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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Tuesday 1st January 2013
Old Lodge - High Hurstwood - Fairwarp - Old Lodge.
10 miles of mud.

It looked like the first day of the year was going to be the last chance of some sunshine for a while so we thought "we'll have some of that!" But where to go? The flood plains were all totally flooded, every stream in the shire was overflowing and wherever you went in Sussex was now a sea of mud, even on top of the Downs. In the end we thought, "where haven't we got soaking wet and covered in mud for quite a while?" Why, Ashdown Forest of course!
To try and avoid the worst of the Somme-like mire we decided on starting up on top of the forest at Old Lodge. That should be relatively dry shouldn't it?... WRONG!
We followed the Vanguard (mudguard) Way across the heathland surrounded by what seemed like every dog in Sussex - it's hard to imagine that any birds would choose to live in this area and in fact we saw very little at all. As soon as the dog walkers (that term gives you the impression that they are under some form of control doesn't it?) petered out the birds came out (funny that) and between Poundgate and High Hurstwood our species count climbed.
Just after Newnham Park Wood the Vanguard Way came to sudden halt. A diversion was in place due to a bank slippage that had made a bridge unusable, so we had to take the very muddy alternative route to High Hurstwood instead.

New-fangled GPS Google tracking thingy available on a smartphone. Whatever next eh!

King's Clump. That bright thing in the top right corner is the sun - just in case you'd forgotten what it looks like.

A momentary glimpse of the The Vanguard Way without a dog running amok on it.

A diversion is in place on the Vanguard Way. DOH!

Holy Trinity church at High Hurstwood. Closed!

Jelly Ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae). Edible and tasty.

Washing the mud off in the ford near Fairwarp.

The crest of the Eckstein family at Oldlands Hall. The motto means something like 'we believe in hard work'.
The Victorian family ran gold mines in South Africa, so they were very used to watching hard work.

Unfortunately our experience tells us that only 1 out of 100 dog owners will read this or any other signs intended for them.
Today a bloke's dog jumped up at a woman, tried to destroy a child's football and then came for us barking loudly. The owner was unable to do anything to stop it despite shouting and whistling. When I complained he told me that his dog was 'under control'. What can you do with this sort of mentality?

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