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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Walk from Cuckfield, 7 miles, in the wake of hurricane Katia with Roe deer, fungi, Field Scabious.

I did this walk yesterday.  It starts from Cuckfield High Street westwards along the High Weald Landscape trail.  You need Ordnance Survey maps Explorer 134 &135 to follow the route.
Don't worry about the bull in the field as you leave Cuckfield.  He seems docile enough and if you approach the cows calmly they may even let you stroke them.  Click on any picture to enlarge it.
After crossing a ghyll the trail here used to be virtually impassable in summer, until 4 years ago when someone (me) started clearing the jungle of brambles and bracken.  Now thanks to such on-going efforts the path is just beautiful.
Hurricane Katia hit us over the weekend; above you see some of the damage.  Similar damage in New England Wood was cleared by John and Margaret on Monday.
There are lovely views to the South Downs with Jack & Jill windmills and Wolstonbury Hill.

After a short section along Deak's Lane you turn right along the bridlepath and eventually leftish towards Broxmead Lane and the Long Wood.
Turn left off Broxmead Lane and head up the hill to the Black Forest.  At this time of year the woods are starting to get a good display of fungi.
Under the birches, Fly Agaric, Amonita muscaria were numerous -- poisonous & hallucinogenic.
Don't try them at home.
Leaving the Black Forest and crossing Pickwell Lane, there are more views of The Downs.
You must not be frightened of animals on this walk.  On this day it was necessary to unhook the electric fence top wire (without releasing the horses) and step over the bottom wire.  These were fine, inquisitive beasts and friendly enough, even if you have to hold them at bay to keep them in their field.
Turn left at Buncton Lane and continue until you reach the A272 main road.  Cross it carefully; it is very busy, into Stairbridge Lane.  After a short while, when the wood on your left ends, turn left towards Lovell's Farm.
This is typical Sussex High Weald scenery...
...with great views of The South Downs, albeit blighted by electricity pylons across this valley.

On the edge of a field was a Roe deer fleetingly watching me watching it before it leaped into the woods.

In the oak wood on the left of the above picture I managed to get some more pictures of deer; taken from the path.

They were quite small and I wonder if they are Muntjacs.  There are no signs of tusks so I find it hard to tell.
After this excitment I crossed the B2036 road and took the footpath past Moonhill Farm (not the bridleway) northwards.
At the top of the next rise is an ancient wood and a comfortable stile and fence which makes a good seat for a picnic.

In the field edge in front of Furness Cottage (site of a 16th century iron works) was this Field Scabious.
Evidence of ironstone can be seen in the rust coloured water seeping from this spring.
Further upstream, beyong Mackrell's cottage is all that remains of Cuckfield's open air swimming pool -- destroyed for health safety concerns during the polio epidemic.
This is a fine walk and one that I will lead in December with Mid Sussex Ramblers.

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