I heard it on the grapevine

Once the larder for London, the Chilterns’ are enjoying a revival of food fortunes with independent producers setting up their stalls across the hills.

I heard on the grapevine that pickers were needed to help bring in the Solaris harvest at Frithsden vineyard last month. 40 or so volunteers,  including locals and “I missed it last year” regulars turned up on a beautiful autumnal morning in the tiny hamlet of Frithsden.

Located in the county of Hertfordshire, in the northern Chiltern Hills, about two miles north of Berkhamsted, the parish to which it belongs, it’s known locally as ‘Frizden’. One of my favourite Chilterns’ villages, the name is derived from the wood le Fryth first mentioned in 1291 as Frithesdene (valley of the wood). On the edge of the mightly Ashridge Estate, the road in and out is through this glorious woodland, which at this time of year is full of anxious, skittish deer liable to dash out into the road as the autumnal rut gets underway.

The Chilterns were once renowned for the extensive cultivation of cherries, and this hamlet once produced Cherry Bounce (commemorated in Cherry Bounce lane), but now this heritage fruit barely makes an impact on untended trees in nearby neglected orchards.

I have never picked grapes before, and the notion of spending the day picking in a vineyard I was familiar with, had great appeal. Before our equipment health and safety briefing from Simon – don’t leave the secateurs in the collection crates as they’ll be swallowed up by the machinery and everything will grind to an expensive halt, we tucked into calorie-enhancing breakfast of freshly backed scones and strong coffee – a breakfast worth cultivating – my feet already wet from the grass, showed me up as the harvest novice as I perused the range of stout and sensible footwear on display.

Grapes have been cultivated in England since the Romans were in town, and the chalky Chilterns soil is perfect for those brave enough to give it a go. And that’s what Simon and Natalie Tooley did when they discovered this site in 2005; the vines long gone, but that didn’t stop them planting 6,000 new ones. This story is repeated many times across the area, on smallish vineyards now producing good fizz and white wines cultivated in beautiful surroundings; nothing luxurious, just good honest wines from hard work and determination.

Brining in the autumn harvest

Bringing in the autumn harvest

It was a pleasant experience and I worked quickly up and down the rows whilst the full plastic crates were collected and taken further down the slope to be de-stalked and crushed before the juice was piped into the fermentation tanks for nature to begin working its magic. Our tally of 94 crates was a respectable one, and they will be ready in April or May next year, so will be back then to savour the fruits of my labours.

The Chilterns have also enjoyed a craft beer revival in the past five years with micro brewerers popping up in Berkhamsted, Great Missenden and Aylesbury. The joy of doing it yourself is now spreading so hopeful soon launching new Chilterns wine and beer routes.

For further information on what to see and enjoy locally in the Chilterns.

Posted in Buckinghamshire, Chilterns, Cycling, DMO's, Heritage and History, Market Town, Marketing Communications, National Trust, Rural Tourism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gas, Goats and Groceries

Just why has almost everyone I know been to Turkey this year?

In less time it took us to reach Cornwall, we travelled over 2,000 miles to a remote Turkish bay to celebrate a milestone birthday. We almost didn’t make it, following the demise of our UK tour operator one week before we were due to depart.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, became the country’s first president in 1923.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, became the country’s first president in 1923.

Since it burst onto the tourism scene over a decade ago, Turkey has successfully given its Mediterranean holiday neighbours a serious run for their tourism revenue; offering glorious miles of sun-soaked coastline with plenty of old ruins dotted about, food like it used to taste, water sports, yachting and gullet holidays, what’s not to like? I have visited Turkey many times over the past 26 years, explored almost all of it and yet it has remained elusive, at arms length. Not that I am expecting the red carpet each time I return, yet I find both its familiarity and aloofness disconcerting.  It certainly does things differently; en-masse excursions in convoys of  four-wheel drives are popular, full to overflowing with bikini-clad tourists on their way to indulge in some toe-curling cultural experience that involves hundreds and strangers and mud. I just can’t see the appeal. Sightseeing boats with names like Seasick Seliyme, Belle Deli and Erva Demir ply up and down the coast, and I watched whilst two Gulet’s, like fleas on a dog’s back, try to squeese into a tight space when a bay full of empty coves and sightseeing possibilities are at their disposal.

