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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks in Sussex throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 13th June 2009
Pulborough - Fittleworth - Petworth - Stopham - Pulborough
11 miles

A very steamy, hot , muggy day, that drew all the energy out of us during our slow amble around this beautiful route. Thankfully we wound our way through lots of woods and shady hedgerows, so managing to avoid sunburn and heatstroke. Lots to see on this perfect Sussex walk; Elizabethan mansions, 12th century churches, medieval bridges, ancient woodlands and commons, plus the historic small town of Petworth.
One of the walk's highlights was a lone Turtle Dove on a telegraph wire just outside Fittleworth, but the real star of the day was the swarm of wild Honey Bees that we reached just as a bee keeper came to collect them. Before we could ask, he said to come over and watch: he didn't have to ask us twice. He told us all about the bees and I was even able to stroke the swarm with my bare hands. We stood back a little as he donned protective clothing and when he shook the swarm off of their perch (a bramble bush) into a small, wooden box, we were suddenly surrounded by thousands of buzzing, confused bees. They didn't seem aggressive at all though,  this is because prior to moving from their previous home, they had eaten a bellyfull of honey, which makes them feel much more dozy and relaxed. It was a very nice feeling being surrounded by them all, whilst only wearing t-shirts (us, not them, silly): we didn't feel threatened at all. What a wonderful, unexpected experience!
Because the queen was collected into the box, all of her brood wanted to follow her there too. To help with this process, some of the bees congregated on the lid of the box and fanned their wings, so distributing the queen's scent about and attracting the rest of the swarm. The collected bees were going to be taken to the nearby, Wisborough Green Bee Club, which has had a large influx of new members recently and needs all the bees it can get.
Several times today we smelt the sickly-sweet aroma of Stinkhorns, but try as we might, we couldn't find them in the undergrowth: an indication of how green and lush our beautiful Sussex countryside is right now. Get out there and enjoy it !

The 15th Century Bridge at Stopham

St. Mary the Virgin, Stopham.

Small Tortoiseshell butterfly

A part of Fittleworth Common

St. Mary the Virgin, Fittleworth

Banded Snail


Turtle Dove