1 Inch: 1/2 Mile was conceived on the South Downs of Sussex, near our home city of Brighton. This map details a secluded, half-forgotten valley on the fringes of the city – for us, the ideal environment in which to hear it.
From the edge of the suburban housing estate of Woodingdean, the route descends through rolling downland into what was once the village of Balsdean, evacuated and subsequently destroyed during World War Two. Of the manor house, cricket pitch, farms, cottages and lunatic asylum, nothing is now visible save a few scattered foundations; the site of the Norman chapel is marked only by a plaque.
Those of a curious and/or dogged disposition might also like to know that we have secreted, in the environs of Balsdean, a single, utterly unique Grasscut artefact. Its location is hinted at in bonus track A Lost Village.
Transport: There is a small car park on the hill above Woodingdean, just to the east of Brighton, at the junction of Bexhill Road and Falmer Road. There are also buses to Bexhill Road: 52 (from Brighton Station) and 22A (from Brighton’s Churchill Square); the bus stop is called Sea View Way. The walk should take around 50 minutes.
Start point: Walk over the bank at the top corner of the car park, and turn right along the first path. You will see two phone masts. Head towards the larger one on the right, beyond the houses. (This path is Norton Drive, and old drovers’ route between Brighton and Lewes.) Keeping the houses on your right, continue for five minutes. 250 yards before the phone mast, the path divides into three. Take the left path, signposted as ‘South Downs Circular Walks’, towards a wooden gate 50 yards ahead.