For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

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Tuesday 25 October 2011

Party time in New England Wood nature reserve, Cuckfield

New England Wood in Cuckfield is a nature reserve held in a trust.
It is managed by a team of volunteers lead by John, above and "advised" by Del, above right.
The hard labour is mitigated occasionally with cake and whiskey or wine when there is a birthday, as in this week.

The wood itself provides materials; for example, this solid chestnut gatepost was recently cut from a tree trunk which was blown down in the 1987 hurricane replacing a rotten post.

This is how John makes planks and in this case, the bearers for a new bridge in April this year.

The bridge being assembled in May this year with wood cut from New England Wood itself.
Nice work John!
Time for another party!

Monday 24 October 2011

Circular walk around Norbury Park, Denbies vineyard and Westhumble

We started from the car park at Beechy Wood yesterday and headed North for great views towards Box Hill and Juniper Hill.

Mickelham village and church.  There was a steep descent to the Druids' Grove. Please see following entry for pictures of the ancient trees.

One of Denbies vineyards

Denbies, where we tasted and purchased wine -- two bottles only as I had to carry them a further mile and a half.

The rows of vines contained a lot of weeds.  Near the woods here there were a lot of ash seedlings growing amongst the vines.

West Humble XII century chapel

Common carder bee, a bumblebee. 

The start of the final ascent.

The view back towards Denbies in the distance.  This is a short (c.5miles) walk and is a very pleasant one.  For suggestions for stunning walks in Sussex see my website

To see current wildlife posts and some biology lessons for my granddaughter in the absence of school or for children of any age, please click

Sunday 23 October 2011

Ancient Yew trees in the Druids Grove, Norbury Park, Surrey

Some of these ancient yews are said to be 2,000 years old.  They were very fine in the Autumn light today.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Brent Geese on Thorney Island circular walk

Thorney Island is a wild place.  Once an island, it is now connected to the mainland by reclaimed land and connected by road in 1870.
Although the island itself is dominated by the military since the RAF came in 1936 -- the sea and the coastal wild life prevail over all other factors.

Click on the above picture, or any other to enlarge it.

Right at the beginning of the walk were a few Brent Geese on a mud flat.

Little Egrets were common.

St. Nicholas' church in West Thorney dates from about the year 1200.  It is made of flint rubble dressed with Caen stone.

The view from Pilsey island towards Chichester.
There were Geese on the shoreline.

Hundreds of small birds, perhaps including Ringed Plovers were on the mudflats -- too far off to identify with binoculars.

In this bay were lots of Brent Geese in the sea.

Click here for a link to the RSPB for more info on Brent Geese.  Up to 10,000 overwinter here -- around 5% of the world's population of Brent Geese.

The weather was taking a turn for the worst.  We were about to be hit by a violent squall with what seemed like horizontal rain in squally winds like a proper gale.
There was still fine weather to the south but we were heading into a squall.

We could see the rain over the mainland before, minutes later, we were hit by a similar violent deluge and strong winds.

Phil, our Mid Sussex Ramblers' leader, striding out into the impending squall.
Click here for information on future walks with Mid Sussex Ramblers.

A great walk -- thanks Phil.  And we had dried out before tea and cakes in the fine cafe at Emsworth sailing club.

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