Devil’s Dyke and Poynings

Photograph of Devil’s Dyke by Paul Watson

Photograph of Devil’s Dyke, by the author

Yesterday Kate and I took the 77 bus from Brighton Station up to Devil’s Dyke. This bus only runs on weekends and public holidays and takes about 20 minutes to get out to Devil’s Dyke, stopping right outside the pub of the same name. £5 return fare per person.

Click any of the photos below for larger versions.

Devil’s Dyke

We started our walk from the white chalk bridleway to the south of Devil’s Dyke, and followed it as it curved eastwards. The sky was grey (although it stayed dry all day) and the colours of the South Downs were, on first impressions, the familiar muted grey-greens of early January.

But we started to notice small areas of bright colour — vivid green mosses, silvery lichens, red berries, and yellow gorse flowers — along the sides of the bridleway.

Moss Moss


Lichen Lichen

Lichen Berries and Lichen



The bridleway turns north towards the end of Devil’s Dyke, then runs past a long narrow pool filled with branches (and the occasional tyre).



We left the bridleway to follow the footpath that runs along the side of the pool north-west towards Poynings. The footpath beside the final stretch of the pool was heavily-churned, coating our boots with heavy grey clay.

At the end of the pool the footpath heads along the edge of a field and into the village of Poynings, where we stopped for lunch (jackfruit burger and fries for me, beefburger for Kate) and a pint of Harvey’s Old Ale in the Royal Oak pub after a poor attempt to clean the clay off our boots. We arrived around midday, about an hour after starting out from Devil’s Dyke - good timing, as it turned out, since the pub started filling up rapidly by 1pm with people looking for food.

After lunch we wandered out of Poynings and joined the bridleway that ascends around the northern edge of Devil’s Dyke, heading south-west back to our starting point (about 45 minutes at a slow-medium pace walk).

A forty minute wait until the next bus back meant we were legally obliged to visit the Devil’s Dyke pub for a pint while we waited, half of which was spent queuing at the bar (even at this time of year it was full of families and their dogs ordering lunch, but with only two overworked staff behind the bar).