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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 11th December 2010
Withyham - Old Lodge - Coleman's Hatch
8.4 miles

This simple to navigate walk takes The Weald Way south from the pub at Withyham (reached using the 291 bus), all the way through 500 Acre Wood and slowly up to the top of Ashdown Forest at Old Lodge Nature Reserve. After a circumnavigation of the reserve (please keep all dogs on short leads in Old Lodge as a number of scarce bird species live there), it's downhill and north on the Vanguard Way to the ford at Newbridge before tackling a short section on the road to reach the pub at Coleman's Hatch. Both of the long-distance footpaths used are very well signposted except for the last part northwest of Gills Lap. Just make sure you keep heading northwest on that section and you'll be fine. From Newbridge you can follow the path another couple of miles to the town of Forest Row, but today we run out of daylight .

At Gills Lap we were told that the Great Grey Shrike, which over-winters here every year, was showing well a few hundred yards away. We've been looking for this particular bird for years now (as you may already know, if you've perused our site) and once again the old rascal gave us the slip! Even worse, our favourite stomping area, Amberley, had a surprise visitor today which we also missed: a superb White-tailed Eagle that may have come all the way from Scandinavia or the Baltic. The first to be seen in the county since 1961. All this and we have an irruption of Waxwings in Sussex too - and we haven't seen any of those either!


Nuthatch


The sundial on Withyham church. I think it's stopped!


This font was made in the year of the great fire of London.


The Weald Way


More than likely two oaks melded together, rather than one huge tree.


Coming out of 500 Acre Wood at the top of the forest, just east of Gills Lap.


The valley bottom at Old Lodge. A beautiful spot.


Goldcrests.


Although the Great Grey Shrike was here only 5 minutes before, we didn't even get a glimpse!
This old shrike and us seem destined never to meet.