RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Kithurst Hill

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Birdwatchers love this walk in autumn because migrant wheatears, whinchats, stonechats are sometimes seen perching on the wire fences during their migration back to Africa from the north.

Distance 3.8 miles (6.1 kms). Park TQ071125 at Springhead Hill, south of the B2139 Amberley-Storrington road. The turn off this main road is dangerous.

Leave the South Downs Way on the left and walk southeast up slope across the field, crossing another bridleway and coming to a long narrow shelter belt of beeches and follow this south.

As you trundle gently downhill, Kithurst valley appears to your left.

You may be able to see the long parallel ridges of the Celtic field systems which were made 2,500 years ago by the settled farming community which made a good enough living out of these bare downs.

This part of Sussex gives a rare resonance of those long times past. Nothing much has changed.

The farmers here ploughed the downs from Neolithic times through the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and on into Roman period. They had cattle and pigs, sheep and barley.

Leave beeches after 500m to turn left then right again towards Lee Farm.

Ahead is Harrow Hill a mile to the southeast. Four-thousand-year-old mine shafts.

These were explored in 1936 by EC Curwen and revealed galleries running off to the sides from which the core flints were mined, to be made into axe heads, sickles, knives and scrapers by Neolithic communities.

The shafts were dug out using the shoulder blades of oxen, deer, and pigs.

Red deer antlers were also found there and the blackened ceilings where tallow candles had been used for lighting.

Your path comes to the hard road at Lee Farm, where turn left for 300m, then left again to travel northeast. This bridleway meets the SDW after a mile.

You will pass an Iron Age stock enclosure to your left which helped serve the Iron Age fort on Harrow Hill which was also built 2,500 years ago.

At the SDW turn left for the mile back to the ancient car which would never have existed at all if it wasn’t for our Iron Age ancestors.

I wonder if they appreciated the incredible views along this particular part of Sussex.

Second to none in the world, I say.

Or were they just too hard-pressed scratching their living out of this stony ground to see the sky.

They certainly ate the wheatears and stonechats and would have thought us crazy just to look.

Neither did they have Morris Minors, poor things.

Maybe we should be thankful we live in the present, despite the mess some parts of humanity make of the planet.