Turkish holiday

Despite the tourist brochures, Turkey is not the most attractive country I have visited, if you stray from the coast that is: do the piles of detritus go unnoticed? The rusty cars, single shoes (where do the other ones get to?), water bottles big and small, fridges growing in the trees, a gas storage depot in the middle of nowhere and an impressive array of forlorn couches by the side of the road. Dusty settlements that have sprung up along the shiny new highways, optimistic taverna owners sitting in their large forecourts brimming full of empty tables and chairs. It feels tenuous. And very hot.

Kuzbuk Waterfront through the very very old olive trees

Kuzbuk Waterfront through the very very old olive trees

Kuzbuk Waterfront comprising two cottages is located on a remote headland, west along the coast from Marmaris, accessible only by boat, was our holiday destination. The cottages looked as though they had been designed by someone who had never visited the beautiful site, sitting as they were, uneasily within the designated conservation area.

We almost didn’t make it, following the demise of our UK tour operator one week before we were due to leave. This was a must-happen holiday; the celebration of a dear friends milestone birthday and thanks to the locally-based and most helpful Vicky, who managed to put us in touch with the cottage owners, our groceries, transfers and a boat, we rescued our holiday from the jaws of painful disappointment. The chance to swap shoes for fins all week was just too good to pass up. I so love a cliche: the aquamarine sea – visible from the plane –  so clear, the sunlight directing  you as you swim underwater, little black fish hanging beneath you, all contrasting with a deeper blue as the land slides away into the depths. In the sea, right in front of the cottage, we found a foot-high shelf of pottery shards, handles, broken lids and tiles that kept us guessing as to their origins and contents – the miles of terraced hillsides, gone to ruin, were evidence of the previous Greek occupants. Was all this pottery ancient Greek? I love a mystery too.

Being cut adrift from a holiday rep, meant we had to resort to our inner Cederberg selves to prepare our meals – a BBQ in a wheelbarrow, with no Wifi, infrequent communication, shopped for lovely fresh goods at the local market and entertained ourselves snorkelling and relaxing at the cottages. Apart from the octopus living under the jetty and the herd of death-defying goats who descended from the steep cliffs to sup from the stagnant well and to eat our watermelon rinds, we didn’t have company.

Looking west towards Rhodes

For a destination so busy and so close to other very busy centres, the peace and quiet we enjoyed was unrivalled: no cars, one airplane all week and one rusty old motorboat ferrying people back and forth from the beach club located across the bay, were the only man-made noises that disturbed our peace and quiet. It was wonderful to step off the treadmill for a week, and for that reason, I will return. 

Now to get our money back from ATOL!

Posted in Heritage and History, Tourism, Travel and Leisure, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cornwall really does what it says on the tin

For all the summer crowds, we were so surprised to have what seemed like the place to ourselves, if the killer seagulls weren’t going to peck us to death first.

I dug out the shoe-box of yellowing holiday snaps to remind myself of where we had been and what we had done on our last Cornish adventure: some ruins, lots of rain, unfashionable footwear and an awful B&B with swirly carpets that have not tempted us back in over 20 years.

The roads have improved with scenery just as invigorating, but traffic is worse and still the pubs insist we enjoy our fish ‘n chips accompanied by the local duo who warble through our main course with their lyrics lost on a wind howling straight off the Atlantic.

The overdue “Welcome to Cornwall” sign on the car-pleasing A30 was a relief to finally see and my son described the unfolding scenery of dry-stone walls and sea as “just like Poldark, only with road signs”. Moody, curvy, unshaven, courageous….liable to get one into trouble?

Planning to discover my inner Poldark

Planning to discover my inner Poldark

Cornwall has been a holiday staple since Victorian times, but this year’s summer stampede want to soak up film locations and historic sites to experience exactly where this bodice-ripping 18th century drama unfolded. If this Poldark mini-serious phenomena has escaped you, I can only think you must be living under a rock or living in a far-off land, as this country came to a standstill when Aidan Turner stripped off and picked up a scythe and got busy in a Cornish meadow. This is not, I hastily add, why we are here!

The Lizard Peninsula, where we were staying is the most southerly point in the UK, but is sadly not named after a lizard or mythical dragon, in fact it’s hard to pin down exactly what it is named after. Does it matter? Not to me as unexplained names or weird stuff lends more mystique to this wild and unspoilt landscape, designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) that is largely under the management of the National Trust. That doesn’t mean it’s a museum piece, far from it as the landscape is dotted with much-maligned wind turbines and impressive array of communications dishes at the Goonhilly Satellite Earth station. How cool is that name? It took me five days to recognise why it all seemed so familiar to me: the light and its affect on the colours making for lush greens, deep blue sky, vivid flowers, sparking streams, the sweet smell of the pine forest on a hot day and corgi-sized muddy puddles collecting rainwater in the ruts. So far, so southern hemisphere.

