Tag Archives: Treacle Mines

The Chalk Pits and Offham Farm Shop

28 Jan

The walk

Attempting today a walk I was going to do a few weeks ago, which I didn’t manage due to issues of finding parking. Today, I was better prepared – there are three parking lay-bys but all on the wrong side of a very fast road, so as I drove past I noted which one was nearest my walk’s starting point and then continued on the road until it was safe to turn round.

This walk starts from the Jubilee bus stop at Offham and heads straight up the hill to the chalk pits.

Offham Chalk Pits

I was expecting a brighter start to the day, yesterday had been beautiful, sunny and frosty for our run in Bramber, but today was damp, grey, albeit warmer.

Protected Wildlife Site

This area has been designated a protected wildlife site due to its habitat, probably due to the chalky terrain.

So, a grey Monday morning and a fierce walk uphill all the way to the top of Treacle Mines, (I have been trying to find out where the name ‘Treacle Mines’ comes from but the nearest I can find is in this article about the Battle of Lewes where the troops were said to ‘come to a sticky end’) and on to a wonderful view towards Lewes and the spectacular Offham chalk pit.

View towards lewes

Chalk pits, Offham

Chalk mining was a big industry between 1809–1890, where the chalk was used to make lime for fertiliser. In order to get the chalk down from the quarry for transportation on the River Ouse, a funicular railway was built. You can read the full story here.

There was a good information board which had some augmented reality features but unfortunately my phone did not pick up the content.

Chalk Pits information board

From there I walked a little further on to a gate to a field with a sign which said ‘NO SHEEP IN THIS FIELD’ and, yes, you guessed it, it was full of sheep. Dropped down through the field and crossed a main road, then followed a Tarmac path down to Offham Road and on through a housing estate.

Offham

By this time I was about ready for a coffee break, and, spotting an empty bus shelter, decided it would make a good stop. Within a few minutes people began arriving at the bus stop, first an older woman, smartly dressed in black with bright pink lipstick, and then a younger girl. I felt obliged to explain to my audience that I was not, in fact, waiting for a bus but just having a break in my walk.

Bus stop coffee break

The older lady was very chatty and heartily approved of my breakfast stop, warned me to be careful out there – you youngsters she said, going off on your own – youngster! Well I am nearly 48 but I readily accepted the compliment. We also discussed ‘cardiac hill’ (which apparently is School Hill in Lewes), Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (which she had seen at Eastbourne cinema when it came out) before I bade them farewell and completed the walk, along the Old Coach Road – extremely churned up and muddy – and back to Hamsey and the Jubilee bus stop.

Hamsey church

The farm

I decided to keep local today and so I decided to revisit Offham Farm Shop, which I knew would be quiet and I could possibly get some work done in the café. 

Offham Farm Shop

It is not a big shop or an extensive café, mainly focusing on their meat counter, good value meat boxes and a range of home made pies. There is also a small selection of vegetables, cheese, ready meals and ice cream. For lunch there are sandwiches, soup, and sausage rolls. Generously sized cakes are also an option!

Offham Farm

Next week’s sausage rolls?

 I bought some lovely honey with nuts – it is expensive but a spoonful of that on some Greek yoghurt and breakfast is sorted!

English honey

The lunch

From the menu, I chose the soup of the day which was tomato. It came served with some fresh crusty bread and both were of generous proportions – quite a bargain for £4.50!

Offham Tea Room

 

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