Chiltington Lane

some driving advantages of Wickham Lane

by C L Scribbler - July 19, 2019
If you amble along Chiltington Lane with the Downs to your right then when you get to the end of the lane you'll have a choice of turning up to your left or dropping down under the railway bridge #670 on your right.

Up on the left is Wickham Lane.

This is even narrower in parts than Chiltington Lane - so most of the time it's not what you'd ideally choose from an easy driveability angle - but from there are some times when it's the best way in or out - regardless of what the maps may tell you.

Wickham Lane is the best choice in 2 situations.
  • When the alternative roads are flooded.
  • If you've got a high vehicle which might get stuck under a railway bridge.
flooded roads - what floods?

Relax. This isn't Lewes. We're a lot higher up and have the benefits of a stream which takes water away at the lowest point.

When I talk about flooding - I mean flash rain which collects at the lowest point on the roads for a couple of hours - the type of thing which you may be tempted to accelerate and splash through - but shouldn't.

In the early years of my living here it wasn't unusual for the Plumptonward exit past the end of Chiltington Lane to be under 6 to 12 inches of water at the dip in the road at the bridge in Highbridge Lane.

And on such days if you were hoping instead to go via Beechwood Lane or Allington Lane then you might encounter something more like 2 to 3 feet of water under the railway bridge.

In the dark it was always hard to judge just how high the water under the bridge might be. And this was a guessing game which even residents sometimes got wrong.

Due to a number of misjudgements and flooded cars - the powers that be placed rulers by the side of the road in 2017 to tell you how deep the water was. (Although initially they were positioned too high up the slope and so provided a false sense of security about the depth at the deepest point).

This degree of road flooding hasn't happened much in recent years due to the ditches having been cleared more regularly and some adjustments having been made in the surface of the road.

But every now and again if the rain is really heavy and especially if I'm on my way back home from a long trip (because the detour around the low points of the roads is many miles) I ask myself - is it one of those days to head for Wickham Lane regardless of what the satnav might suggest.

Having said all that - it's always pretty walking in Wickham Lane as the elevation (compared to Chiltington Lane) opens up many different lovely views - which sometimes includes fresh cherries too. The cherries aren't growing on the trees but if you turn left as you exit Wickham Lane at the junction with the A275 then within a hundred hundred yards or so you'll see a lay by on the left which at this time of year sells fresh cherries and other fruit.

I used to include the lay by as a clue to visitors coming from the Chailey end of the A275 that they were imminently approaching Wickham Lane and getting close to where I live. But the lay by is such a subtle change in the landscape that it's not as helpful as you might think and many times I've overshot it myself.

Anyway I noticed this week that Boundary Hall in Wickham Lane has recently come onto the market. You can see it and along with some pictures of Wickham Lane here on the estate agent's website.

Final Spring in Novington Lane?
Cycling in Chiltington Lane - how it's grown