Category:Devils Dyke

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Devil's Dyke was (and still is, to a slightly lesser extent) a major tourist attraction for people visiting the Brighton area who wanted to see a really stunning view.

While there used to be a dedicated tourist railway line going to the area from Brighton, it is now served by the No.77 bus route, and the bus company has a leaflet (available from the toy museum or from other local Visitor Information Points) giving recommended walks.

1826 description:


If our Readers have not visited the Devil's Dyke, we advise them, notwithstanding the somewhat fearful import of the name, to betake themselves there forthwith; but lest the sky should be overcast with clouds, and the atmosphere dense and foggy, seize the first clear sun-shiny day for this purpose, and we pledge ourselves that they will not repent their journey. It is rather more than five miles from Brighton, by a pleasant road across the Downs, which gradually rises from its commencement at the end of Church Street, until it reaches the Dyke, where a scene more picturesque and delightful bursts upon the sight, than can well be imagined. A very extensive entrenchment, about a mile in circumference, of an oval form, is separated from the Downs by a wonderful chasm, which seems to have been excavated to form the very high Rampart, which is called Poor Man's Wall; the only access to this encampment is by a narrow projection to the south. From this enchanting height, on a clear day, you have a most romantic view of the whole Weald of Sussex, and the adjoining parts of Hampshire, Surrey, and Kent. The ride to this place is very much frequented; the DYKE HOUSE, a place affording refreshments for the company who visit it, is very pleasantly situated at a little distance from the Dyke ...

— , J. Whittemore, , 1826

1838 description:

The Devil's Dyke, although nothing more than a precipitous valley, formed by the hand of nature, it is notwithstanding, ascribed to the labours of the great Author of Mischief, whose name it bears.

The visitors at Brighton continually resort to this place, to view and admire this remarkable dip in the Downs. The summit of this mount is considered the highest point of ground upon the whole range of the Sussex Downs, perhaps, in the county, and lays open to the cutting westerly winds from the Atlantic Ocean, which prevail here during the winter. But in the summer season, the prospect here is beyond the power of language to describe.

Facing the south, the view comprehends every object upon the ocean, between Beachy Head on the east, and the Isle of Wight on the west, and nearly across the Midchannel. After contemplating the immense space of water, and contrast this view to the north, this spot possesses a picturesque charm the most delightful. The vale to the right and left appears of almost boundless extent. It is in fact, the most extensive one in Great Britain; being in length something more than 125 miles, and in breadth, 25 to 30 miles. It may be considered to commence at Maidstone, in Kent, and keeping the Kentish hills, the Sussex and Hampshire Downs form its southern boundary, terminating beyond Portsdown hill, near Portsmouth.

On the north, the boundary range of the vale begins at or below Seven Oaks, in Kent, and with little interruption, continues towards Blackheath, Norwood, Croydon, &c., Box-hill and Leith-hill, with others of less note intervening. The whole of this extensive vale may be easily grasped in the mind's eye. The great variety of landscapes and sea views, will always attract and interest the observing mind. It seems impossible for any one to visit this enchanting spot, and not return perfectly satisfied with their excursion.

Innumerable parties, not only from Brighton, but from Worthing, &c., resort here, some for the pleasure of the ride and views, and others upon pic nic, and some for gypsey excursions for the day.

— , Saunders, , The Stranger's Guide in Brighton; Being a Complete Companion to that Fashionable Place, and the Rides and Drives in Its Vicinity., , 1838

1846 description:

There are many beautiful walks and rides amongst the environs of Brighton. Chief of these may be mentioned the Devil's Dyke, a stupendous chasm, the summit of which is reached by a gentle ascent of nearly six miles to the north-west, and chiefly over the finest turf. Hence the spectator commands a picturesque view of the ocean, with the whole weald of Sussex, Surrey, and Kent – a valley of 125 miles in length, and from 25 to 30 in breadth. This stupendous and precipitous chasm, regarded by some as too regular for nature, and too magnificent for art, may possibly have been indebted to both for its form. Ancient superstition ascribes its origin to his Satanic Majesty, whose name it bears. On the Dyke hill may yet be traced the lineaments of a Saxon or Danish camp; the mound and the fosse, the former depressed, and the latter nearly filled up through the accidents of time. In the only part where the Dyke did not form the boundary between the hill and the main range of Downs, an immense rampart of earth was raised, the remains of which might still oppose a formidable barrier to assailants.

— , Cradock & Co (publisher), , A Practical Guide to the Watering and Sea-bathing Places, on the Coasts ..., , 1846

Media in category ‘Devils Dyke’

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