Highdown Hill: prehistory, folklore and community

Join me for a lovely evening walk around Highdown Hill. It would be hard to find anywhere in Sussex more steeped in the traditions of the past than here. The only hill on the Sussex coastal plain, Highdown, although not really very high at all, commands unequalled views to both east and west. From here can be seen the spire of Chichester Cathedral and beyond that, the Isle of Wight – turn to the east and you can see past Brighton and towards Seaford, and – on a clear day – Beachy Head. What a commanding prospect! No wonder early human settlers sought refuge here and built a raised chalk and earth enclosure.

Local historian Chris Hare takes you to places you do know and others, perhaps, that you do not. The landscape here reflects Sussex as a whole, but in miniature. In short distance you move from chalk soil to clay and then back to chalk again. Different plants and trees grown on these different soils and may have added to the sense that this was a special place for our ancient ancestors.

At time of celebration and at times of crisis, local people assembled here to express their culture and their solidarity.


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