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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 11th May 2013
Shipley - Knepp Estate - West Grinstead - Dial Post - Shipley
9 miles

It may well be May but the weather is all April: showers dotted everywhere with bright beams in between. When it's like that and I'm on the bike, I prefer to risk a soaking rather than bothering to put on waterproofs. Most of the time you can even dodge the showers by taking a back road or making a few zig-zags. If you do end up under one of the little black Cumulus congestus clouds, well, it's only for a minute or two and you soon dry off anyway. And that's how it was today on foot on the Low Weald, we were virtually ducking behind hedges and scuttling behind trees to avoid the dirty rotten party-poopers! We're getting to be old hands at this game now, so the only direct hit all day happened while we were sipping hot tea in the wooden porch of West Grinstead church.

This really is a very pretty, well signposted walk that takes you through some great places without having to climb any hills but there are two major problems to overcome. The first and worst is having to cross the A24 twice. Very risky, so take care and have lots of patience. The second problem is mappage (is that a word?). You need to carry 3, that's THREE.. OS Explorer maps (121, 122 & 134). That's your rucksack full for starters!
It's all well worth it though as you pass through some great Wealden countryside and villages and Knepp Estate of course, with even myopic fools like us able to spot over 35 species of bird despite being sedated by bluebell intoxication and losing ourselves in the study of the insects, mammals, plants and trees along the way.

With all of this on our doorstep and with the whole of the amazing British isles to explore, we really don't understand the lure of places like Las Vegas. Each to their own though and we know which is ours!

The only downside was that we still didn't spot any Swifts, so for us Summer still hasn't started.

The overwhelming impression you get from this satellite picture is GREEN.
But let me tell you, the colour theme to the entire day was without doubt BLUE!

The whole walk was strewn with bluebells. Just what we ordered.

Oak polypore (Piptoporus quercinus). In our book it says it's often found in deer parks.
We found this at Knepp - a deer park!

The remains of Knepp Castle in the grounds of the more recent Knepp House.

Dead Nettle

Church porch, rain shelter and bird hide all-in-one.

Hatterell Wood - full of bluebells.


A pretty good backdrop and lucky for us the drops stayed in the background.

The river Rother but there's a larger pool of water above.

Take the time to read the countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.