South Downs Sunrise

After much faffing in January, February and March and after one failed attempt in April due to a bike problem, I finally managed a ride and bivvy on the South Downs a few weekends ago. And it was lovely. I took the train with a friend out of London to Shoreham on Sea, headed up the Downs Link Bridleway, turned west onto the South Downs Way and pedaled up to Chanctonbury Ring for the night.

Part of the South Downs Way

We spotted a few potential spots for an overnight stop, although all were squeezed in somewhere between farmland. But as we crested the brow of a hill and saw the trees of Chanctonbury Ring in front of us, it was obvious that this was the perfect spot.


First time with the SilTarp 2. The Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn poles that I’d bought to use with the tarp were a little flexible but we ended up with a pretty solid shelter.


Trees, tarp, bike and friend Anna. The wind picked up that evening so I pitched one end quite low for some protection, which obscured the sunrise view from inside. But the view was well worth getting out of my sleeping bag for.  Anna somehow survived without having brought a sleeping mat and was apparently comfortable with on with just the ground sheet and a foil emergency blanket beneath her… She must be more hardcore than I previously thought.



Beautiful morning light.


A little chilly overnight…


Other breakfast cereals are available.


Time to go…

It was beautiful being up on the Downs before the rest of the world woke up and with such beautiful views.   The following morning we retraced our steps back down to the Downs Link and then headed north. The plan was to head to up to Guildford but somehow we ended up in a pub in Horsham for lunch instead. 🙂

There are a few more photos here.

The following weekend I headed to the Peak District for a few days around Edale and Hathersage. Some friends were planning to walk between campsites but my plan was to head off on the bike each day, meeting up with them each night. New post with photos shortly.

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  1. Looks like a lot of fun and there is nothing quite like the early morning light in the countryside. I’m off on a wild camp next week here in the Fens, can’t wait!

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