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The Victorian devils playground


Devils Dyke was once the playground of royalty and attracted many of the victorian revellers visiting the south coast.

In 1894 it was the home of Britain's first cable car, the concrete mounting blocks can still be seen. There were also merry go rounds, fortune tellers, bicycle railways.

Purchased in 1892 by game hunter and traveller Mr HJ Hubbard, the Dyke Estate was transformed into a leisure playground that embraced the weird, wonderful and plain unusual.


Mr William Thacker bought and restored a small inn perched on Devil’s Dyke in 1835 to attract more tourists.

A steep scarp slope down to the valley and Saddlescombe was hard for some of the visitors to get down, so a funicular railway was built in 1889 and ran for 20 years.


By 1918, the Government had requisitioned Devil’s Dyke and transformed it from an adventure park into a munitions research and testing ground.

Although there are few known facts and little remaining evidence, it is clear that the military was making a new generation of weapons in the hope of breaking the four-year stalemate on the Western Front.


The Devils Dyke 2019

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© 2017 by  DAVID OAKLEY