The views from Devils dyke are absolutely stunning.
On a clear day you can see for miles.
Its a fantastic place to bring a picnic and fly a kite and there are some lovely walks up there, with views accross the sea and Sussex.
Situated on the South Downs, north of Brighton, the Devil's Dyke is a beauty spot which makes for a wonderful afternoon out, with superb views, good walks, and a pub. It's a great place to fly a kite as it's almost always windy (though sometimes too windy for flimsy modern kites...), although you'll be competing for air-space with hang-gliders and micro-light aircraft. The whole hilltop is classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Dyke itself is actually a natural geological feature, formed by melt water at the end of the last Ice Age: it's a short, very steeply sided V-shaped valley, which cuts into the north face of the South Downs, above the village of Poynings. The Dyke is only 1km long and narrows from 400m to a blind point, but is over 200m deep, making it the deepest true dry valley in Britain (ie, with no waterway) and, some say, in the world.
But the Dyke gets its name from a wonderful (and more entertaining) legend. Apparently furious at the conversion of the peoples of the Weald to Christianity, the Devil decided to dig a dyke through the South Downs, so the sea could flow in and drown their villages. To ensure his efforts were not discovered until it was too late, he decided to dig it over a single night. However, his toils woke an old woman, who lit a candle: this then woke her cockerel, who began to crow. Seeing the light and hearing the cockerel, the Devil was fooled into thinking it was dawn, and rushed off with his work uncompleted, and the Weald was saved.
The adjacent hilltop was first settled by Iron Age fort builders, who found the natural spur formed by the Dyke to be a superb defensive site. The remains of their earth ramparts can still be traced, albeit with some difficulty. But the beauty of the place gradually attracted more visitors, and in 1887 a railway was built from Brighton to bring visitors up to the Dyke. This proved a runaway success an astounding 30,000 of them visited the Dyke on Whit Monday in 1893, and over a million during 1897.
This prompted investment, including a hotel, followed in 1893 by an 360m aerial cable-car across the Dyke, and in 1897 a two-tracked funicular railway 250m down to Poynings. Alas, the short season and high costs forced the closure of both these attractions by 1910, although the railway from Brighton survived until 1938. (See urban75.org/railway/devi… for more history on these). The faint remains of the cable-car and funicular can also be found at the site if you look closely.
The hotel survived, later to be replaced by a refreshment room, the predecessor of to-day's pub. This serves food and drinks, including on real ale in the shape of Harvey's Best Bitter. Although a rather dreary building from the outside, the interior is comfortable enough after a recent refurbishment. But on week-ends in the summer, it gets packed out, its food is pricey and the service isn't always that great. A better alternative in good weather is to bring your own picnic and eat it on the Downs, admiring the views.
Road access is via a small lane, well signposted off the A27 north of Brighton. It is also on the South Downs Way, so it's a popular stop in summer for ramblers. There's an open-topped bus service (great for kids!) between Brighton and the pub car-park. This operates daily in the summer, and on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays all year round (see buses.co.uk for details).
And the Devil Came To The Downs and scored his mark into the Earth to live forever as a reminder of his awesome power.
Or so the legend goes though it is difficult to believe as you stand up on high and gaze out at the downs, a natural wonder of the region. Take a picnic and watch in amusement on a Sunday afternoon as this generations intrepid explorers launch themselves in gliders or other contraptions to prove?? I have no idea what they are trying to prove but they do add to my amusement when all sense of cool is lost as they come to some ungainly but unhurt end of their journey.
However, this is an isolated place and I have stood in the middle of winter on these same hills trapped by a dying car. I watched the light flicker out and the hills become bathed in shadows and I shuddered. Legends always seem to have some basis in truth don't they?
Be prepared to be blown away by the view, and literally by the wind! At the weekends it is fun to come up here and watch the zorbers and the hang gliders. The open top bus is a good way to get into Brighton and avoid the parking fees.
All in all, a good afternoon out for the kids, without spending any money
Absolute beautiful surroundings. Well kept. Air quality good. Pub is also very good, serving a selection of food and ale. I recommend asking for the Pikiana Pacific sandwich at the bar, certainly the best one they serve.
The walk is also brilliant - however I'm not sure the sculpture of two men having sex is quite appropriate for the young ones.
I have just visited Brighton and the Devil's dyke on a day out this weekend and discovered you can throw yourself down it in a big clear ball. What fun! It beauty wasn't enough, this seals it. Something for everyone here!
Please don't be frightened by the title Place in the middle of Nowhere. I think that actually this is what makes the Devil's Dyke one of the most beautiful and interesting places where you can go and relax. It is basically on a valley and just by driving there you can't help it but forget about everything else. The Sunday Roast is wonderful guys. And the chips I had were wonderfully crispy- note all freshly made. I want there with a friend and you really forget about being in near a chaotic city like Brighton. I really enjoyed it and honestly it is a nice spot for families to on a Sunday afternoon. The place has improved a lot and really deserves a visit.
on a clear day you can see for miles! you can watch the gliders, which is great fun. Food in the pub is ok, but they run out quickly, but if you can get a table with a view you won't care much
If you're feeling a bit energetic, there are some lovely walks with really impressive views across the Downs. It's a steep climb if you're going up but if you're feeling lazy, park at the bottom, get the open top bus up then wander back down to where you left the car ! Great for kiteflying, picnics and generally letting the kids let off some steam. It can get breezy though so pack a light jacket, even if it's nice and sunny.
dirty lil awsome freeparties around heressshhhhhhh (keep an ear out ;)
on other days its a lovely open green place for all the family. god bless devils dyke XD
Beautiful walks around here, if you can find a good circle route back to the pub it's a great way to relax afterwards! For those fellow geocachers out there there's a few good caches to find!
Fantastic view and all for free! The pub is not worth a visit and is probably best ignored. Take a picnic instead and enjoy the fresh air, watch gliders run off the edge and, of course, the sunset. Beautiful!
At Devils Dyke you will find fresh green grass as far as the eye can see, cows and sheep roaming free around your feet, kids flying their kites, and a lovely old English pub for a refreshing drink on a hot summers day. There are plenty of interesting walks around this area, either up and down some of the steep hills, or along the tops for easier more flat walking.
Nice place, great views but don't forget to bring an umbrella should you get caught in an thunderstorm (as I did). Good spot to take stunning pictures!
One of the best days out in Brighton is cycling up to Devils Dyke (or taking the 77 open top bus there). When you get there you're treated to amazing views, sprawling grass, a great country style pub serving delicious food and drink both outside and in and plenty of things going on around you to watch and do - hang-gliding, zorbing, kite-flying, picnicing. If you've not been - go!
Fantastic setting, right at the top of the south downs overlooking rolling fields and hills. Unfortunately has gone downhill in recent years. The food used to be really nice but recently has become obviously a microwave menu. It wasn't particuarly enjoyable. It is pretty cheap and they have offers a lot of the time but that doesn't excuse bad food. For a drink its a nice pub to go to but you always need an allocated driver because its a bit out of the way.
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