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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 9th January 2010
Christ's Hospital - Itchingfield - Ranfold Woods -Christ's Hospital
7.5 miles

The met office warned of further snow in the evening and cold winds all day, meaning that wind chill would be the main problem of the day. With further snow forecast we were worried about public transport being affected. The decision today therefore was, where could we go for a walk and still be sure of getting back in the evening? We decided to take the train and do a circular walk from Christ's Hospital. If when we got back there were no trains, we could always walk back to Crawley. It would mean a further 10 mile yomp in the dark to get home, but hey, we had all weekend. The weather wasn't going to bother us (we decided) as we were going very well prepared for all eventualities.
When we left the house our thermometer said -4.5 but as it turned out the wind chill was not as bad as we'd feared and walking through deep snow all day actually kept us warm and toasty. The snow would have been perfect for skiing as it was powder snow and wasn't wet at all. Snow shoes would have been really useful and Gill asked if I could stop and do a 'Ray Mears' and make some out of hedgerow materials..........
So, without snow shoes we continued our walk through what now seemed like Narnia, through tiny Itchingfield, across Bashurst Hill and out to Ranfold Woods. These woods are a favourite spot of ours in the spring, and today they were just as beautiful, although completely unrecognisable.
A lot of the woodland birds were very confiding today, the poor things must be so hungry that they're not even concerned about humans. Please put some food and water out for them in your garden to help them make it through this terrible cold spell. With the ground covered over and the ponds and lakes freezing, they're very likely to be decimated if we don't do anything to help.
Talk about perfect timing: we arrived back at the station 5 minutes before the train arrived, and as we boarded, the snow started again.

Approaching Itchingfield

We saw one other walker today and much of our route was through virgin snow.

We did see clues that other walkers were about though. We think this one was a pheasant...

and this one a deer.

Ranfold woods. In the spring it's the perfect bluebell wood.

This part of the woods was completely whitewashed