Guest Blog from Brighton Area Buswatch:
I joined The Big Lemon on the first of their regular Sunday walks for 2016. A Big Lemon bus leaves Old Steine at 10:30 on the first Sunday of each month and takes passengers to the start of the walk. The same bus meets us again at the end of the walk which is always a pub with an opportunity for lunch. The April walk began at Bramber Castle near Steyning with a stroll around the castle remains. We then walked through the pretty village of Upper Beeding to the South Downs Way. It was a fairly steep walk up-hill from there, but the views from the top were outstanding. From there, we remained on an undulating ridge for most of the way to Devil’s Dyke, which took about two hours.
On the way from Upper Beeding up to the South Downs Way
Sheep with their new born lambs were plentiful as well as cows and a field with what looked like young bulls – it was difficult to tell from a distance and we weren’t going any closer! The walk finished at the Devil’s Dyke pub where some of our group ordered lunch and we all sat outside enjoying the sunshine and views.
The Devil’s Dyke pub was very busy but the food was good and better than some expected. Pub food isn’t included and some of the group had bought their own sandwiches or snacks. It was suggested that this walk should go in the opposite direction as the smaller pubs in Upper Beeding looked more interesting and the last part would be down hill.
About twenty people had joined the walk and they were a very friendly crowd. I felt welcome as soon as I arrived at the Old Steine where Mick and his dog Becky (in the photo) were standing outside the bus. Everyone seemed to talk to everyone else during the course of the walk; it was interesting to meet people from a variety of backgrounds and ages. They included students, a yoga teacher as well as older couples.
Passengers boarding the minibus at Devil’s Dyke after the walk
The walk was led by Anna from The Big Lemon who had a map and made sure we all kept together. As I boarded the bus to return to Brighton I discovered that driver Neil used to drive buses in Canterbury where I grew up, so we had a good chat about that. We arrived back in Brighton at 3.30pm, but this time varies according to the length and location of the walk.
It was a really splendid day out, well organised and with a very welcoming and friendly crowd, many of whom tried to made it a regular event. The next walk on Sunday 1 May is to the Ashdown Forest. Thoroughly recommended! For more information go to www.thebiglemon.com/walks