South Downs Way – Walker’s snacks, accommodation and the Telscombe Youth Hostel

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At the cosy Telscombe Youth Hostel

We were on the South Downs Way, one of England’s fine walking paths and staying at the Frog Firle Youth Hostel.

For an interesting description of this youth hostel see the article: South Downs Way – Frogs and White Horses

Breakfast with youth hostellers Alan and Jane. Alan mentioned that he made bike wheels for a hobby. In those days, one of the conditions for staying at an English youth hostel, you had to perform a task, such as cleaning, or sweeping the floor. This wasn’t a bad idea per se, but that with not allowing alcohol on site, made the UK youth hostels a little behind the times compared with those on the continent.

After completing our duties we walked to Alfriston, on another clear sunny, day. Alfriston was an atmospheric village. There was Spencer’s General Store and Post Office. In here for postcards, stamps and apples. Next, Woods, the butcher shop was open – pleasantly old-fashioned. We bought some sausages for tonight’s meal.

It was time to get back on the South Downs Way. We spent the next few hours ascending the ridges of the rolling downs. It was fairly difficult work and it seemed to take a lot longer than yesterday’s walk. We passed a few walkers, stopping to exchange walking experiences or a simple ‘hello’. We came to the top of a river valley and descended to the Ouse River. We crossed the railway line and reached Southease, but found that there were no shops. There was a pleasant green and St. Peter’s Church with its round tower.

By (3.30 pm) now we were really hungry. Luckily we had some snacks packed away for just these times. We recommend to always take some trail mix – a mixture of nuts, chocolate and seeds of your choice. Also some fruit. Cookies, crackers and peanuts. And water, as you never know when you’ll get thirsty.

We hoped to find accommodation at the Telscombe Youth Hostel. According to our map, from Southease we still had a 3 ½ km walk up a hill.

This turned out to be the case. Feeling tired, we plodded on and over the hill, finally spying the village of Telscombe in the distance. It looked fantastic.  Our only concern was that Telscombe was at the end of a dead-end road and if there wasn’t accommodation there, we would have to backtrack some distance to get to the next possible accommodation.

We followed the path down and arrived at the youth hostel. While we waited for the hostel to be opened at 5.00 pm, I had a look at our guidebook which read, “The Prime Meridian passes just to the east of Telscombe”. Also that Virginia Woolf’s house, Rodmell, was nearby.

Margaret the warden arrived and we were relieved to find that we there was accommodation available. It was a great little hostel and that night we cooked our sausages.

Today’s walk was worth it. And now showers, food, time to read the papers, crosswords and comfy beds!

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