Special Sub-Topic: The Run of the Downs
|At the eastern end of the South Downs, a large chalk headland meets the sea between the Birling Gap and Eastbourne. Wonderful views maybe had from this chalk cliff, which exceeds five hundred feet in height above the sea. What is it called?|
Beachy Head. Beachy Head, at the eastern end of the Seven Sisters has a grislier reputation as well. It is a popular spot for people committing suicide.
Brass Point and Bailey's Hill are two of the Seven Sisters, although between the Cuckmere and Birling gaps there are actually eight peaks.
|The "Long Man of Wilmington" is a large chalk outline of a humanoid figure. It is carved into a hill close to the village of Wilmington, but on the side of which hill? |
Windover Hill. Rudyard Kipling in his poem "The Run of the Downs" lists this as 'Winddoor Hill', it is not difficult to get from Winddoor to Wind'oer to Windover as being various pronunciations of the same hill.
In 1874 the "Long Man" was marked out in brick, prior to this it had only been visible when the lighting and weather conditions allowed.
|One of the legends about the "Long Man of Wilmington" is that it is the outline of a dead giant. It is claimed that a boulder thrown by another giant killed him. On which hill did his alleged assailant stand?|
Firle. It would seem the tradition of marking the outline of corpses in chalk predates modern police procedures.
|As the South Downs Way heads west towards Lewes and the River Ouse, a separate hill appears to the north. Overlooking the village of Glynde, site of the annual festival of Glyndbourne, this hill was once topped by a large hill fort. Which hill is this?|
Mount Caburn. The hill fort has been described as both Iron Age and Bronze Age depending on the source. Mount Caburn is one of England's "National Nature Reserves". Mount Caburn is also claimed as the site at which South Down sheep were developed as a breed in the eighteenth century.
|To the northwest of Lewes is the site of the "Battle of Lewes" which occurred in 1264. The former Lewes racecourse was also situated here on the slopes above Lewes Prison. Which of these hills, which also forms part of the title of former MP Tim Renton, can be found here?|
Mount Harry. The "Battle of Lewes" is important in history because of its result where Simon de Montfort defeated Henry III. One of de Montfort's innovations was calling a parliament that included representatives from outside of the nobility, people such as knights and freemen. This is the first time members of the "commons" had been included in a parliament and as such is considered the forerunner of our elected House of Commons.
A more recent member of the House of Commons was Tim Renton. Upon elevation to the peerage he took the title "Baron Renton of Mount Harry".
|A very popular hill stands above a village with which it shares its name. Its popularity is probably related to the fact that it can be ascended by bus or car thus sparing weary legs. Where is the highest point of land in East Sussex?|
Ditchling Beacon. The annual 'London to Brighton Bike Ride' often passes through Ditchling and then slowly ascends the road over Ditchling Beacon. However when the Tour de France included it on their route they made it look easy. For hill baggers Ditchling Beacon is a Marilyn.
For the uninitiated, hill bagging is the hobby (or obsession) with ascending all the hills on a specific list. This list might be the highest point in each state/county, all hills in a country over a given height or all summits mentioned in a certain guide book.
For instance, Munros are hills over 3000 feet high in Scotland named after the person who first catalogued them.
In contrast a Marilyn (and the linguistic connection Marilyn Munro was deliberate) is any hill in Great Britain from which you have to descend a minimum of 500 feet before the altitude starts increasing again. The latest list I can find has more than 1500 such hills listed.
|This hill has been used for Bronze Age burials, as an Iron Age hill fort, and was the site of a Roman temple. Alleged to have been created when the devil tried to dig a ditch and flood Sussex, the hill has a reputation for spooky and occult occurrences. In 1760 a crown of beech trees was planted on it. Which place on the South Downs Way have we reached?|
Chanctonbury Ring. From Keith Spence's book 'The Companion Guide to Kent & Sussex', "Chanctonbury's trees were planted by George Goring who lived at Wiston House." Wiston House is nearby, Keith Spence goes on to say, "...Wiston is claimed to be the first place where coffee was drunk in England, in the first decades of the seventeenth century."
