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Sussex Scrapbook - Nature walks throughout the year

Saturday November 3rd 2007
Amberley - Glatting beacon - Barlavington - Bignor - Amberley

This was a mildly strenuous 12 miler in unnaturally warm weather for the beginning of November. We didn't even put our coats on all day, including the 2 hours walking we did after the sun went down!
This area of Sussex is gobsmackingly beautiful, with many of the houses 400 years old and more with thatched roofs. The walk, which we have done several times before, is undulating, changeable, and incredibly scenic. It travels through mixed woodland, farmland and riverside habitat with many yews on the Downs and fruit trees in the villages. Photographs of the views (especially mine) do not do it justice, so you will have to go yourself to see what we are talking about. A real sense of old-world rural peace can be experienced here giving welcome release from the stress of modern-day living.
Lots of buzzards today, we saw five of them together all soaring in a warm thermal just North of Glatting beacon. They were screaming at each other and were taking it in turns to do breathtaking, plummeting dives, presumably just for the fun of it.
Animal highlight of the day came at dusk just near the Roman Villa at Bignor, where a
Barn Owl (video) was hunting over fields at the base of the Downs. It came round on the same route several times, getting closer to us each time and giving us great views. This area along the Downs seems to have a large population of Tawny Owls too. We could hear them hooting everywhere, even from Amberley train station.

The footbridge at Amberley across the Arun.

A very tatty Red Admiral. He seemed very tired too!

The iconic bird of Sussex. The Stonechat. Listen out for its call, which sounds like two stones being banged together.

Yew berries. The flesh of the berries is actually edible (tasty too) although the seeds inside are poisonous.

I still need to identify these.

Barlavington Church. We heard Little Owls calling to each other here.

The sun set behind Glatting Beacon while we were walking through Bignor's vineyard.