Look left you’ll see probably my favourite view in Sussex. I never tire of the view west. It’s up against some stiff competition – Steyning Bowl, the Weald when you look out from the false summit on Ditchling Beacon, the view north from just below the summit of Firle Bostal, the Seven Sisters from Seaford Head, the Cuckmere Meander from pretty much anywhere, amongst others – and all from up hills. It’s the main reason for riding up them. That and to justify cake at your preferred cafe stop.
However Chapel Hill isn’t a big hill, and this isn’t the widest vista you’ll find in Sussex, but the scale is perfect, wide enough to see for miles and miles, but small enough to know your way around it. Aesthetically I can’t, or more honestly, won’t fault it. The way the pattern of lines flow down the fields to the River Cuckmere, drawing your eye into the view. Whatever the colour and texture of these fields, it seeps into the fields across the river and into the distance. The fact the South Downs always look best in profile, all undulating soft ripples along the escarpment; sometimes shrouded in mist, other times cloud shadows scuttling up and over, and occasionally the sky is empty but for the sun casting shadows along the ridge. You can see Bostal Hill, Bopeep chalk pit, the distinctive curve of Firle Beacon, the wind turbine at Glyndebourne, and Mount Cabon. Beyond that is home. On a clear day you can see across the weald, past Arlington Reservoir, all the way to the North Downs to the north west.
A swig of water and clipping back into my pedals, I’ll roll down the road to Wilmington to say hello to the Long Man.
The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature. 1836