May Preview

Waysinging: Come Ye All

*‘A walk is only a step away from a story, and every path tells’

For the first week of May I’m off the walk the Sussex stretch of the South Downs Way, along the route I’ll be singing songs that are collected from, or associated with, the places I pass. I’m using my preview post to give details of the walk for any one interested in joining. The best way to let me know if you’re coming along is email How you would like to get involved is entirely up to you – you can come just to keep me company, get me to teach you bits of the songs, walk with me for an hour, meet me at the pub …

Each day will then be made into a podcast available on this site, and I hope very much that people will comment and discuss underneath the posts. I’ll almost certainly say something that people want to debate, they’ll be other versions of the songs people know, they’ll be other walks I could have attempted, they’ll be a chorus of voices; I’m only one. This is exactly as it should be. With that in mind here are a few of my research questions that will act as a backdrop to my journey:

  • What are the archaeologies of intangible cultural heritage/living traditions? How might classification, UNESCO or other, benefit or hinder these practices?
  • Is there a relationship between folksongs and footpaths? How might both be seen to travel, to be acts of ‘consensual making’*? If so, how might this relationship serve to demonstrate the importance of imagination and creativity to how we relate to, and with, our world outside of doors?

The Route:

I would imagine with stopping to sing I’ll be averaging about 2 miles an hour, below are key points of the walks.

South Harting to Cocking , 7.5 miles, 30th April

1pm – The Warren Car Park, Harting

Forty Acre Lane, Two Beech Gate, Pen Hill, Buriton Farm, Devil’s Jump, Didling Hill, Cocking Down, Cocking Hill

5pm – The Bluebell Inn, Cocking

Cocking to Amberley, 12 miles, 1st May

10am – The Bluebell Inn Cocking

Heyshott Down, Littleton Down, Scotcher’s Bottom, Stane Street, Bignor Hill, Westburton Hill, Bury hill, Houghton.

5pm – The Sportsman Inn Amberley

Amberley to Adur, 13 miles, 2nd May

10am – The Sportsman Inn Amberley

Springhead Hill, Kithurst Hill, Sullington Hill, Washington, Chanctonbury Ring, Steyning Bowl, River Adur.

6pm – Upper Beedimg, tbc.

River Adur to Rodmell, 16 miles, 3rd May

8am – Upper Beeding, tbc

Beeding Hill, Truleigh Hill, Fulking Hill, Devil’s Dyke, Saddlescombe, West Hill, Pyecombe, Keymer post, Ditchling Beacon. Plumpton, Black Cap, Mount Harry, Lewes

Train from Lewes to Southease

6pm – Abergavenny Arms, Rodmell, Brighton Vox Choir sing

Rodmell to Alfriston, 11 miles, 4th May

*sunrise on Kingston Hill

11pm – Monks House Rodmell

Southease, Itford Hill, Beddingham Hill, Firle Beacon, Alciston, Bostal Hill

5pm – The George Alfriston

Alfriston to Eastbourne, 10 miles, 5th May

10am – The George Alfriston

Littlington, Windover, Cuckmere River, Charleston Manor, West Dean, East Dean, Seven Sisters, Birling Gap, Beachy Head.

3pm Eastbourne Beach Promenade

*MacFarlane, R (2012). The Old Ways. London: Penguin pp. 17 – 18


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