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South Downs Weekend - August 2014

There were 17 staying at the Hostel, including 1 camping. The Hostel is a newly refurbished Sussex farmhouse and barn buildings that opened in April 2013. The dormitories, dining room and lounge are all in separate buildings; luckily it was dry for most of the weekend. The 6-bed dormitories were very cramped, with little floor space, and noisy (being right next to the A26) - ear plugs were essential!

On Saturday everyone caught the train to Lewes where we met a few day-trippers. After catching the bus to Isfield, Roger led a small group back to Lewes along the Ouse valley. The larger party, led by Greg, followed Jugg's Road up onto the South Downs. After contouring around Castle Hill National Nature Reserve, the group dropped down to Rodmell to find a welcoming ice-cream van followed by an afternoon tea stop at the Abergavenny Arms pub. In the evening there were 2 very enjoyable quizzes - Chris's was based around the names of people staying at the Hostel; Roger's was a general knowledge quiz to which the Croydon YHA group were invited (they were also staying at the Hostel).

On Sunday we walked as one party, following the South Downs Way via Firle Beacon to Alfriston. We stopped for lunch on the Tye (local village green) by the church, right in the middle of the Festival proceedings. Roger and Colin decided to stop for the afternoon (to listen to the Eastbourne Scottish Pipe Band) while the rest of the group continued to Exceat where we were rewarded with superb views across Cuckmere Haven. Unfortunately the tea shop was too crowded for a stop, so some decided to catch the bus to Seaford, leaving a small number to continue along the coast via Seaford Head. In the evening, Jonathan organised another quiz, including some very obscure historical facts.

On Monday the long predicted rain arrived so the walk was called off. A few decided to do some local sightseeing while everybody else headed home after breakfast.