Wheal Prosper 1860

Wheal Prosper 1860

You just have to look at a map to marvel at so much coastline, the coves, the wrecks (and wreckers), the heritage, literature, the surfing, the menace of crumbling cliffs and high tides. The guidebook says “that this surprisingly large area tends to attract visitors who want to get away from it all…with scenery that inspires many to write (who hasn’t read Rebecca?), paint, take photographs or just dream of another life”. Indeed.

Wheal Trewaves

Wheal Trewaves grips the cliff-edge.

Whilst the boys where sampling Cornish sea temperatures without wetsuits, I ventured off to explore the dramatic ruined engine houses and shafts that, from afar, seem to hang off the very edge of the cliffs. Trewavas and Wheal Prosper mines are all that is left of a once thriving 19th century undersea copper mine, just one of many sites scattered across Cornwall. (Wheal is a Cornish word that means a place of work). Long closed, they don’t fail to awe and impress with what they represent in terms of human endeavour and the ongoing battle with the elements to secure the valuable copper.

“Looking after the garden and animals and going fishing were spare time occupations. Considering the length of the miner’s working day and the arduous nature of the work, we can only wonder at their stamina. There were 3 eight-hour daily shifts (“cores”) in the mines from 0600, 1400 and 2200 hrs. Many men walked up to 5 miles to the mine from their homes and, after climbing down hundreds of yards of vertical ladders, walked a further mile or two to actually began work. After 8 hours of backbreaking work in hot, dangerous, cramped and frequently wet conditions, they had to do it all again in reverse to get home.” Author unknown, but more can be read here:

In memory of William Ralph who drowned 6th 1792 in the 21st year of his life.

In memory of William Ralph who was drowned 6th February 1792 in the 21st year of his life.

For all the summer crowds, we were so surprised to have what seemed like the place to ourselves; clifftop walks, beaches, hamlets and isolated parish churches tucked away in tucked away corners of hay fields with remarkable cemeteries with chilling reminders that the sea is never far away from these communities, past and present.

The surrounding woodland, quiet too, save for the birds, that reminded us of Knysna with its sub-tropical vegetation and miles of trails and lovely rivers and streams. Minus the elephants of course!

Peaceful woodland

Peaceful woodland

When browsing for holiday homes we read the reviews and will almost always book the cottage where previous occupants have complained about how difficult it is to get to, or how remote it is, or god-forbid, not near the shops! And the very nice company that has a monopoly of lovely holiday cottages in the South West doesn’t disappoint. You are buying into more than just a location though, it’s all bundled up into a lifestyle break. Been on one of those? I can ignore the woven baskets, stressed furniture and vintage, especially if there is a fire pit, BBQ facilities, a long bumpy track preferably through rivers that leads to peace and quiet.

Up the road from our tucked away cottage, is the Kernowsashimi fishmonger, who don’t sell sashimi, nor are they really open to the public however, with some name-dropping, the strip plastic curtain opened to reveal a team busy with prepping red mullet, monkfish and plenty of mackerel, some caught by our host that very day. No excuse then to not embrace the lifestyle break and abandon the BBQ for one night and god-forbid try out the Aga.

To use a travel cliche, this county is stuffed full of surprises and as a famous actor once said: “I’ll be back.” We certainly will.

If you are unable to travel to Cornwall, but fancy your chances in a meadow, try the Chilterns AONB website for scything courses.

For much more insight into the mining industry and lives of the minors

For information on the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site

For more information on the Lizard Peninsula:

Posted in Cornwall, Film tourism, Heritage and History, Imitation game, Museums, National Parks, National Trust, Niche marketing, Rural Tourism, Sense of Place, Short breaks, Tourism, Travel and Leisure, UK | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wormsley Estate, home to cricket and opera

Like Nuffield Place, Wormsley Estate is also typical of the Chilterns: slightly bonkers, intriguing and tucked away in a beautiful place you have probably only cycled past along the boundary-hugging Bridleway. The home of cricket and opera, not two pastimes I would associate with the same venue, but hey, that’s the Chilterns for you.

