Monthly Archives: December 2014

South Downs Churchill Tank – Sleeping Giant

High up on the South Downs in West Sussex, a short walk from Kithurst Hill car park, surrounded by peaceful fields, wildlife and crops, sits a now silent giant. A beast of a man-made machine.


Over 75 years ago this area of the South Downs, rising above Storrington, Cootham and Parham House would have been a hive of military activity.

South Downs WW2 Tank – HD Video

The following video was shot on 17th May 2015 by myself, an hour before sunset. The audio is very quiet because it can be very quiet in that part of the South Downs National Park. A far cry from back in 1941 / 1942.

The South Downs, with their sparse population back in the 1930s – 1940s were the ideal training grounds for battle ready Canadian troops and their metallic machines.

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Chanctonbury Ring Long Ancient Shadows

The South Downs of Sussex are legendary. People travel for miles to enjoy the rolling hills, chalk cliffs and rich history. The area abounds with tall tales and legends, from Roman Roads to the Devil himself.

I planned a walk from the busy village of Storrington to Chanctonbury Ring, West Sussex and back, some 12.5 miles round trip. I allowed myself 4 hours, as I always take far too many photos along the route.

Storrington River Walk

The morning of my walk, 20th December 2014 was wet and dark, a typical late December day. The weather forecast did offer the promise of sunshine later in the morning. I knew I had limited daylight, the winter solstice being the next day! I packed my South Downs map, a walking pole and wore my hiking boots and not my trail shoes.

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Heading North to The South Downs

I’ve always enjoyed the views from Beachy Head, the famous white cliffs towering over Eastbourne East Sussex. Often confused online with the white cliffs of Dover, some 70 miles further north along the coast. I do find myself making comments online if people have posted images of Beachy Head and labeled them as Dover, Kent!

I don’t mean to be picky but the white-cliffs at Beachy Head are the start / end of the South Downs and indeed the 100 mile walking trail, the South Downs Way. The white-cliffs at Dover are part of the North Downs and, not surprisingly, the North Downs Way loop takes in the location. A subtle but important difference, especially if you have just told your friends to meet you there for a walk.

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Recent Comments

  • Chris Newham on Steyning Super Bowl WalkHello Gary (or any other reader who can help). Your wonderful article suggests you might be able to help me. My mother, who used to be a long term resident
  • Tim Benham on South Downs Churchill Tank – Sleeping GiantMy son and I saw ur posts which helped us find the tank today... was splendid.... whilst there 5 other people turned up to see it... she still draws a
  • Nina French on Escape The South Downs WayHi Malcolm. Just wanted to say thanks for the guidance on the wonderful Kithurst Hill to Burpham and back walk. Did it today with Asterix the Beagle on a glorious
  • M art in hayes on 15 Litre Hydration Rucksack – Gear ReviewCan I fit a bigger rucksack over the top of this,whilst walking,sorry if this is a stupid question,I do carry water with me as I am a long distance walker.
  • Sharolyn Craft on Border Collie Dave – Chapter 8I lived your story. We rescued a Border Collie after our last one died. She taught herself how to be my husband’s Service Dog both snuffing to make sure his
  • Malcolm Oakley on Border Collie Dave – Chapter 9Hello Sophie, thank you for reading Dave's adventures, hope you are enjoying the insight into our life changes!
  • Sophie on Border Collie Dave – Chapter 9Great post! I love Dave - I'm glad you both had a great time walking out on Dartmoor. It's always so lovely there when the sun comes out. I hope
  • Malcolm Oakley on South Downs Churchill Tank – Sleeping GiantThank you for your comment. It's a beautiful location up by the tank, glad you enjoyed it.
  • Fred Brans on South Downs Churchill Tank – Sleeping GiantLooking around what to see in Storrington I found your story Aboutaleb the tank. Without your descripion I had never found it. Nice road to parking and walk way. Thanks
  • Mike Busby on South Downs Churchill Tank – Sleeping GiantThankyou for helping me find this. My father was in the Tank Regiment in the second world war and trained in Churchill tanks. Its a lovely spot and I often

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