Monday, 13 February 2012

A dangerous ghost in Bolney, Sussex

This medium distance walk embraces one of the loveliest churches in Sussex and some of the more gentle scenery. It also passes the internationally famous Hickstead Horse Show ground and the marks left by some energetic 1990s road building. The phantoms to be met along the route are inoffensive, though that did not stop one of them hitting the local headlines.

The Walk

1) From the corner of Bolney Street and Ryecroft Road walk east along Ryecroft Road. This lane ends in a T-junction with what was once the main A23 London-Brighton Road. The modern road lies a hundred yards further east and is constantly busy with the roar of high speed traffic. The old road is now a quiet road running north to link up with lanes that run off to other villages nearby.

This stretch of road is haunted by a ghost that was briefly notorious back in the 1980s when it caused a road accident here. The phantom in question is that of a young lady wearing a long coat or dress of some dull colour, such as beige or grey. She is usually seen walking along the side of the road, but on one occasion took a very different route. She stepped out in front of an oncoming car.

The driver and passengers all felt the sickening thump as the car hit the woman, whom they took to be a real person. The car swerved out of control and ran off the road. Fortunately neither the driver nor any of the passengers were badly injured, though the car was a wreck. Of the woman who had been apparently run down, there was no sign. The badly shaken driver spent some time searching for the body he was certain must be there, but found nothing. He reported the accident to the police but they, too, were unable to find the missing body.

Only then did a local intervene to tell the well known local tale of the haunting. With no better explanation to hand, the missing woman was assumed to have been the ghostly woman of Bolney.

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