Devil's Dyke

Dyke Road Near Brighton BN1 8YJ

The nineteenth-century landscape painter John Constable thought the sweeping panorama from this famous beauty spot to be 'the grandest view in the world'. The Victorians liked it so much they added bandstands, swingboats, a hotel, a funicular, a single-track railway and the country’s first cable-car (thankfully all long gone today). And the views really are fabulous, as long as you keep your back to the ugly, 1950s-built Devil’s Dyke pub: the South Downs escarpment drops away steeply in front of you, giving a stunning 180-degree panorama across the Weald. The National Trust, who manage the site, have half a dozen downloadable walks on their website, including a five-mile hike along one of the most stunning sections of the South Downs Way, past the Jack and Jill windmills to Ditching Beacon (both Devil’s Dyke and Ditchling Beacon are connected to Brighton, five miles from Devil’s Dyke, by regular bus throughout the summer, so you can catch a bus to one and return from the other to avoid retracing your steps). The 'Dyke' of the name incidentally, refers to a wide chalk valley on the northern side of the escarpment, which, according to local legend, was dug by the Devil. The humps at the bottom of the Dyke supposedly indicate the burial spot of the Devil and his wife; run seven times backwards around them while holding your breath – no mean feat – to summon the Devil.

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