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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 6th February 2010
Burton Mill - Sutton End - Sutton - Barlavington Down - Duncton - Burton Mill
7 miles

The plan for today was very simple: bike it down to Burton Mill Pond; tramp around its surrounding nature reserve; invade several, small, unsuspecting villages; stomp our way o'er woods and fields; scramble and sweat up onto Barlavington Down; slither and slide off Duncton Down; capture a rare Bittern just before sunset (optically you understand), then hack off home again via the fabled A272. All of this to be accompanied by copious amounts of strong tea and fruitcake of course!
The plan went almost perfectly. We biked, tramped, invaded, stomped, scrambled, sweated, slithered, slid and even momentarily captured (woo hoo!). We even slurped and chomped. It was when we came to hack, that we realised that for the first time ever, we were very close to running out of petrol. The nearby garage that I had (stupidly) been depending on was shut... for good! I'd got at the very most 10 miles left in my tank and not a clue as to where the next dose of jungle juice was to be had. Images of 'she who must be obeyed' stranded at the side of the road, at night, in February, waiting for the RAC came to mind. A large deficit in my brownie point account was a very likely outcome. What to do?
Using new-fangled, alien technology we were able to find the nearest petrol station using my phone's GPS system. By using the browser we also found their phone number. A quick phone call confirmed they were indeed still open for business. AMAZING! We don't use any of this technology when out walking as we prefer to be 'old school' and use a map and compass, but in motoring terms this tech certainly paid for its keep and saved our bacon this evening.

Burton Mill Pond - home of the Bitterns.

Sutton Church of St John The Baptist.

Sussex is already starting to look spring-like. It definitely felt like it today.

Sutton Village as part of a large embroidery in the church.

Oil painting in Sutton Church of the view to Chanctonbury from Barlavington Down.

Lichen is plastered all over the churchyard.

Out between the villages catkins have burst...

... and Snowdrops have popped!

Nosey Fallow Deer

Our view of Chanctonbury from Barlavington Down was hazy due to evaporating water in the air.
Through the woods in the picture we seemed to be surrounded by hunters.
Shots were going off all around and at one point the spent shot was falling down around us.
Quite unnerving to say the least.

The memorial on Barlavington Down to Sir Ian Fife Anstruther, 8th Baronet of Balcaskie and 13th Baronet of Anstruther.
Sir Ian was a keen walker of the South Downs and he has a fine view of them for all eternity.

Duncton Church. Time for another cuppa.

We spent a lot of time on The Literary Trail today and the roads we did touch on all had Wildlife Verges.

We arrived back at Burton Park House just before golden hour, giving us time to get back to the pond for some Bittern hunting before dark.