|If you park in the car park to the NE of the ring, it is a long climb up a 'bostal' path, and then you double back on yourself as you turn left at the top onto the South Downs Way. This is a bit of a drag, but better than trying to scramble more directly up the steep, wooded slopes. We tried coming down the 'quick way' but soon realised the only way down was on your backside!
Alternatively you could park to the SW and take the South Downs Way east to the ring.
I must admit to having a slightly strange sense of foreboding as we made the climb and I am not sure why. Maybe it was the vehicles we had seen parked up on the hill, or the spooky local folklore I had read (see links).
When you get up here, you are rewarded with a fantastic view. Cissbury Ring and flint mines to the South with the blue sea as a backdrop and Wolstonbury jutting out sphinx-like to the East. An excellent vantage point.
We were disappointed to discover 3 4WD's and parked next to the Ring, with their drivers were packing up after a nights camping. When I spotted them from the bottom of the hill I was expecting a wild Solstice free festival, but it was just some SUV driving muppets who didn't even give us the time of day. Quite what these individuals were doing up here on the midsummer's eve I don't know (black magic to bring petrol prices down perhaps?), but how lazy and disrespectful to bring your stinking vehicles across an area of outstanding natural beauty and park them next to an ancient monument. Needless to say we were happy to see them trundle off and then we had the place to ourselves.
Most of the beech trees planted by Charles Goring in 1706 were indeed flattened in the storms of 1987. The ones that remain are on the south bank mostly, and provide some delicious shade. The interior of the Ring has been replanted, but is still quite scrubby and immature.
We were surprised to find a barbed wire fence around the interior, but there is a well worn entrance at the east (close to the original entrance).
I am always interested in places that the R*man's decided to build temples on. Maiden Castle is one of the most famous examples, and it always suggests an existing sacred function for the site.
I ventured into the interior and it is a bit of a creepy wood with evidence of lots of campfires.
It is so overgrown I couldn't see any evidence of the temple, which is apparently only a few inches below the surface. I did manage to get a bit lost in there and had a brief 'Blair Witch' moment when I was convinced I wasn't going to find my way out! I now put this down to the 8% Cider and an overactive imagination.
There are also a couple of interesting cross ridge dykes, bowl, saucer, platform barrows and hlaews (rare Saxon Burial mounds) Click the Magic plug in on this page for more info on their locations.
Check out the links on this page for more background and go and feel the vibes of this absorbing place for yourself.
This post appears as part of the weblog entry A Sussex Solstice
Posted by danielspaniel
6th July 2005ce
Edited 6th July 2005ce