Road (not) closed

On 11 August 1940, 21 year old flying officer, Richard Stephen Demetriadi, was killed in action, when his plane was shot down over the English Channel following a fight near Portland. His father, Sir Stephen Demetriadi, pre-WWI owner of Rolls Royce, in memory of his son, gifted Ditchling Beacon to the National Trust.

The Demeriadi family were very successful Greek merchants who lived in Westmeston, just down the road from Streat, where we’ve been staying this weekend. In fact, Streat Church has a war memorial inside which includes Richard’s name.

As a side note, this kind of thing shows that no matter how much money you have, you can still be killed in a war.

Anyway, back at Ditchling Beacon, the parking area was almost empty as we arrived today, as a detour on our way home. It was the complete opposite of yesterday, crowd-wise. We didn’t see a single cyclist on the way up and there were far too many car spaces to choose from.

Mirinda always hates when there’s too many car spaces. She’s much happier when we arrive somewhere and there’s only the one.

Having driven around the car park a number of times, my wife finally chose a spot and parked up. I started off, walking up to the summit of the hill.

Once an Iron Age hill fort, it’s now a lovely rolling landscape where sheep graze blissfully unaware of anything and dog walkers follow their canine charges as they sniff a bounty of delightful messages.

The day was a bit hazy so the views to the sea beyond Brighton were veiled in mystery, however, it still looked fantastic. Lots of dog walkers and lots of dogs, most of which came and said hello and a smattering of joggers. I also passed a single cyclist as he headed along the South Downs Way.

That sounds crowded. It wasn’t. It was lovely.

I made it to the trig point. The benchmark on the trig point was 248.165′ above sea level in 1967 when it was first levelled. I have no idea if this has changed.

While I was photographing the details, Lara, a chocolate cocker cross of some sort, warned me off her jogger owner. She then came straight over, tail wagging and insisted I give her a pat. I told the guy he had an amazing place to jog. He agreed.

With that, he jogged off, Lara followed him and I headed back to Max for the drive home.

The drive was pretty much smooth and easy though there was a long stretch of country road, littered with Road Closed Ahead signs every few miles. I don’t know where the road that was closed actually was because we never found it.

Mirinda was concerned we’d have to retrace our steps about 20 miles but, as I assured her, the road that was closed could have been in Scotland for all we knew. We turned off long before we found it.

We decided to pick the dogs up on the way passed the kennel and two more excited cockerpoos, I’ve never seen. I think three days is enough for them to miss us terribly. When we’ve gone away for two weeks, they seem to accept the fact that we’re never coming back and their greetings, while still excessive, are muted in comparison to today.

They went mental. Dashing about, jumping up at me, trying to get into a BT van and some other dog owner’s car. It was very funny.

Back at home, I quickly unpacked then headed off into Farnham to shop while Mirinda quickly hopped into a meeting.

The park looked lovely and green and was full of dog walkers and parents with strollers. Such a delightful day.

A lovely finale to a lovely weekend away.

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