I should have known from the gazillion emails leading up to our event, and the clipboards at the main gate, that it wasn’t just anyone who could enter this hollowed ground. Apart from opera days and corporate events, admission is tightly controlled. How fortunate then that I was able to visit.

Set in 2,700 prime Chilterns’ acres, the former home of the philanthropist Sir Paul Getty, who undertook extensive restoration from when he first moved to Wormsley in 1986 and didn’t stop until 1991. The results of his work are sadly not open to the casual visitor, but what is much used by international sportsmen is the hallowed cricket ground known as Sir Paul Getty’s Ground – modelled on the Oval, complete with a mock-Tudor pavilion no less!


A mock-Tudor pavilion vies for top spot with Garsington Opera to get the most OMG’s from the crowd.

Set in a beautiful valley bowl, the glorious June sunshine really showed it off at it’s very best as we assembled for our Chilterns Tourism Network meeting, it was hard to keep my eyes up front and not to watch the cricket team being put through their warm-up paces. There were plenty of photographs being taken and I wondered if the players knew where they were? Or were they just ‘somewhere in England?”

There have only ever been three families resident on this estate since the 16th-century which is an impressive feat in itself and included the Scrope and Fane families, until the 18th-century house was sold to Sir Paul Getty. He added a library for his vast collection of books, developed a beautiful walled garden, continued to purchase great artworks and invited Garsington Opera, who had outgrown their lovely garden home at Garsington Manor in Oxfordshire, to make this their new home. Who knew there was opera on offer here?


Is the art, Walled Garden, dining space in the centre of the lake, or simply the landscape that does it?

One Chilterns-centric story that I particularly like is that faced with a delay in releasing red kites back into the wild, that had been hunted to extinction, Getty offered Wormsley Park as an alternative release site and saved this important wildlife project.

If you are keen to visit, then I suggest you buy Garsington Opera tickets, become a fan of cricket, or splash out and treat your clients to an exclusive champagne reception in the Walled Garden.

For further information on what else to see and in the lovely Chilterns.

Posted in Buckinghamshire, Chilterns, Cycling, DMO's, Heritage and History, Local Distinctiveness, Music | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuffield Place – the epitome of understatement

Nuffield Place is typical of the Chilterns: modest, intriguing and tucked away in a
beautiful place you have probably near heard of.

The William Morris of the British Arts and Crafts Movement-fame casts a huge shadow on this William Morris who brought affordable motoring to Britain, and this is his story.

Born in 1877 in Worcester, William Morris moved with his family to Oxfordshire where his mother had been born and raised. Due to financial pressures, he had to leave school at an early ago to become apprenticed to a local cycle repair shop. A natural mechanic and ‘ a tinkerer of things” he saved £4 over a mere nine months and opened his own business repairing bicycles from a shed in his parents garden, labelling his product with a gilt cycle wheel and The Morris.

He met his wife Elizabeth Anstey whilst both members of the local cycling club. Despite going on a tandem-cycling holiday across some vast distance, they still decided to get married! They had no children.

His stratospheric rise to the heights of motor car designer, manufacturer, wealthiest self-made industrialist of his age and philanthropist seems almost unreal as you wonder around his house. A slightly shabby, down at heel 1930’s house, I was there for an altogether different reason: the launch of the Ridgeway Partnership that is taking a new look at how this ancient pathway is being promoted and used. Nuffield Place just happens to be en-route, tucked away in a secluded woodland above Henley-on-Thames. There is an ever-so slightly unkempt feel here, which I love. No sharp edges, ropes and bossy signs. The gardens are full of wildflowers and so many foxgloves! A pair of kites wheeled lazily overhead, and I was tempted to get a game of croquet underway on the lawn.


Interiors of Nuffield Place, include one very modest “BUD 650” Wolseley parked in a tiny garage.

Designed by Oswald Partridge Milne, this Arts and Crafts house was completed in 1914 and originally named Merrow Mount, which explains the ship on the weather vane. When Lord and Lady Nuffield purchased the house in 1933, they renamed it Nuffield Place after the nearby village. Refreshingly unpretentious, very personal and seems to have escaped being ‘done over’ to appeal to the historic house visitor demographic who needs tips on lifestyle enhancement and all-round heritage self-help. This is a recent acquisition by the National Trust and came very close to being sold, when at the 11th hour, Nuffield College (the college he founded), handed the house to the nation in 2011. We are grateful.


