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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 5th May 2012
Newick - Barcombe - Mount Pleasant - Knowlands Wood - Newick
11 miles

Before we left the house we remembered that the 5th of May was (on average) the day that we first see Swifts in our town. We didn't see any as we left home but on removing our crash helmets at Newick church we straight away saw two. As far as we're concerned that makes it summer although with this wet weather you'd be hard pressed to believe it. Hard pressed to believe we're in the middle of a drought too but it's true.
Today was all planned around the Bluebells though, as with all of this rain we didn't know if we'd missed them at their best, so we recalled Knowlands Wood Nature Reserve and the area between there and Newick that we'd walked a few weeks back. We thought back then that it would be a good bluebell walk with the added attraction of water. Yes, more water! Where better to walk for a chance of mud and puddles than down a flood plain into a confluence of tributaries? We also wanted to stop, treadwater for a while and say hello to Nick Lear who has set up the reserve. Today he was in the first stages of building a hide which we will report on at our earliest convenience. Our hopes are for a comfy seat and somewhere sturdy to rest our tea and binoculars - probably in that order too!
Cuckoo and Hobby are now starting to be reported shire-wide and Osprey are turning up along the coast and on the very low reservoirs. We heard Cuckoo in the Isfield area ourselves. Hirundines are here in Sussex en masse now and pairs of Swifts turned up on the whole route from time to time along with Swallows and House Martins.

So: Bluebell woods, check; water (perhaps slightly too much in some places), check; mud on a truly monstrous scale, check; peace and quiet away from the FA Cup, check. Sorted!



Bluebells were the backdrop to some colourful lush growth from the other hedgerow and woodland plants.

Yellow Archangel
(Lamium galeobdolon)

Rapeseed is flowering now of course. Gill hates the smell but I quite like it. Like peppery honey.

The black bridge at um White Bridge...?

Some very healthy looking duck ponds (and ducks) around, despite the drought to the aquifers below.

Red Campion


Ramsons along the entire Ouse Valley it seems.

An ignored sign - in more ways than one.

The Anchor Inn - today we found it deserted like the Marie Celeste: doors open but not a soul to be seen....

Then to Barcombe Mills to see the gentle Ouse going like the clappers.


The map shows that numerous springs emerge to the surface around Newick which explains why this last bridleway is always chock full of thick mud.


Please stick to the countryside code.