Thursday 13th April

Walk - ESCC Downland Walk

During the First World War thousands of Indian troops were mobilised to fight in various theatres. Some of them were unfortunate to be moved from their original deployment as reserves in Egypt to the front line on the Western Front. They were ill equipped for such a struggle, and casualties were enormous. The wounded who survived the journey across the Channel, were treated in various centres on the South Coast of England - a number of them in the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. The Hindus and Sikhs who died there, and in other local hospitals used for the purpose, were cremated on the hill behind Patcham (the Muslim dead were taken to a Mosque in Woking). In 1921, to commemorate these poor men’s ultimate sacrifice for the British Empire, the government erected a memorial chattri, a domed structure on pillars, at the spot they were cremated.

The latest guided walk organised by the East Sussex County Council takes you up Ditchling Beacon and past the Chattri. The route then skirts the A27, and takes you over the crest of another hill to Stanmer Park, past Stanmer House, and into Stanmer village before turning back across the ridge and along the South Downs Way to your starting point. You are advised to take a packed lunch and a flask of coffee. It’s a fairly strenuous walk, so wear sensible footwear and a waterproof jacket.

The Chattri: in memory of the Sikh and Hindu war dead
Meet at Ditchling Beacon Car Park
When? 10am (walk takes approximately 5 hours)
How Much? Discretionary contribution
East Sussex County Council
(t) 01273 481654
(w) Website