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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks in Sussex throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 4th July 2009
Pulborough - Stopham - Fittleworth - Bignor - Amberley - Pulborough.   
18 miles

Our start point needed to be reached by train (bike still not well) and the fare needed to be reasonably cheap too (we're paupers 'till payday). So Pulborough it was! Our longish wander would take in some of the best that Sussex has to offer: places that even the ancient Romans decided was the best place in the empire to live.
The plants that rule this domain at this time of year are the ferns. Bracken is 6' tall in places and the invasion continues everywhere it can. Gill is not a big fan of bracken, as it's invasive and smothers the land. She also has concerns about the carcinogenic properties of its spores. She makes a good point... but I can't help loving the stuff. Walking through it now evokes happy childhood memories of charging through it, without a care in the world, on never-ending, long, summer days. Red slashes in bare legs from its many friendly whiplashes, were like badges to be worn with pride, by soldiers skirmishing in the silver birch woods. The dry-brown husks of the dead plants made perfect kindling for a breakfast fire, on many an autumn scout camp. The memory of the smell of its thick dark smoke on a wet misty morning even now makes my eyes water, but not with the thought of a cancerous cough.
When we got to beautiful Bignor (where the Romans lived), the Weed & Wildflower Festival was on at the church. Last time it was a relaxed, quiet affair with incredible charm where we were happy to spend to help towards church maintenance. This year there were bands, camping, hordes of people, traffic jams and a 3.50 admission fee: we kept on walking. But we were glad we did, the air was alive with insects and birds. The intensely hot atmosphere seemed chock full of winged creatures and as we passed through meadows and woods we became aircraft carriers for the many tired aviators. As well as the usual butterfly species that we normally see, we spotted Marbled White and possible Purple Emperor high up in the canopy. The most impressive insects of the day were the Golden Ringed Dragonflies, which we were able to watch closely as they basked in the hot sun and also while one was ovipositing along a small stream.

Ladybird larva

Common Earthball


Golden Ringed Dragonfly

One of the hottest days of the year and we still spotted part of a rainbow.

One of a pair of sundogs

Amberley Castle

Pulborough Brooks is looking very dry.

Meadowsweet and Purple Loosetrife in one of the brooks

The River Arun at Pulborough

Golden Ringed Dragonfly