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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 5th September 2009
Amberley - North Stoke - South Stoke - The Burgh - North Stoke - Amberley
6 miles

Today I had to work (dustmen play catch-up after a bank holiday) so we snatched a shortish walk in the evening around the Amberley area. By the time we made it to The Burgh the sun had set and the resident Tawny Owls were starting to call. As well as the normal toowit-ing and tawoo-ing, most of the calls were of the kee-wick variety. While we were listening to the owls from the 'steps of insanity' we spotted a fox creeping across a field and we had bats circling our heads. Later, as we were walking down a very dark footpath on our return to North Stoke, our slightly broken, wind-up torch lit up a small round obstacle on the path ahead of us. It wasn't a rock or a horse poo, it was in fact a Hedgehog! These little pincushions used to be so common when we were kids and even used to regularly visit our gardens in urban Crawley. Nowadays we never get to see them, apart from the very occasional flat one at the side of the road, so it was very nice to see one alive, well and behaving naturally. This one hadn't even bothered to roll into a ball for protection and underneath the prickles we could just about see its shiny black nose and tiny feet. We did our best not to disturb it, so we didn't even take a picture.
We were quite concerned not to see any Barn Owls during this crepuscular creep, as this area is usually very good for them: we hope it wasn't anything we said.

Basically a figure of eight route with two beautiful churches, a pub and one very hard climb.

Skirting Amberley Brooks. A cloudy but warm evening.

We found hops growing along many stretches of the walk.

North Stoke church, one of our top 10 favourites. Today the discussion was, "can we paint our hall that colour?"

Yew berries in the churchyard

The bridge just south of North Stoke has been out of action for a couple of years and this was our first chance to try out the new, repaired version.
The new bridge is excellent and we were tickled by the builders' marks ( LEFT  UP) that have been left on the woodwork.
Note: This is not South Stoke Bridge, which spans the Arun and is to be found five hundred metres further south.

Another good reason to thank the Ghurkhas.

South Stoke church and the light is beginning to fade.

Tawny Owls calling Kee-Wick!