devils jumps teatured image

We began day three of our South Downs Way hike at a leisurely pace, starting with a full English breakfast and a pot of freshly brewed coffee made by our excellent host John. After scoffing far too much food we packed our belongings and John gave us a lift back to the carpark where he had picked us up at the night before.

Once again it was a sunny, still day, and we made good progress eastwards along the path and up the first climb of the day. For the first mile or so the path stuck closely to the steep, northern edge of the escarpment and we had a great view of South & East Harting down in the valley below.

The Village of South Harting

We had decided the previous evening that we would give ourselves a bit of a break and have a relatively short 13km day, so it wasn’t going to be a particularly challenging day distance-wise, but there were still a few hills that we had to contend with as the trail wound its way along the top of the Downs. There were also a number of zig-zagging detours along the way as the path avoided a number of natural and man made obstacles.

Lizzy approaching one of the hills of the day

By mid morning we reached one these obstacles – The Devils Jumps – a series of 5 Bronze Age barrows that run in a line along the top of the hill.

We decided that this would be a perfect place for the sandwich that our host John had given us to take with us on our journey. I felt a bit like a naught guilty schoolboy greedily tucking into my packed lunch at only 10 in the morning, but I was starving already!

The Devil’s Jumps

After far too brief a rest stop (Lizzy rarely allowed us more than a 10 minute break at a time) we headed off again towards our goal for the day. The trail now returned to the northern edge of the Downs and the view was breathtaking – a panoramic view across the Weald for miles and miles.

Me admiring the view across the Weald towards the North Downs

The path carried on along the ridgeline and then after an hour or so began to descend down into the Cocking valley and we could see our destination, Manor farm, in the distance on the far side of the valley.

The trail dropped down into the valley and for the last half a mile we were flanked on either side by tall hedges. As we reached the valley floor we encountered a small café at Hilltop farm and decided to grab another snack as a reward for our hard work.

Lizzy with Manor Farm Campsite in the distance.

After our snack we headed over the road and up the last 500 metres of track to the campsite.

By now it was early afternoon, the sun was high in the sky and it was roasting! I set up the Arixcii in a tarp style so that we could have shelter from the sun but still benefit from the breeze blowing from the north. We promptly laid down under the tarp and fell sound asleep for the next 2 hours!

The Arixcii tent is very versatile- here it made a great sun shade.

We woke up a few hours later feeling a bit groggy but refreshed. We were both starting to feel somewhat grubby after our day’s hike so a shower was in order. The shower was an open air shower conveniently located in the corner of the field. Being a gentleman I let Lizzy test out the shower first to see if it was actually warm as the farmer insisted it was. They had just go a new gas powered shower installed and it was supposed to be lovely and warm.

Evidently it a was having a few teething troubles because when Lizzy came back she informed me that it was cold, but refreshing in the warm sun. I decided to brave it and went for a shower anyway. It was indeed ‘refreshing’ and the experience was much improved by the fact that I could gaze out over the top of the door and down onto the lovely view of the valley below.

By now we were both hungry, so we decided to hobble down to the pub in the nearby village of Cocking. It was an easy 10 minute stroll down a quiet farm lane and in no time we were sat with drink and food in hand, feeling very happy with our choice to have a short day!

Great food and beer from the Blue Bell, Cocking

After dinner we rolled our stuffed bellies back up the hill towards the campsite, ready for an early night. As we reached the entrance the field we encountered a gentleman of around 50 years of age lying on his back making various grunts and groans.

It turned out that he joined his friend in his challenge to hike the entire length of the SDW in three days and was regretting his life choices.

He pointed to his $500 Big Agnes Fly Creek tent and said ruefully “I can’t believe it, I’ve spent all this money on fancy ultralight gear but I’m still in agony! My friend has gone to the pub to get some food but I just can’t do it.”

We ushered off and left his to his misery. He had learned a hard lesson – ultralight gear is great (it really is!) but it’s not a replacement for preparation and training.

The sun was getting low and it looked like it was going to be a lovely sunset, so I went hunting in my bag for my new mirrorless camera, the awesome Canon M50, and took a few snaps before dark and bedtime!

<- Day 2 | Day 4 ->

Leg Information

  • Distance Travelled: 13km
  • Height Climbed: 370m
  • Accommodation: Manor Farm

Route Map

Download file for GPS