Devil’s Dyke

Steep hill

On the weekend, The Actress and I went for a walk at Devil’s Dyke, just outside Brighton. It was a 15-minute ride on the happy bus to get to the lush countryside. Devil’s Dyke is a deep, steep, mile-long valley. The legend goes that that the Devil, in a mood, dug a big groove in the earth to drown the local parishioners. The scientific explanation starts from the Ice Age and is a much less exciting story, albeit more informative.

We chose the Histories and Mysteries walk from the National Trust site, which was a moderate figure-of-8 amble up and down the valley, with a few interesting stops. It starts and ends at the pub, and there is a tea room in the middle, which was a thumbs up for both of us. I should add that The Actress is a much hardier walker than I am, and would probably have favoured a circuit five times as long. She was humouring my Saturday afternoon out in the fresh air.

~ Spotted Cow

Devil's Dyke valley

Woman & her dog in the valley

One of the views from the top

The Enchanted Forest

Walls in the forest

We walked the Valle delle Ferriere route when we walked from Amalfi up to Ravello. The way winds through some lush forests, with rivers and waterfalls, and old paper mills and ironworks (hence its name). It was lovely and peaceful, and a refreshing difference to the cliffs and sea that tourists mostly associate with the Amalfi Coast. It rained for some of that day but we had wet weather gear, and instead of getting us down, it added to the enchantment of the forest.

~ Spotted Cow


Old paper mill


2. Under the chalk cliffs

Beneath the chalk cliffs

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge

Picture 2/Story 2

I discovered a lovely walk that starts from the Brighton Marina, which runs along the sea wall and under the chalk cliffs for about 4½km to the village of Saltdean. Not many people seem to know about it and it’s a lovely respite from the tourist crowds.

The white limestone cliffs against the rest of the monochromatic landscape is beautiful. The exceptional feature about it is that there is a motorway above the cliff and you cannot see or hear it. Walking along the path, you might imagine cows and fields. This is even more impressive if you realise that the cliffs are continually eroding and the road sits right on top of it. I kept looking up to see if I would witness a Mini and a bit of cliff hurtling toward the sea. In the event, nothing happened and I lived to tell the tale.

If you want to look it up, the walk is descriptively called the Brighton Undercliff Walk.

~ Spotted Cow

The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo (It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph) and then nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge. Do try it !


Street Art London

Pablo Delgado prostitutes

We’ve having wonderful summer weather in London and it has motivated me to get out and about. One Sunday afternoon, I went on the Street Art London walking tour which traipses around the areas of Old Street, Shoreditch, Hoxton and Hackney.

These Street Art London guys have a good network with local street artists, are familiar with their signature styles and keep up with the ever-changing scene. A lot of street art gets cleaned up by the council and what is around one week is gone several weeks hence. It’s a tough old world unless you’re Banksy.

My favourite piece on the walk is The Wasp at the Old Street roundabout. I already knew it but didn’t know its story. It was made by the artist Zadok one Friday night and he finished to a round of applause. The building owner loved it, and there it stays, preserved. Because of course, graffiti of this kind is illegal.

Big well-known pieces in a public area attract other artists and therefore, you tend to find the art occurring in clusters. Increasingly, however, street art and graffiti are becoming accepted art forms and some of the pieces we saw were commissioned.

As you would walking around a museum, I liked some pieces and I didn’t like others. I can’t possibly describe everything I saw – and it would take the fun out of your tour – but there were two that I found especially fascinating. One was Ben Wilson’s colourful works on chewing gum that’s been permanently embedded into the pavement. And the other was the Mexican-born Pablo Delgado whose humorous miniature paper scenes are elusive to the un-trained eye. You have to get down and dirty on the pavement to spot them.

Note though, the tour is 4 hours and includes a lunch break at the halfway point. I went on a hot day and flagged in afternoon sun in the last half hour of so. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and at £15, great value for money.

Enjoy the pictures.

~ Spotted Cow

Street Art London tourUnicorn Crab mosaic Stick art & girl mural Ben Wilson chewing gum artThe Wasp Zadok

And when they were up, they were up

Koko Head Crater Trail.  It has to be said, we didn’t intend to walk this trail. It was New Year’s Day in Honolulu and the Koko Crater Botanical Garden was closed.  So, instead of walking around the crater floor, we decided to walk to the top of the crater. It turned out to be a far more strenuous morning than we had planned.

It’s about a 1km walk to the top of the crater on a disused tramline, and it is very steep.  The less fit folk probably enjoy the views on the way up more because you look out to the bay when you need to take a rest. The faster folk power up the steps like mountain goats. There are 1048 steps and the steepest incline is the final stretch toward the top.  It made me think of the Grand Old Duke of York nursery rhyme – “And when they were up, they were up”.  You keep thinking you’re almost at the top, but the stairs seem to stretch forever.

~ Spotted Cow

Koko crater tramline

Koko crater trail views Koko crater trail view