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Worthing, Sussex, United Kingdom

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Mad Miller

Too a short walk on Monday onto Highdown to look at the hill fort there and see how it fits into the plan of the other Sussex hill forts.

The route is short and simple, there's a car park just off the Littlehampton road by Highdown Gardens and with a conveniently placed cafe.

A few hundred yards walk north of west there is a tomb, a relic of one of Sussex's strangest stories. Here lies John Olliver who died in 1794, aged in his eighties. His tomb, however he had built 29 years earlier. The story is recounted better elsewhere, where there is more space, but in essence it is believed he used this tomb to hide contraband away from the customs men for the smugglers who he aied by setting his windmill sails at certain angles to indicate when it was safe to come ashore.

There are few mills left in Sussex now. However, walking west towards the fort reveals a house to the west built from a former mill. After exploring the fort, the highest point of this walk at 81m, continue towards the mill with fine views towards the Isle Of Wight. Looking back Cissbury Ring can be seen, and this shows how Highdown, formerly Ceaser's hill, forms a sort of satelleite for this giant among forts.

As you walk towards the windmill you are walking over the sire of a large saxon settlement, where fine finds have been discovered and are now on display in the Worthing museum. Among these are the stunning Highdown Goblet ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/aM0NVLpaQuGfZiJnxufGVA ). It's no wonder there are signs everywhere reminding the visitor that metal detecting is strictly forbidden.

Pass through a gate and head for the obvious windmill. Once at the windmill, the path south is obvious, and after a short distance turns back east through scrub and copse, and right above the vinyards, for which this is a fine vantage point.

Continue along this path until some steps appear on the right and ascend these north, with an abandoned quarry to your left (east), the site of fine wild flower displays.

Shortly you rejoin your orginal path just west of the hillfort, and another opportunity to explore should not be missed.

Retrace your steps to the carpark, and a welcome slice of cake in the cafe.



  1. Great blogs justin. Always concise yet interesting, inspiring me to get out more and explore what's on my doorstep

  2. Thanks! :) In 3 days it's offically a national park!