Two Rings

Two rings on the final day
A walk which we have made our own
my brother Dave and me
A circle of eight miles
chalky trails beneath our feet
The sunshine smiling once again
to make the week complete

Starting down at Cisbury
then climbing through the fields
Up to Chanctonbury Ring and
views of Sussex Weald
It’s been a week of calm and joy
up on the South Downs Way
A brother’s walk together
on day by perfect day


Every year in May, my brother Dave and I go for a week-long walk. We’ve been elsewhere but most times, the draw of the wonderful South Downs Way – out there on our doorstep – keeps us close to home. Day 5 took us back to a circular walk we developed ourselves. Called  ‘The Two Rings Circle’, it takes in both Cisbury and Chanctonbury Rings in Sussex.

Fog on the Ring – tanka

Fog thick as pea soup
shrouds the Sussex countryside
Trees hide like shadows
Quiet whispers, coy and shy
as again I climb the Ring



Special Places


And then there are the special places
Favourites, I guess you’d say
Places where I can find myself
at whatever time of day

I can count them on five fingers
and name them every one
Some work what e’er the weather
but are always best in sun

There’s the beach hut down at Lancing
(that’s got to be the best)
Mainly because it’s by the sea
where I’ll always be at rest

Two are up the river trail
the first at Beeding Gap
Secluded, near the water
and perfect for a nap

The second’s somewhat further
so we’ll usually go by car
But once I walked to Stopham Bridge
(though from home it’s pretty far)

The Ring just has to be there
on top of Chanctonbury Hill
As the view it gives of Sussex Weald
fills me with wonder still

Then last, but certainly not the least
There’s my garden here at home
A favourite when with family
with friends or on my own

We all have special places
where we’ll go from time to time
I’m sure yours are just as wonderful
and are just as good as mine


Photo – the Sussex Weald from Chanctonbury Hill – Jempics


And I will never tire of this
fine view of Sussex Weald
Each time I’m here I am sustained
renewed, alive and healed

It holds magnificence and awe
Its vista I applaud
I leave refreshed and satisfied
But will still come back for more


A ring around Christmas

Went for a walk on Christmas Eve
Up to the Ring in the sun
Squelchy mud underfoot, chill in the air
But we still had plenty of fun

Nine miles in a circle from Ring to Ring
Up hills and across Sussex field
Chanctonbury as always affording us
A wonderful view of the Weald

A Ring around Christmas has to be done
It’s a family thing every year
Good for the spirit and good for the soul
And sure to bring plenty of cheer


Two circles

Today we got back out there
Out on Sussex hill
And though the skies were heavy
It was largely sunny still
A return to the two circles
Round the back of Findon Gorse
Following the South Days Way
To Chanctonbury of course
Then, touching on the Monarch’s Way
With to our left the spreading Weald
We wound up back at Cissbury
Through August’s golden fields


The ‘Two Circles’ is a 12-mile circular walk in Sussex starting and finishing on the Bostel Road just north of Sompting village. The trail takes in the two ancient hill forts of Cissbury and Chanctonbury Rings using parts of both the Monarch’s and the South Downs Way. Of all the walks my brother (Dave) and I do, this is our favourite.

Walking Sussex 5

Familiarity breeds content, of that I am quite sure

As for our final walk in Sussex we’re back at the start for more

Two rings with woodland in between, cows in the field and sheep

Undulating downland and hills that aren’t too steep.

Chanctonbury wealdland view takes the breath away

And is particularly stunning on a clear, bright Springtime day

And after five days walking Sussex hills with Wainwrights at the bar

The rest respite with sunshine was perfect at the Star.


©Jemverse (16 May 2014)

Walking Sussex 1

Today we walked from Ring to Ring beneath a leaden sky

The sun shone bright despite the threat of rainfall by and by

Plans long laid, fruition saw a walk unlike no other

With smile and gusto Crouchers went, friends yes, but also brothers

Cissbury came and Cissbury went, rain followed sun with thunder

But in between the blue skies came and Chanctonbury wonder

Thirteen miles of Sussex hill, more on the morrow too

The weather promising much less rain and some good high pressure too.


©Jemverse (12 May 2014)



From Chanctonbury Hill

The proud, long vista of Sussex Weald

Seen from Chanctonbury Hill

Many times this splendour witnessed

Yet catches my breath still

©Jemverse (April 2013)

As well as living next to the sea, I am also fortunate to live within walking distance of one of the UK’s most breathtaking walking trails – the South Downs Way. One of my favourite walks – ordinarily with my younger brother Dave – is a route over the hills from a small hamlet called Botolphs, over the downs following part of another trail called ‘The Monarch’s Way’ and part of the South Downs Way to a hill fort known as ‘Chanctonbury’. This is topped by a ring of beech trees – unfortunately decimated in a hurricane in the late 1980’s, but now struggling back to a shadow of its former glory – and commands a breathtaking view over the Sussex Weald. It is a view I never tire of, hence these brief but heartfelt words.

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