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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Sunday 1st February 2009
Amberley - The Burgh - Wepham Down - Lee Farm - Kithurst - Amberley
10 miles

There were severe weather warnings from the Met Office today with heavy snow and biting easterly winds predicted. As we'd taken a rest day yesterday we were forced to venture out or go stir crazy. We didn't want to go too far or go anywhere that we didn't know well, so we put on lots of layers and took the bike down to Amberley for a hike across the downs. The day started off cloudy but by the time we'd climbed to Amberley Mount the sun had come out with the promise of a beautiful but excruciatingly cold day. My walking boots have completely worn out and so I had to use my work boots instead. Typically, one of the ragged old laces snapped at Rackham Hill and came out of its eyes. Un-typically I wasn't carrying a spare, and so Gill spent 15 minutes patiently teasing the tattered ends through the individual eyes with a pair of tweezers and freezing cold hands.
The recent heavy rains have left Amberley Wild Brooks and Pulborough Brooks completely inundated and we got great views of the flooding from up on the hills.
Half way through our walk the snow started, beginning with small granular pellets and gradually working its way up to full size flakes. We could see individual snow clouds scudding towards us from the East and they looked impressive as they dumped their cargo on the villages below before turning their attention on us. We had to keep marching along at a faster pace than usual, just to keep warm.
In the stubble fields there were large flocks of Chaffinch, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting and Skylark feeding together, along with Pied Wagtails, Redwings, Fieldfares and of course lots of Pheasants.
The ride home was bitterly cold and our hands hurt something awful by the time we got back, but there was only a small amount of snowfall as we entered Crawley.

By staying at altitude we avoided the flooding, but not the snow!

We arrived at Amberley Station pre-chilled and had to march up Amberley Mount to warm up

The flooded brooks looked good from up there, but were not the place for walkers!

Crepuscular rays from between the snow clouds

First we were severely pelted with granular ice pellets

Followed by proper snow flakes

More snow clouds dump their loads on Pulborough before coming for us.

Monday 2nd February 2009

Sussex and the whole of the South-East has come to a standstill due to the heaviest snowfall for 18 years. I couldn't risk trying to ride to work, but luckily work was cancelled anyway.