Firle Beacon – Southease

Firle Beacon – Southease

June 19, 2020

Firle Beacon car park to river Ouse and back

We’ve put together this short route which takes you from a car park at a high point on the Downs near Lewes, and follows the South Downs Way from the car park down into the Ouse valley and back.

Here is the route on OS

and on Strava

Grid ref TQ 4619505750

It is an easy route to follow going West from the car park and following the South Downs Way markers to the bridge over the road carefully crossing the railway crossing to the river. You can then retrace your steps, take the footpath by the river into Lewes to the north or Newhaven to the south. There is also a train service which stops infrequently at the station so you do need to know times.

The radio matsts
on Beddingham Hill

In our modern environment we expect to be connected to everyone and everything worldwide at the flick of a smart phone; you can feel the buzz of power surging up from the transformer as the mast transmits thousands of radio and phone messages, but how are we connected to heaven?

 “Thus says the LORD who made the earth the LORD who formed it to establish it—the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:2-3

What is really obvious is the proliferation of a vast collection of flowers. This is real downland meadow.

The singing of skylarks fills the air as they shoot up heavenwards, just like our prayers. The skylark reminds us that prayer is not a duty but a joy. Pure worship is pure delight and our prayers wing swiftly to heaven as effortless and beautiful as a skylark’s song.

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

Mary’s Song, Luke 1:46-55

On this part of the South Downs way we are walking on a ridge between the sea on our left and views extending over to the Sussex Weald on our right. The towns of Seaford and Newhaven on our right, with the settlement of Bishopstone in between.  To our right the villages of Glynde with Firle beyond and Ringmer marked out by its wind turbine on Glynde hill.

As you walk along the tiny hamlet of Beddingham comes into view with its handsome parish church of St Andrew.

The landscape down here changes with lowland marsh and water meadow. We also have evidence of the industrial past of the river which was once a major waterway from the port of Newhaven to the boat yards and iron works in Lewes. You can see evidence of this in the old swing bridge now welded solid.

The old swingbridge, Southease
The reedbeds here remind me of Jesus description of Himself, quoting Isaiah,
as the Suffering Servant

Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
a bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

Matthew 12:16-21

From the river, if you wish to return to Firle Beacon car park, you need to retrace your steps, climbing back up Itford hill. There is a direct route by footpath, avoiding the meandering track, but it will make you puff!

Trains occasionally stop at Southease station, heading for Lewes and Brighton or Newhaven and Seaford. You are advised to check on current times for this service.

If you are feeling bruised or your faith is just like smouldering flax, or if you are just breathless from the climb, come to Jesus who was bruised for us. How about sitting and meditating on all the wonderful sights and sounds, and on your Bruised Saviour. You could read this book: The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes .

“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28 

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