th of November every year the bonfire societies of Sussex meet in Lewes for the biggest gathering of it’s kind. The societies take to the streets, multiple bonfires light the sky, and the deep rumble of large quantities of fireworks can be heard around every corner. The town is filled with eager onlookers ready to observe the yearly spectacle.

If you find yourself accidentally strolling into one of the smaller villages surrounding Lewes on a different Autumn evening, you may witness a large procession of torch baring villagers heading your way in one of the many other bonfire celebrations that happen in this part of the country.

   CONCRETE PILLBOXES - CUCKMERE    This valley has always provided a point of easy access inland from the sea, making it one of the beaches along this stretch of coast preferred by smugglers. There are no traces left of this once secretive trade, however, because of its vulnerability, the valley still bears the scars of its World War Two defences. Concrete pillboxes quietly peer down from the surrounding hillsides.

CONCRETE PILLBOXES - CUCKMERE

This valley has always provided a point of easy access inland from the sea, making it one of the beaches along this stretch of coast preferred by smugglers. There are no traces left of this once secretive trade, however, because of its vulnerability, the valley still bears the scars of its World War Two defences. Concrete pillboxes quietly peer down from the surrounding hillsides.

   VIRGINIA WOOLF - RODMELL    The novelist and playwright Virginia Woolf lived with her husband, Leonard Woolf, at  Monk’s House  in Rodmell, from 1919 until Virginia’s death in 1941. During these years, the house was frequently visited by fellow intellectual writers, artists and friends who, alongside the Woolfs, made up the so-called Bloomsbury Group.  Virginia suffered from what would now be termed Bipolar Disorder, which resulted in spells of manic depression and ultimately her death. On The 28th March 1941, she filled the pockets of her overcoat with stones and walked into the River Ouse between Lewes and Newhaven and drowned herself. Her cremated remains are buried under the elm at Monk’s House.

VIRGINIA WOOLF - RODMELL

The novelist and playwright Virginia Woolf lived with her husband, Leonard Woolf, at Monk’s House in Rodmell, from 1919 until Virginia’s death in 1941. During these years, the house was frequently visited by fellow intellectual writers, artists and friends who, alongside the Woolfs, made up the so-called Bloomsbury Group.

Virginia suffered from what would now be termed Bipolar Disorder, which resulted in spells of manic depression and ultimately her death. On The 28th March 1941, she filled the pockets of her overcoat with stones and walked into the River Ouse between Lewes and Newhaven and drowned herself. Her cremated remains are buried under the elm at Monk’s House.