A Visit to Alciston – 16th April 2012

I spend (far too little time) walking the South Downs within Brighton and Hove checking the condition of gates, stiles, rights of way and signs.  This is a voluntary thing for the South Downs Society.  One of the rewards is an annual gathering of volunteers, to stroll a parish, talk, eat and even drink. 

The group looks north from Access land on the scarp of the Downs

This year it happened in the wealthy and neat parish of Alciston, between Brighton and Eastbourne.

Huge barn at north end of Alciston village, near a medieval dovecote and the old manor house and church.

This is the biggest flint and tiled barn in England, said our host Peter.

The advantage of being with locals is getting inside to view the huge and ancient timbers.

Some barns have been gentrified.

A very wealthy village today. This old industrial unit has become a home affordable only by an elite. Pretty though.

Other are just waiting the opportunity. 

This barn, like everything around here, is owned by the Firle Estate. It is likely to be offered for conversion to a unique home soon, on a 900 year lease - the estate does not like to part with its property

This one is on a Byway Open to All traffic (BOAT), and some of the village would like to see it closed to vehicles because 4WD enthusiasts love to roar up and down it especially in wet and muddy conditions.  Oddly enough it recently received money for improvement specifically for cycling.  But Councils are scared of reducing access rights, it means court cases and potential costs.

Wooded ridge with Arlington Reservoir in the distance.

After the walk we had lunch at the excellent  Rose Cottage Inn – mine was a pint of Harveys and a warm avocado, bacon and lettuce salad with artisan bread.  Artisan bread! –  where do they get the names?

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