Beating of the Bounds - Save Whitehawk Hill Our Ancient Common


Whitehawk Hill is threatened by the building of five high rise blocks which will smash the Local Nature Reserve in two. We will be walking the boundaries of our Common, passing its many boundary stones and marks, in defence of our common. 'The Race Ground' common was preserved in 1822 for "the inhabitants of Brighton and the public in general" at the time of the enclosure of the rest of Brighton's vast commons. Beating The Bounds is an old tradition to mark those boundaries. Bring a long stick!

9.45am: MEET at the 'FOUR PARISHES STONE' at junction of Bear Road and Warren Road, BN2 6AB


10.30am SECOND BIG PHOTO at top Albourne Close, BN2 5FX

Then walk via Haybourne Road, up the slope to the NEOLITHIC CAMP, Manor Hill, then Freshfield Road & Tenantry Down Road back to the start.

If you are less mobile please do just come along for the two photos. That will be a HUGE help.

CAUTION FOR THE LESS MOBILE. We will be climbing the steps up the steep slope of Whitehawk Hill to Manor Hill. Don't feel obliged to complete the walk's second half if this is difficult. It may be a bit muddy, slippery, & chilly so wear good boots and outdoor gear. Fun for kids, dogs welcome. FREE PARKING in Tenantry Down Road & Freshfield Road.

Public Transport: The nearest bus stop to the "Four Parishes Stone" where the walk starts is the Top of Bear Road stop on the 2 and 22 bus routes. The bus stop is less than a hundred yards from the start, with open ground in between, so if you arrive early and can't see a big group of people just wait a bit and it will be become obvious.

We all have the right to enjoy nature and our ancient countryside AND to have decent housing.

Route of Beating of the Bounds walk -

Beating of the Bounds

Beating the Bounds is an ancient tradition dating back around 2000 years when there were no maps. Local people, old and young alike, would walk the boundaries of their local parish, sharing their knowledge of the place and to pray for protection and blessings for the lands.

The youngsters of the parish, usually boys, would be armed with long birch or willow twigs to beat the specific landmarks such as an old tree or stones. The girls and women would wear and carry garlands of flowers and foliage.

The archival narrative of the walks would often include great descriptions of the natural world : ‘a grass snake sunning itself at our approach sought refuge in a stone wall, a “daddy-long-legs” having, like the motorist, shed his leather jacket, sprang up from the grass to greet us, the sulphur butterfly and her mate with the orange-tipped wings flitted by, a young baby rabbit sat up on its hind-legs to see who was coming that way.

There are all too many interests keen to encroach on the margins of our commons. If we don’t object in time, it could mean our common land is permanently lost to future generations. So beating the bounds is just as important to us today. It reminds us that we have a common with a boundary to be guarded, and in the process also reminds us how much we have to celebrate and enjoy in the richness of our shared wild space.