Hassocks Walk – December 2015
by Les Campbell
Starting and finishing at Hassocks Railway Station, Les Campbell celebrates 10 years of walking with Sussex Living by revisiting his very first walk, a 6 mile circular.
After ten years since my very first walk for Sussex Living I thought now is the appropriate time to repeat my steps. I have updated the walk description where necessary, and have changed the route around Ditchling. The walk involves one steep uphill climb and one steep descent, which may be slippery in wet conditions.
From the East side of Hassocks Railway Station, drop down to Keymer Road, and just before the railway bridge, go up some steps and follow the signed path which runs for about a mile along the east side of the railway. When you reach the road, turn left to the road junction. Cross the Ditchling road and go through a kissing gate, and across Clayton Green to the car park entrance in the far corner. Clayton Church to your right is well worth a visit for the wall paintings alone.
Cross Underhill Lane and follow a bridleway uphill to a gate leading on to open downland. Turn right and climb steeply to eventually reach the car park beside Jack and Jill Windmills. These two windmills are probably the most well known landmarks on the South Downs. Jack is currently undergoing extensive restoration work.
Go through the car park, and turn left gently uphill along a rough track and take the left fork. After about a mile, Keymer Post is reached at a four-way signpost. Carry straight on for about 200 yards, until you come to a small gate in the fence on your left. Go through this gate, and go diagonally right downhill on a well-defined path to Underhill Lane. The chalk surface of this path can be very slippery when damp.
Turn right along Underhill Lane and in about 150 yards look for a signed path on your left.
Go over the stile, and follow the waymarked path through several fields to eventually join a narrow path leading into a housing estate on the outskirts of Ditchling. Turn left and take an enclosed path indicated by a no cycling sign (very faded!) which leads out to the road junction of the B2112 and Beacon Road. Turn left on a wide grassy verge at the last house (no.16) cross to the signed path opposite.
Go through a gate and follow a right hand field edge keeping right to join an unsurfaced track by a pair of cottages. Go up this track to join the B2116 on the outskirts of Ditchling. If you want to visit Ditchling village turn right.
Cross to Lodge Hill Lane opposite, and follow it past the pond and where the lane bears left, turn right into Boddingtons Lane. Just before the house on your right, go left on a permissive path which takes you up on to Lodge Hill. At the top of the hill, pause to admire the view then go straight on to join Lodge Hill Lane once again.
Turn right, and almost immediately, look for a stile on your left. Go over this and turn right to follow a ridge path which becomes enclosed, out to a rough parking area by Oldland Mill. This historic post mill has been restored by a dedicated group of volunteers and is owned by the Hassocks Amenity Association. It is open to the public on selected dates only.
Follow Mill Lane downhill to join Ockley Lane. Cross to the opposite pavement, and turn right round the bend then left on a wide track opposite Ockley Manor.
Follow this obvious track past Woodside ignoring the path off to your right, and go straight ahead through the Clayton Mills housing estate to the bottom of Woodsland Road. At the top of this road turn right for the station.
We are very grateful to Les Campbell for bringing us new and exciting local walks every month. A founder member and former Chairman of the Mid Sussex Ramblers, he is a very experienced and enthusiastic walker indeed. Les insists on testing all routes personally, making sure they are suitable for walking. However, even he cannot guarantee the effects of the weather, or roadworks, or any other factors outside of his control. If you would like to send your feedback about a local walk, please email firstname.lastname@example.org