Last weekend we ran a solo walking session around Saddlescombe Farm, near Devil’s Dyke.
In the hall where we started was a display cabinet full of artifacts that'd been found on the land, including a 500,000-year-old stone axe head, various paleolithic and mesolithic tools, Roman pot shards, and remains of WW2 bombs, as well as several animal skulls and bird feathers.
These days we live lower down and on the coast, so it’s easy to forget that the South Downs were once inhabited.
There is a rich heritage of historical features and archaeological remains up there, including defensive sites, burial mounds and field boundaries, and an abundant tapestry of wildlife, landscapes, and tranquility, that 'weave together a story of people and place in harmony.’
On my solo walk around Devil's Dyke, I took routes I hadn’t been before and discovered a couple of large pools rich with birds and trees. And I sat for a while in some wooded parts that felt really old: gnarly trees covered in lichen and moss, remnants of an ancient forest perhaps.
There’s much to fill our senses up on the Downs - the breeze, the elements, the views, the history - I hadn’t been up there for a while and afterwards I felt refreshed and energised.
So I’m excited that we’re running Sensing the Land again this Sunday, Feb 19th 2017, led by Alistair Duncan who has a keen understanding of our psychological and sensory connection to the Downs.
On this 'walkshop' you'll learn about the geology, and natural and human history of the Downs, and explore some relaxed practices to experience the landscape through your senses and your body, to learn more about the land and yourself.
Sensing the Land, Sunday Feb 17th 2017. Booking and info here.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.