Spring has almost sprung! The last day of February and a perfect sunny morning up on the South Downs Way to the north-west of Chichester. The Devil’s Jumps are well known to local walkers, but I just couldn’t resist taking a photo as they looked splendid against the backdrop of the blue sky.
These Bronze Age ‘barrows’ date back about 3000 years. The site is a fantastic example of a barrow cemetery. Archaeological digs have shown that although many of the barrows contain burials, others were left empty. In 1853 bones were found in two of the large mounds, but the outlying smaller ones were left empty. What I find most exciting though is that the barrows were orientated upon the setting of the sun on Midsummer Day! These people lived so very long ago and yet they were able to accurately pinpoint specific events in their calendar! Plus their lives were not simply surviving the grind of everyday existence, they attached meaning to events and celebrated their lives!
If you don’t happen to know where you can see the Jumps, they are on the South Downs Way just to the north of Hooksway which is just off the Chilgrove Road to Petersfield. There is very little parking – really only in The Royal Oak pub car park – in which case you will need to stop for a drink. Otherwise you can access that part of the South Downs Way by parking in the car park just south of Cocking on the A286 and then walk westwards for about 30 minutes.