For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for

Friday 21 December 2007

Paul's Seven & 1/4 miles walk from Wilmington

There were just 7 of us on Tuesday 18 December to enjoy Paul's splendid walk. The temperature was below freezing as we set out and was -0.5C when we returned to Wilmington at 13.00 hr, 3hrs later.
Setting out to Folkington it was not too hot for a brisk uphill stroll.

The weather was bright and sunny -- almost balmy at this point!

Jevington church yard is a favourite spot for a break, during which Paul's liquorice reserves were distributed to the happy Ramblers.

The North-East wind was biting as we climbed from the south towards the Long Man. This view is looking towards Cuckmere haven.

The final descent past The Long Man and back to Wilmington Car Park.

Thanks for another great walk Paul.

Saturday 15 December 2007

Ashdown Forest Circular

Six Mid Sussex Ramblers enjoyed a
splendid 8 mile walk on this frosty morning, lead by Sue.
From Gill's Lap car park, near The Enchanted Place,
we headed off via Eeyore's Gloomy place and the One Hundred Acre Wood to Hartfield. The gorse seemed especially vibrant in the winter light.

The Anchor Inn was cosy and enjoyable, before setting off again for Pooh Bridge and another exciting round of Pooh sticks!


Thanks Sue, for a great walk.

Tuesday 11 December 2007

More path clearing of High Weald Landscape Trail

The brambles are thicker than your thumb at this point, west of New England Wood near Cuckfield on the High Weald Landscape Trail. They were obstructing the path and on several occasions during the summer, I cut them back.

Now this winter a more permanent solution has been achieved. Using tree loppers (seen in the foreground), I lopped the monster stems at ground level. This is bloody, unglamorous work. Next Spring the benefits should become clear, when I expect to be able to smash back the dead and drying bramble stems and easily? control newly emerging stems. We shall see! For comparison, you can see what the path looked like earlier this year. That was before I cleared thousands of bracken stems, on the very first entry on this blog. You will need to scroll to the archive list at the bottom of this page should you wish to see it.

This once hopelessly overgrown path, used to be difficult to walk. Now it is getting like a municipal park. I'll be planting wild flower beds next....... now there's an idea!

Monday 10 December 2007

Shoreham harbour estuary in December

The weather forecast on Sunday 9 December 2007 was grim.

What was it like when the Vikings first appeared in these waters, I wonder?  This picture is by Werner Karrasch by kind permission of and copyright of
The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark
Some years ago I visited the Roskilde shipyard in Denmark specifically to sail in a replica Viking longboat. I was there early on a Saturday morning to beat the crowds of tourists.... but there was only me. It was necessary to wait until afternoon when I could join a hen party, whose idea of fun was the same as mine. So we rowed out of the harbour -- a group of young Danish women, me and the skipper at the helm. Life can be hard but someone has to do it. The skipper explained that the pride of the Danish nation depended on our coordinated rowing skills. Camcorders were running on the quayside as we slipped our mooring ropes! So I pulled with this clutch of lovely Danish ladies... for the sake of Denmark. What bliss. Once out the harbour, we hoisted the sail and we got a real feel of these magnificent vessels under sail.
By now, an experienced Viking, the skipper asked if I would do him a favour and crew with 3 Americans who wanted to sail later that day. A minimum of 4 oarsmen were needed to take a boat out. With already blistered hands and full of Viking adrenaline I willingly agreed and later found myself in a replica Icelandic whaler. Deep joy.
Such Viking longboats must have been sailed and rowed with the tide, up to Bramber castle. The Normans were Vikings remember. They just happened to speak French, having lived in Normandy for a hundred years or so.
With such thoughts in my mind and despite the weather, Shoreham resident Sally and I enjoyed a light lunch at The Sussex Pad (by the traffic lights on the A27 on the West side of the estuary), after which we braved the elements and set off down the side of the estuary to Shoreham.
Shoreham has a rich history. It is fascinating and I refer you to Andy Horton's extraordinarily comprehensive site about Shoreham at;
But just look what the modern explorers in boat living have done! Click on these pictures to expand them.

These Houseboats are awesome.
The extraordinary creativity to consider splitting a coach in half and mounting it on a boat is amazing enough. How do you manhandle such a thing into place and make it fast?

And then the rest of the artwork/architecture is beautiful and looks functional.

There are other historically very interesting ex-military boats on this stretch of estuary, which I didn't photograph on account of the poor light. I clicked these few shots when there was a fleeting shaft of sunshine.

This is the view across the concrete pedestrian bridge to Shoreham.

The weather was overcast and far from ideal for photography. So my photos are sparse on this day. There is a fine picture of the church at

Thanks Sally, for leading a great walk on this rainy day.

Sunday 2 December 2007

Chichester Harbour, Saturday, 1 December 2007

This is a lovely walk from East Head, West Wittering to West Itchenor.

After an enjoyable lunch in The Ship pub, West Itchenor, I had planned a circular route back. The harbour coastal path is so interesting though that we retraced our steps in the face of squalls and gale force winds, despite the weather and lack of shelter on this exposed path. This is a very fine walk to do - especially in winter when the Brent geese and Lapwings are here.

This is a bird watcher's paradise; middle ground, the lovely Ann, a shy bird, rarely photographed and top left a little egret. Egrets are very common here.

Irish setter having fun and wearing the fashionable fragrance of winter 2007, namely dead seagull after liberally rubbing herself in it!

Butcher's broom, Ruscus aculeatus is common on this path at the base of old trees in this ancient wood. My apologies with the poor quality of this photo. I was being battered with gale force winds!

Portsmouth Millennium tower is clearly visible - especially through a zoom lens! The lovely views towards Bosham church, the burial place of King Canute's daughter are shown here. Click on any picture to expand it.

This panoramic view captures something of the harbour. I zoomed in for closer shots of Shell ducks. According to some 80 pairs of Shell ducks nest in rabbit holes or dense undergrowth near the harbour. We saw every bird shown on this link and more. It is worth clicking on.

Hundreds of Brent geese were feeding on this grassland by the car park at West Wittering. Chichester and Pagham harbours are important wintering sites for these birds. They arrive in October and leave in March. So you have time to view this great flock.

Views of Jack & Jill in late November

This is a panoramic view looking west towards Wolstonbury Down, (my favourite hill) in late November.
It is a delightful walk from the Jack and Jill windmills to The Chattri and I thank Pippa for this one.

The Chattri memorial commemorates Sikh and Hindu soldiers who died in Brighton Hospital from the first world war and were cremated at this site. The memorial was unveiled in 1921 by the Prince of Wales. see See also the September entry (in the index at the end) of this blog of a walk with Sussex Pathfinders where your can read the memorial text.

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