Sunday, 27 July 2014

Chanctonbury Ring

Sorry for the break  - but it was needed. Hopefully it will now be back to the usual weekly postings!

So this weekend was a trip to see some friends in Chichester.  I've posted from there in the past and I was sure this trip would provide no new material but I  had completely failed to realise how close it is to Chanctonbury Ring.

So a detour on the way home. Fortunately the heat of yesterday had moderated as it's a long climb up. The gradient isn't too bad but there is the ever present hazard of the trail cyclists to contend with - one almost flattened some fellow walkers pet spaniel.

The view from the bottom. Thanks to the magic of a zoom lens it doesn't look that far...

I was glad to see the final approach though! The beech trees were originally planted in 1760 but many were blown down in 1987. They have been replanted and are now of a reasonable size. As well as beech there were ash and oak there today. I was eyeing up the oak apples but they were still green and I left them for the moths.

Whilst the South Downs path which runs alongside the hill fort was busy with walkers and cyclists, most were giving the ring a wide berth and for the most part we had it to ourselves. Whether this was due to its rather sinister reputation or familiarity/disinterest I have no idea but I wasn't complaining.

There is a Romano/Celtic temple on the site but it is now covered by undergrowth - mostly nettles and I wasn't brave enough to venture off the paths that criss cross the small fort. Legends abound here especially the tale of the devil offering a bowl of soup/porridge in exchange for your soul should you circumnavigate the fort x number of times. An old folk memory of ancient rites? Who knows.

It is reputed to be a haunted and "creepy" place where no birds sing and no animals live. There are plenty of tales of people attempting to stay the night and being frightened off and of dogs and horses refusing to pass.

I loved it.
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