17th July 2004

Chanctonbury Ring

It was decided that it would be a good idea to visit Chanctonbury Ring in West Sussex to check the lay of land, parking etc. a few weeks before a planned night vigil with a larger group later in the month. Steven arrived at the Ring first; Geoff and I arrived a bit later from being delayed after taking a couple of wrong turns. We’d received a call earlier from Steven to say that the Ring itself was fenced off with no visible access. Having come so far we weren’t about to be deterred and finally met up with Steven around 4 o’clock at the car park at the base of the hill. Steven had already been up to The Ring, which involved a 45-minute trek up the hill (I’m afraid it didn’t do his shoes any good). Steven confirmed with us that he’d gone all the way round The Ring only to find that there was fencing protecting the site. Geoff and I decided that we should go up and take look anyway, as if nothing else we could say we’d at least seen Chanctonbury Ring. Steven had decided to cut his losses and head home (I can’t say I blamed him either).

Chanctonbury RingChanctonbury RingChanctonbury Ring

We started to the hill and after about 5 minutes I realized the route that we were taking wasn’t the same route Steven had taken, as there was no obvious path. The hill inclined at about a 70-degree angle it was extremely wet and muddy. After questioning Geoff at some length he admitted it was probably a different route but he thought it’d be quicker way up. If you ever do visit the Ring I suggest you take the longer more scenic route, especially as there are signs. Steven also mentioned that he did experience a strange feeling on the walk up. The only feeling I felt half clawing my way on my hands and knees was fear as I am extremely scared of heights. Half being dragged by Geoff (who shouted encouragement at me) and half raw determination, I made it to the top. Once I’d started to breathe properly I have to say it was an amazing view. You can see for miles in all directions and with it being a windy day it was quite breathtaking.

We made our way to The Ring, which was a lot smaller then expected (it only takes about 5 minutes to walk around) and as Steven had said there was a waist high fence topped by barbed wire, that goes all the way round. As we walked round we did find a section of the wire that allowed easy access. Unfortunately there was a group of people having a picnic nearby so we had to walk round the other side. While Geoff held down the barbwire with his pliers on his Gerber he threw me over the fence then followed after. We made our way as quietly as possible to roughly the middle of The Ring then sat and waited. The original trees I think were blown down in the storm of 1987, however a lot of trees and undergrowth has grown back since so it’s quite dense and overgrown. It’s a bit of a struggle getting around inside. I did a bit of dowsing with my pendulum without much success, because it was so windy. I’d already tried dowsing outside The Ring with even less results. We only stayed a short while in The Ring because even though there were not any “No Trespassing” signs (the fence seemed to be there more to keep sheep than people out), we didn’t want to push our luck.

Neither of us felt particularly scared. No sensations of paralysis or anything like that. The only two incidents of note was once when we both turned round at the same time as it sounded like there was heavy footsteps coming through the undergrowth and also when Geoff mentioned he did feel like he was being surrounded. Geoff wandered off on his own for a bit, and I have to say I didn’t feel all that worried about being on my own, although there is a slight feeling of being watched. After only being in they’re for less then an hour we decided to head for home. We exited the same way we entered, only to find the picnickers had left and we could have got out the easy way.

Chanctonbury RingChanctonbury RingChanctonbury Ring

We went down the same hill we’d come up, only because it was getting late and neither of us felt like a 45-minute walk. I descended the hill very ungracefully on my behind, with Geoff just ahead ready to catch me, if my crouched skiing position failed.

It was a fun, interesting and rather a tiring day out, but I have to say that is all it was, no real paranormal activity. If you ever find yourself at a loose end it is worth a visit. As to conducting a night vigil, we all agreed it wouldn’t really be worthwhile as there is no easy access (unless you are Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 2). There is not really anything of note at the Chanctonbury Ring. It is perhaps a night vigil that one or two people may want to conduct, but it doesn’t really warrant a larger group.

By Samantha J. Styche

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