Five Elements Adventure Tours (F.E.A.T) A Review For Sussex Visitor

Five Elements Adventure Tours really has changed my life for the better. I have developed a love of exploring our beautiful local countryside, made loads of new friends, and am fitter and healthier than I have ever been.

The last year and a half of restrictions on our daily lives have meant that many people have had the time to re-evaluate what is important to them, and as such made positive changes, such as being more appreciative of things usually taken for granted,  spending more time in nature or outdoors, paying more attention to personal health, and  doing more physical activity. I myself spent a great deal of time exploring the wonderful South Downs countryside that we are lucky enough to have on our doorstep! I soon noticed the health benefits and really started to enjoy my walks so I began researching popular routes in the area, driving further afield to find new paths to explore and experience the breathtaking views that I had not truly appreciated before.

It was during these walks that I began to wonder what was off the beaten track and became more and more curious about the less trodden paths that I was a bit too nervous to explore myself through fear of getting lost. So through a quick online search I came across Five Elements Adventure Tours (F.E.A.T), a company specialising in local micro adventures and day hikes, as well as weekend tours and expeditions further afield. F.E.A.T is owned by two highly qualified local guides; Russell Wood and Alex Anscombe, who grew up together in Ditchling village and have spent their life exploring the South Downs. Their mission is to help people connect with nature and take on the elements, as they know through their own experience that if you work hard in the wild, you feel you can take on anything. This really got my attention so I booked myself onto the next available Tuesday evening “Legion” fitness hike at Ditchling Beacon.

With the clear instructions given when booking it was easy to find the meeting point in Ditchling Village, so as soon as everyone was present and ready we set off on our trek. This particular trek is described as the toughest of their Legion fitness hikes. It really was a hard challenge both mentally and physically, with several steep hills that really got the blood pumping. The rewards however are totally worth the pain. Incredible breathtaking views with a massive sense of achievement and camaraderie when we all get to the top that cannot be beat.

I enjoyed the hike so much I immediately booked myself on to a few more. I have since attended several of their Tuesday evening hikes in all manner of weather conditions and have loved every one of them. I find I feel even more of a sense of achievement when I drag myself out of my comfort zone to hike in the freezing cold or pouring rain, though I have to admit it is much nicer walking in the sunshine. Whatever the weather Russell and Alex will advise on what kit to bring, and I have learnt so much from them about the importance of decent outdoor clothing and gear. Although the Ditchling Beacon hike is the toughest of the walks, each one is challenging and has their own individual  uniqueness. From the rolling hills and stunning nature reserves of Kingston and Castle Hill, breathtaking 360 degree views from the peak of the historic Caburn Fort, to the majastic valleys of Devils Dyke, every hike feels like an adventure, and I really do feel like I can take on anything after completing each one.


As well as the Tuesday Evening Legion hikes I have also been on some of F.E.A.T’s longer “Micro Adventures” day hikes in places such Wilmington to Friston Forest and and the Chanctonbury and Cissbury ring walk just outside of Worthing. These are tend to be a more relaxed affair with larger group sizes and a break for lunch, so you can take your time and get to know your fellow hikers. They really are great fun. Alex and Russell are incredible guides and are keen to share their knowledge about the geology and history of the areas, as well as teach some navigation techniques, giving you a chance to lead the group if you are confident enough.

Five Elements Adventure Tours offer something for everyone at any age of level of fitness. They cater for individuals and large groups and are happy to arrange a bespoke adventure to cater for your needs and wishes. As well as the treks I have already mentioned they also host a range of great fun speciality events, such as A local ale and evening hike with a stop at Harvey’s Brewery shop for some local beers, and a Crucible challenge – a night time adventure where your group is dropped off in an undisclosed location with a map and you have a time limit to reach your destination. Alex and Russell have been busy in the background designing longer and further afield tours and will soon announce overnight stealth camping trips in Sussex and multi day trekking in the highlands and Snowdonia. Now I have built up my stamina with the Legion Hikes and honed my understanding of kit and navigation I cannot wait for these and will be first in-line on the booking page when they are available. Five Elements Adventure Tours really has changed my life for the better. I have developed a love of exploring our beautiful local countryside, made loads of new friends, and am fitter and healthier than I have ever been. So what are you waiting for? Contact F.E.A.T today to get outdoors and enjoy all the South Downs (and beyond) have to offer! I promise you will not regret it.

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