Nuffield Place Interiors are surrounded by beautiful Foxgloves celebrate the gardens-edge with the surrounding woodland.

This great philanthropist who gave upwards of £600 million in today’s money to big medical research projects, also gave quite touching donations including buying a supply of wedding dresses that he kept in one of his shops, that wartime brides who, for whatever reason, could borrow to wear for their wartime wedding. There are still letters from these grateful couples who told of what would have been an otherwise drab day had been sprinkled with some much-needed glamour.

Overheard inside the house: ‘Everyone says it’s so modest…but it isn’t is it?”

Not much has changed from when they lived here and all sorts of personal touches are to be found on dressers, hangers, tables and beds; books including “Rheumatism and you – a handbook”, the ‘Book of Etiquette’ by Lady Troubridge and ‘The Scottish Terrier’ by D.A. Casperz. The ‘Cries of London’ picture series that shows the different street sellers, took me back to my childhood! I am not sure which two or three we had in our modest dining room, but am sure were only cheap prints compared to the entire wall-full of images here.

There is no great car collection either, only a modest Wolseley in the garage, which he saw no reason to upgrade. His wife was a terrible driver, but we are not told of his driving skills, only that he didn’t much like the Morris Minor.

To the many volunteers who were working so hard in the gardens and inside the house, ready to share delightful stories, this special house would not be open without you – thank you!

Naturally I recommend a visit, and if you are a NT member, the splendid Greys Court is nearby so can be enjoyed in a day.

For information on opening times and location: and what else there is to explore and enjoy in the naturally outstanding Chilterns.

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Mills of the Cederberg

This blog post is an unashamed excuse to celebrate one of the finest wilderness areas in the world. The Cederberg runs through my veins and I welcome any opportunity to celebrate it.

Mountains so ancient, they make my brain ache

Located a few hours drive north of Cape Town, it’s the place to go to really get away from it all. It’s the real deal. The place to re-charge batteries with its bucket-loads of big-sky beauty, mystery, coca-cola-coloured rock pools, walks to nowhere, ancient rock art, quaint settlements, dramatic weather, friendships and scary insects!

If the dramatic weather doesn't hook you, the landscapes certainly will

If the dramatic weather doesn’t hook you, the landscapes certainly will

If you don’t manage to get there at least once a year, the withdrawal systems are punishing and I really miss my “lets pop up there this weekend” escapes. My brother travelled there recently in a bid to sate his Cederberg cravings and it gives me huge pleasure to share his lovely photographs and writing on the heritage mills of the Cederberg.

There were a number of operating mills in the area including Matjiesvlei, Grootrivier (Mount Cedar), Nuwerust and Dwarsrivier at the Cederberg Wine Cellar, all in close proximity. Boasting South Africa’s highest vineyards that produce world class wines, Dwarsrivier remains in the ownership of the Niewoudt family, now in its sixth generation of plying the land.


On entering the farm the mill is the stone and thatched building on your right as you approach the farmhouse. Built circa 1850 from local sandstone and roofed with Dekriet, or thatching reed, the wooden doors sills and shutters together with the waterwheel and mill parts were constructed with Cedar wood (Widdringtonia Cedarbergensis), harvested from the surrounding mountains. This hardwood, similar in quality to teak was felled almost to extinction as the demand for timber in the Cape was insatiable.

The watermill at Dwarsrivier

These are remnants of another age; when these farms had to be self-sufficient, combining water to generate power to run sawmills, to power a smithy, or grind cereals. Currently the exterior of the mill is relatively intact having undergone two prior restorations. The water is still channeled along the furrow onto the wheel which requires restoration, but then to restore it would require Cedar wood of which none is now available.

For further information on this and other heritage mills in the area;

For further information on the Cederberg Conservancy:

If you like reading about windmills, my blog post ‘Gentle Giants on the Chiltern Ridges’

Chris Duncan, blogger, photographer, international hotelier, raconteur, adventurer, lover of good food and wine is on a three year assignment in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Read his blog here.

Posted in Cape Town, Cederberg, Heritage and History, Local Distinctiveness, Museums, Short breaks, South Africa, Tourism, Travel and Leisure, Watermills, Western Province | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Seven Sisters

It has taken me 25 years, but finally I made it to the Sussex Heritage Coast and to wonder at those iconic white cliffs – not of Dover – but the Seven Sisters and in particular Birling Gap, further west along the coast. I had only ever glimpsed those white cliffs through a sea fog, or dirty spray-spatted ferry windows on the way to and from the Continent. Today, I was in the hands of an East Sussex local and good friend Vicky, who would show me what I had been missing all these years.

