Today was another grand instalment of Hike Club, my informal walking group which has been going for over seven years now. Despite that, we only manage to get together around four times a year, and now that several babies have been thrown into the mix, it has slowed things down somewhat (by that I mean some of the Hike Clubbers are having them, rather than we’re allowing some babies to come hiking with us. Which definitely would slow things down.)

This particular Saturday, we were only three – me, B and C – but our spirits were undeterred and the walk looked promising: an 11 miler around the South Downs, taking in some windmills, an Iron Age fort, and even some medieval dewponds! Rock and roll. The weather, once we’d got out of London, brightened considerably, and once we’d passed the windmills and walked through pretty bluebell woods, and along the ridge of the Downs, it even brightened up enough to let us sit outside at the Half Moon pub for lunch.

This is a smart, friendly and welcoming place, with lovely, chatty staff and really nice food. It’s nothing fancy, but it uses good local ingredients and we were all pretty impressed. B went for the pork and apple sausages with mash, which had a good pork and appley taste (funnily enough), and C chose the burger. I was initially drawn to the idea of a venison and barley soup but when they said they had a fresh catch to choose from every day, I was sold, and went for the grilled and filleted sea bream. It came with firm, nutty Jersey Royals and a bulgar wheat salad, and tasted freshly caught with smokey, grilled flavour – with a squeeze of lemon juice, it was pretty awesome.

As we’d not had starters, we decided on this rare occasion to share a couple of desserts: an insanely good, warm, lemon polenta cake with creme fraiche, and a mini vanilla cheesecake with poached rhubarb and a rhubarb sorbet, which was delicate and refreshing. The place felt like a real find, even though it’s been there for over 200 years, and judging by how heaving it was by the time we left, the locals obviously think so too.

The rest of our walk took us to the lovely little town of Lewes, where we had a much deserved drink in the sunshine before heading back to a rather cloudy London. Hurrah, hurrah! For Hike Club!