Wednesday

Things to do for Free in Brighton - Part II

Step into the Green

Brighton and Hove is famous for its seafront and thousands flock to the beach and pier throughout the year. However, it is also surrounded by stunning countryside, from Ditchling Beacon and Devils Dyke, to the Chattri Memorial and Chanctonbury Ring. They can be reached in no time by bus, car, bicycle or even shank’s pony.

Closer still are the various parks scattered throughout the city, each with its own identity and with something unique to offer.

Listed below are some of my favourites, informing you how to get there and a reason to go there.

1) Ditchling Beacon

South Downs

Where is it?

Take a map and the No 79 bus from the Old Steine

What you will find:

With views over the weald (the area between the North and South Downs), this nature reserve is breathtaking and the home of many varieties of wildflower like the fragrant, common spotted and twayblade orchids.

Did you know?

It is the highest point on the South Downs in East Sussex and was used as part of a chain of fires to warn of invasions including the Spanish Armada.


2) Devils Dyke

Gordon Setter, Charlie

Where is it?

Take a map and the No 77 bus from Brighton Pier

What you will find:
 
With the largest Anglo-Saxon dyke (ditch) in Britain; the chalk grasslands and the abundance of wildlife, including a wide variety of butterflies like the Chalkhill Blue, there is much to take in, so sit back and enjoy the views.

Did you know?

One local legend has it that the name Devil's Dyke originates from the story of the devil who came uninvited to a wedding nearby and was chased away by the guests. In anger the devil ran away and formed the groove of the Dyke with a flick of his fiery tail.


3) The Chattri Memorial

Where is it?

Take a map and the No 5 bus from the Old Steine to Patcham

What you will find:

Set in two acres of garden and surrounded by peace and tranquillity this monument is a moving tribute to the bravery of the Sikh and Hindu soldiers that fought in the First World War. Completed in 1921 this simple white Sicilian marble memorial stands on the site where 53 bodies were cremated before their ashes were scattered in the sea.

Did you know?

The Sikh soldiers who fought in the First World War had no other protection during shell fire than their turbans, worn as a symbol of their faith.


4) Chanctonbury Ring




Where is it?

Take a map and the No 2A from the Old Steine to Upper Beeding

What you will find:

800 feet above sea level and surrounded by a circle of beeches planted in 1760, Chanctonbury Ring was originally an Iron Age hill fort. The settlement was abandoned after the Roman invasion before becoming the site of a temple. Soak up the atmosphere of this ancient spot, steeped in history dating back thousands of years.

Did you know?

The remains of a bronze dagger and a young woman buried over 3,500 years ago have been found there.

South Downs, sea on horizon

5) East Brighton Park

Where is it?

Take the No 21 from Brighton Station to Wilson Avenue

What you will find:

Landscaped in 1925 it provides a vast array of sporting facilities and a camp site on the eastern edge of Brighton. From here you can carry on up by foot or on bicycle into the peaceful Sheepcote Valley and listen to birdsong. Brighton and Hove Council organise walks, including the Early Bird Walk with an expert on hand to identify the different birds.

Did you know?

The trenches in the film Oh What a Lovely War were built in Sheepcote Valley.

Sheepcote Valley

6) Queens Park

Where is it?

Take the No 81 from the Old Steine to Freshfield Road

What you will find:

With the most impressive gates heralding you in, the park dips delicately into the duck pond in the centre. There is a playground and a wildlife garden planted by local herbologist Fran Saunders, who runs workshops and walks.

Did you know?

It was originally a Victorian Pleasure Garden with a German Spa, and was renamed in honour of Queen Adelaide, consort to William IV.

7) Preston Park

Where is it?

Take the No 5 from the Old Steine to Preston Road

What you will find:

There’s an old fashioned rose garden and iconic rotunda tea rooms recently restored, as well as a playground, tennis courts, basket ball court, bowling green, cycle track, cricket ground and of course is well known as the final destination for the Gay Pride parade.

Did you know?

Parts of Preston Park were dug up and used as allotments during World War II

8) Stanmer Park



Where is it?

Take the No 78 bus from the Old Steine to Stanmer Park

What you will find:

Over 5,000 acres to explore, a nursery, a pretty little village street and old church dating from the 1830s and Europe’s first Earthship, (a building that uses energy and rain to provide heat, power and water). The park is so big even Gordon Setters have room to stretch their legs.

Did you know?

The name Stanmer derives from the Anglo-Saxon ‘staen mere’ meaning stony pond

9) St Ann’s Well Gardens

Where is it?

Take the No 81B bus from Old Steine to Furze Hill

What you will find:

Awarded the Green Flag, recognising quality and sustainability, it is a favourite of the yummy mummies with its playground, tennis courts, bowling green, pond, scented garden and lots of squirrels (apparently).

Did you know?

It was a popular destination in the 1800s for taking the water from the ‘Chalybeate’ (iron-bearing) spring for curative reasons and celebrated its centenary in 2009.

10) Pavilion Gardens

Brighton Pavilion

Where is it?

Nestled behind the incomparable Royal Pavilion

What you will find:

The most central and well known of Brighton’s parks, winding paths flank cottage-garden flowerbeds, with towering hollyhocks in the summer. It provides a moment of calm in the centre of town, where you can sit on the lawned area and picnic. Or lie back and listen to the buskers, Salvation Army Brass Band and general chatter.

Did you know?

For a plant to qualify for the Royal beds the species must have been known prior to 1825 as well as be resilient to Brighton’s salty sea air and thrive in lime tolerant soil, not much then.

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