A feast for the eyes: the Seven Sisters along the Sussex Heritage Coast

A feast for the eyes: the Seven Sisters along the Sussex Heritage Coast

We started our walk at the clipped and trimmed village of East Dean, located between Eastbourne to the east and Seaford to the west. At this time of year, cherry blossoms take centre stage, but the verdant verges bursting with nettles, bindweed, cowslips and the last of the daffodils hugging the flint walls also mark the change of seasons, they are just less showy about it. Punters were enjoying the early warmth outside the village pub, heritage low-slung cottages and a deli serving tasty quiches and ‘stinking bishop’ to hungry walkers, nestle around the peaceful village green. So far so typical. As we left the village and headed uphill, I began to pay attention as we crossed through the churchyard of St Simon and St Jude that has an unusual local feature to add to all this heritage eye candy – a Tapsel gate. A wooden gate, nothing special there, but unique to the county of Sussex and one of only six that remain. What makes it unusual is that it rotates in either direction through 90° around a central pivot before coming to a stop at two fixed points. I had never seen one before, and don’t normally get excited by gates, but it was so unusual and fitted the purpose for which it was built: to keep cattle out of the churchyard whilst allowing the efficient passage of coffins to and from the church during burials. A fine invention by a local family to fulfil a local need of both man and beast!

The English countryside seems so benign; few raging rivers, sky-hugging mountain ranges, venomous snakes nor deadly deserts to contend with. Every footpath, dry-stone wall, pasture, woodland and rolling hills mapped and managed. Until you come to the every edge of this British Isle: a chalky headland that just stops, 500 or so feet up from the stretch of English Channel below. Next stop France.

The Seven Sisters are part of the same chalk downlands that form the backbone of eastern and south eastern England, including the Chilterns to the north west. Formed between 65 and 90 million years ago when it was the bed of warm tropical sea, this huge natural aquifer gives rise to chalk streams and a habitat bursting with butterflies and rare orchid species that thrive only in these ancient downlands.

I was amazed to see the pace of erosion and natural destruction along this coastline. This magnificent headland is helpless in the face of violent winter storms and littered now with footpaths which, if followed would mean certain death as they disappear and reappear from thin-air ahead of you. Unobtrusive electric fences have recently been added that run parallel to the clifftop, whether to keep the many sheep from plummeting to their deaths or the 350,000 annual visitors is unclear.

Toe-tingling cliff top views

Toe-tingling cliff top views

Birling Gap, the most photographed settlement along this coast is possibly where the most dramatic change is happening. Enclosed plots of land with a gash at their seaward side, the boundary walls abruptly stopped, mid-stride. The terrace of seven, former coastguard houses now reduced to four, just metres from the sea. How long before these go? Whole buildings lost and in what the National Trust calls ‘managed retreat’ expect their splendid tea-rooms to last another 12 years before submitting to the sea. An ugly, but functional staircase allows access to the shoreline and escape for those facing the incoming tide. The horizontal gangway to the stairwell can be extended to match coastal erosion, and the stairwell can also be removed and repositioned higher up the beach, when the time comes. That’s mighty impressive uber forward planning.

We stopped a while on the polished pebbles and to take in the views from the bottom of the headland and to soak up the sunshine, promising to return with a picnic and a cushion, those pebbles are just not comfortable enough to encourage a snooze in the sun.


That bracing sea air meant we just had to stop at the self-styled ‘foodie oasis’ of the Frith & Little deli-café back in the village and were not disappointed, even the price of a bottle of wine (as recommended by the River Cafe no less), was a very reasonable £7.49 and the bacon cheese individual sized quiches were delicious.

For all the visitors who walk the South Downs Way on a glorious picture-postcard English day such as this, I expect we would all be in for a shock when the weather is wild, the clouds low and visibility poor; it won’t be as bucolic, but unsettling and a tad scary. An antidote to the blandness of modern life perhaps? Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.

Visit soon, before it all slides into the sea.

Posted in Chilterns, Local Distinctiveness, National Parks, National Trust, Rural Tourism, Sense of Place, Short breaks, Tourism, Travel and Leisure, UK | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments