Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Things to do now that the nights are drawing out...

We too, from the Avalon Brighton, took an afternoon off and went to see Single Spies at the Theatre Royal. I have to say I found it a bit dull and nearly dozed off in both plays! Her Majesty herself (played by Diana Quick) made an appearance in the second play - unexpectedly as Sir Anthony Blunt was logging her collection and she was home early from an abandoned opening of a new swimming pool which had cracked the day before. The dialogue was playful (although I thought the Queen had a real air of menace about her). I also thought the discussion about art was more from the mouth of Alan Bennett than anything HM might come out with.

There was never a hint of why these two men, both played well - but sometimes a little strained - by Nigel Havers, should have so utterly betrayed their country. They just seemed affable toffs and perhaps, in all their muddled and misguided ways, that's all they ever were.

But that's indoors - outdoors is much more fun. There's an amazing battle at the end of the film Zulu - the Battle of Rorke's Drift. Perhaps not something this country would commemorate with the pride it once did but an immensely heroic tale nonetheless of holding out against overwhelming odds. A small mission surrounded by the hills from which the enraged Zulu armies attack. Well, out on the Downs is a spot which always reminds me of it. From immediately outside the Avalon you take a 2 bus to point on the road in to Woodingdean where the first houses start. Go back behind the end houses and there's a pathway (Jugg's Road or Drove Road) which eventually leads you to Falmer Road.

Cross this and take the track curving right after the car park. After 250m bear left to stay to the right hand side of a fence. The valley opens up to your left and you go around a hill with spectacular views. Eventually you'll see the mission hall (actually a derelict sheep pen). You do a big backward loop then the path drops down towards the buildings (you can go straight down the hill across the fields but there are two nasty barbed-wire fences to cross). It's actually called Standean Bottom which doesn't have the same cachet as Rorke's Drift.

Take the flat 'road' away from the buildings and eventually swing right uphill and around, staying on the same track. Remote houses belonging to the waterworks are down the hill to your left. This track eventually takes you back in to Rottingdean - just turn left at the end down to the village. You can get a bus back to Brighton or, if you're still up for it, walk the undercliff to the marina, stop for beers and grub, then continue back to the city.

If you're staying with us, we'll lend you the OS map. Or you can walk the whole thing - no need for buses if you don;t want to. You can be off the beaten track within 10 minutes of the Avalon.

Brian Snow
Avalon Hotel Brighton

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