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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 10th March 2012
Bepton - Westdean Woods - Staple Ash Farm - Monkton Farm - Devil's Jumps - Beacon Hill - Treyford - Didling - Bepton.
13 miles.

We've done similar walks in this area before but this time we planned our wanderings to be a little bit further. We also had a mission in mind: to get all the way round and arrive at Didling church before sundown so that we could see it in daylight. The last time we tried was last December and it was pitch darkness before we got there and we couldn't really see what it was like. We knew it was tiny, quiet, very peaceful and also lacking in electricity, as we had to light some candles to see anything at all inside.

What a stunning walk this was: the sun came out, we had blue skies and everywhere Spring was in the air. The birds were all playing Kiss Chase and nest building and the flowers were starting to pop out too. On top of that we had incredible views all day long with very little in the way of human company. Some teams of Air Cadets were on a circular hike around the West Dean Estate and we kept bumping into their staging posts but apart from that we were near enough alone. The feeling of isolation was enhanced when we got to Didling as it seemed to be the quietest spot in Sussex. We stood in the churchyard for about an hour after dark and listened to Tawny Owls hooting, Barn Owl screeching and foxes barking while bats fluttered around us.

Gill did all of the navigating today and she did a really good job of it too. As well as not getting us lost she found it much less of an ordeal than previously and actually found it fun. She's discovered that taking proper bearings means that you can be sure of your direction and you're not just guessing - something that makes you feel very confident when you're out in the middle of nowhere.


 


Chocolate Chewy Cake - always a compulsory purchase when we pass through Petworth.


Our normal parking spot at Bepton. Never a problem finding a space.


Bepton church - as always, so very quiet.


A Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) in flower.


The insignia of the Air Cadets we met while they were out hiking.
We have no idea why they would be killing sharks from the air but we presume there's a good reason.


Monkton Farm. A great spot that is a haven for birdwatchers. This small barn is all that remains of the farm.


A ladybird's bum!


The Devil's Jumps. A line of five bronze age burial mounds where we had lunch overlooking Sussex.
Here's a video we made on our last visit.


The Royal Oak at Hooksway is one of the most out-of-the-way pubs we've found in Sussex.
Unfortunately it's closed Saturday afternoons.


A Raven just below Beacon Hill.


We started to lose the light and had to speed up to get to Didling in time. No dawdling to Didling!


We got it! A daylight shot of Didling church. Almost entirely 13th Century in construction this isolated little place was a perfect place to relax. We stayed here and only left when it was pitch dark. The night hike back to Bepton was another highlight of the day. With no moon the stars were the only illumination and we got escorted by screeching Barn Owls that managed to stay just out of view.


Sussex churches love sheep and so do we, so this embroidery really caught our eye.


Venus and Jupiter in conjunction made up just a part of a spectacular, clear night sky.


Take the time to read the countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.