Friday, 1 May 2015

Duke of Burgundy

Note that the title is in the singular - as that is precisely what I found, a single specimen. Unfortunately a cool breeze seemed to deter the butterflies today, all I had were several Grizzled Skippers, Brimstones and one fleeting encounter with "The Duke".  Not the photo opportunity that I expected but at least a tick on the butterfly list.

Oddly enough it was today's walk that provided the entertainment, simply great to have part of the South Downs Way to yourself. I saw only two other walkers as I journeyed up and down to Heyshott Escarpment. My walk started from the SDW car park opposite Hillbarn Lane on the A286, just south of Cocking. The path here is a gentle rise up to the Ordnance Survey trig point on Heyshott Down, a fantastic height of 233 metres!  Once I was past the sawmill I shared the scenery with half a dozen Buzzards and sundry sheep.

South Downs Way looking west

As you near the top there are four curious stones set just off the path, exactly what these are is the subject of discussion on the web, theories range from pre-historic grave markers to Parish boundary markers and sheep dog graves. It is interesting that they sit between two sets of "Cross Dykes", which are considered to be Bronze Age territory or boundary markers. Whatever, at least they are protected from farm machinery by posts erected by, I believe, WSCC. One downside is that hundreds of passing curious walkers have rubbed the lichen from the stones to see if there are any engraved symbols. As far as I can tell the third stone, going east, has a "W" and the fourth "W T", information that could have been added in the more recent past.

A couple of hundred yards past the stones there is a gate which leads to Heyshott escarpment, just aim for the trig point and you will be rewarded with some great views. The path down to where the DoB can be found is somewhat "mountain goat country", if you have dodgy knees or ankles then an alternative route might be better.

First stone encountered when travelling east

Stone 1

Stone 2

Stone 3 - "W"

Stone 4

Plainly "W" - "T"

Trig point

Heyshott escarpment - DoB country

Heyshott village

The path down is  - steep!

Early Purple Orchids abound.


  1. Nice ONE Dave. There have been no reported sightings of DOB at the usual Kent site yet.

  2. Great set Dave, wish we had known (we went east on our first adventure since returning) we would have joined you, and probably showed you the parking area down at the bottom, as we tried the "Mountain Goat" route the first time we attended Heyshott and turned back after looking down that hill, so we now park down at the bottom and much nearer a great pub which we frequent for lunch. Hope to see you soon
    Dawn & Jim