The Devil Steps
As a child my brothers and I often played on and around the Devil Steps.
Local residents would tell many different tales of how the steps came by such a mysterious name but folklore told the story that pedestrians who had to ascend such steep steps could be heard uttering words only fit for the devil’s ears.
At the base of the steps
It is known that in Elizabethan times, the low ground at the base of the steps used to be a brickfield. The bricks made there were used in the building of ‘Jarvis Hall’ and probably part of St Mary’s Church.
At the top of the steps
‘Crescent House’ in Mount Crescent, is located at the top of the steps and my auntie lived there with her family. ‘Crescent House’ can be seen from Thundersley Park Road, at the summit where ‘Jarvis Hall’ is located.
Finding The Devil Steps
The Devil Steps are in a wooded area that lies between Hill Road and Mount Road. A public footpath leads through the woodland to the bottom of the steps and this is a regular walk for many of the local residents. Following the footpath through eventually leads you into Mount Road, just beside the Bread & Cheese Public House.
The devil steps today
In the 1960s I remember the steps as being somewhat frightening and very, very steep. I also remember that the surrounding woodland was very dense at that time.
The visit I made in 2010 to take an up-to-date picture left me with a completely different feeling. The steps no longer seemed frightening or steep and the woodland in the surrounding area was quite sparse. However, I did consider that this could have been the difference between the summer and winter foliage.
Generally speaking, I felt quite sad that the steps had been allowed to fall into disrepair. No longer was it a place I felt frightened of but now I felt that it needed some special attention to bring things back to how I remember them. Perhaps a visit during the coming summer to take some new photos will highlight the difference 50 years can make to my childhood memories.
Update – 14th May 2020
The following update about the condition of the steps has been supplied, along with photos, by Susan Mansfield.
I went to visit the steps a few days ago. I am familiar with the steps as I have lived in this area for a long time. The railings have recently been renewed. The steps are concrete, quite wide and it feels safe. One way to gain access to the steps is walk up Hill Road, turn right into a wide footpath, going past the side of a house. Follow the footpath across the stream, turn left straight away to find the steps. At the top of the steps, follow the footpath, turn right at the end, and you will come to Mount Road. Turn left to get to the Bread and Cheese pub on London Road, or right to head in the direction of Boyce Green Golf Course.