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Saturday 11th October 2008
Washington - Chanctonbury Ring - Steyning Round Hill - Cissbury Ring - Findon - Sullington Hill - Washington
14 miles

Getting a long walk completed during daylight at this time of year requires getting up very early in the morning, so 7am saw us thundering down country lanes, through thick morning fog to the village of Washington. From here Chanctonbury Ring is usually visible, but not today however, as the hill tops were still cloaked in low cloud.
We made our way through fields where the sheep looked like small clouds floating in the mist, before ascending steeply round a giant sinkhole, through broadleaf woodland, and up to the hill top. Here the fog was much thicker and the sun appeared as just a pale disc, giving the ring an even stranger and more eerie appearance than usual.
By the time we reached Steyning Round Hill and our meeting with the Monarch's Way the autumn sun was beaming and all the chill of the morning had completely gone. Downwards we plodded along bird infested hedgerows and fields of meadow pipits and skylarks to a quiet spot called No Man's land. Then it was steeply upwards again to the ancient hill fort of Cissbury Ring which we tackled from the east this time before walking westwards through its heathland centre. Here amongst the numerous stonechats we also spied a whinchat and flocks of twite.
The downland views on this 8 hour walk are superb and the flint and chalk track undulates like the flight of a woodpecker all day long. The exertion to the body and the stimulation to the senses, leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling in both your muscles and your mind that will last you all week. So what are you waiting for, give it a go!

Arrival at Washington

Chanctonbury Ring wreathed in the morning fog

No Man's Land with Cissbury Ring in the background

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Shaggy Scalycap mushrooms (Pholiota squarrosa) that were growing at the base of a beech tree.
This common species is not particularly poisonous, but it is inedible.

A male Stonechat with some lunch

Acorns from the Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris)

Sullington Hill