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Saturday 16th June 2007
Pulborough - Parham - Cootham - Rackham Hill - Amberley - Pulborough
15 miles

Today we had a fantastic 15 mile walk that started with a good old stoat hunt at Pulborough Brooks. We didn't find any today and this may have been due to the showery weather. From PB we set off south through Wiggonholt Common to Cootham and Parham House. At the huge Parham estate there was a country fair on with a clay pigeon competition making loads of noise all morning. From Parham we headed through Rackham and up the very steep climb to the top of Rackham hill. The panoramic view from up there was amazing and the sun was shining between showers while we were up there. We dropped down off the Downs and walked through Amberley Wild brooks and back to Pulborough. Loads of birds about today and we managed to see 30 species but the highlight of the day was the young adder we found in the hedgerow near Wigginholt Common. The markings were very vivid and the main colour of the snake was very much lighter than the other older adders we have seen.

This is the entrance to the ice house at Parham House. Servants used to break ice off the lake in winter and store it here in this underground room, to be used for chilling drinks and for making ice cream. Some of the ice would even last into the summer. We think it looks more like a hobbit's house! Nowadays, the ice house is home to a colony of bats.

This dovecote used to house hundreds of doves for eggs and meat for the house.

An Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola).

We also found this male adder (Vipera berus). I only got the chance to take one photo before it moved off into the undergrowth. You can see the markings are very clear and striking with the black zig-zags highlighted with a thin yellow line.