|To the west of Devils Duke, along the South Downs Way, is a hill topped with transmitter masts. For a period of time during the Cold War it was a radar station manned by the RAF. Below the hill on the outskirts of Shoreham was the attendant RAF base that was named after the hill. Which hill is this?|
Truleigh Hill. Truleigh Hill was also used as a Cold War radar station, and possibly a nuclear bunker. Now it has a large radio transmitter on the top of the hill and remains of former installations may also be seen around.
|The South Downs Way is a popular and well-known long distance footpath, but even these have to give way to main roads. As the path approaches the A24 from east to west a diversion to a bridge at Washington is offered. Those brave souls who cross the A24 without the diversion find themselves climbing up which hill?|
Highden Hill. The village of Washington was referred to by Hilaire Belloc as "...the holy and secluded village of Washington under the Downs..." in his book 'On Nothing and Kindred Subjects'. This should not be confused with the town of Washington in north east England. Close to the village of Washington are the remains of lime kilns where farmers used to create their own lime for spreading on the soil and which are accessible via public rights of way.
|To the south west of Pulborough lie the remains of a Roman villa found in 1811. The villa is known by the name of the nearest village, which in turn is also the name of the hill to the south. It is crossed by the South Downs Way and has the feature "Toby's Stone" on its eastern flank. Name that hill!|
Bignor Hill. Bignor Roman Villa is open to the public with several large mosaics visible including one which is eighty feet long. A few miles away is the site of Fishbourne Roman Palace which is also open to the public. Toby's Stone was a mounting block erected as a memorial to a member of a local hunt. Unfortunately it appears to have been vandalised in recent times.
|In the 1980s William Horwood wrote a series of stories about moles. The titles in the series include the name of which of the South Downs, which according to Kipling "Knew Old England before the Crown."?|
Duncton Down. William Horwood wrote a total of six books about the moles. All of the titles consist of two words with the first word being Duncton.
|According to the figures of the Ordnance Survey, two hills share the title of third highest point on the South Downs at 248m. Which of the following is one of them?|
Linch Down. Both Linch Down and Ditchling Beacon are marked on the Ordnance Survey maps as being 248 meters (or 814 feet) at the summits. The summit of Littleton Down is also known as Crown Tegleaze, and has a trig point named Linch Ball. The summit of Littleton Down is 253 meters above sea level and is sometimes claimed as the highest point of land in Sussex. This is incorrect; it is merely the highest point of the South Downs in Sussex. The summit of Black Down near Haslemere lies within Sussex and is marked as 280 meters by the Ordnance Survey but does not constitute part of the South Downs themselves. To confuse the matter further, Black Down may well end up inside the boundaries of the South Downs National Park when it is finally established.
|The 'Cathedral of the Downs' is a title claimed by more than one church. In 1947 one such church, St Peters was dismantled a mere 100 years after being built, having been condemned as unsafe. The village to which this church belonged shares its name with the nearby hill. Which of the following is it?|
Treyford. The title 'Cathedral of the Downs' is also claimed by Alfriston church. The remains of Treyford's church (built between Treyford and Elsted) were described by Keith Spence in "The Companion Guide to Kent and Sussex" as "...a few fangs of masonry high on the bank...".
|We come to a hill listed by Kipling as knowing "Old England before the flood." The hill itself does not appear on the 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey maps but a farm of the same name lies en route of the South Downs Way on the northern slopes of West Harting Down and an unnamed hill. What is the name of the farm and missing hill?|
Sunwood. "Linch Down, Treyford and Sunwood, knew Old England before the flood" wrote Kipling. Working from the modern Ordnance Survey maps there is no hill named Sundown, however the unnamed hill mentioned in the question is a possible candidate as being Kipling's Sundown.
|The highest point of the South Downs lies in Hampshire near the town of Petersfield. Which hill is this?|
Butser Hill. Butser Hill is 270 meters high and is classified as a Marilyn. The South Downs Way carries on a few more miles into Winchester. If you have just ploughed through this quiz and you are wondering why I've picked on these particular fifteen hills here is the explanation.
The poem "The Run of the Downs" by Rudyard Kipling from which I took the title of this quiz, lists fifteen hills of the South Downs from east to west. Those names of these fifteen hills have been used as closely as possible for the correct answers to this quiz in the same order as they appear in this poem.
As a further note all of the wrong answers are real hills in and around the South Downs.
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