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Saturday 19th July 2008
Christ's Hospital - Itchingfield - Slinfold - Christ's Hospital.
8 miles

This morning I took the newly fixed bike to Beaky's to try and get an MOT. He was fully booked, so I made an appointment for Tuesday instead. By the time I got home and we had had some lunch it was early afternoon, so we made the decision to go to nearby Christ's Hospital by train and just do a short walk. For the second week in a row I have left the navigation up to Gill. She is learning fast and hopefully soon I can be permanently relieved of this work!
The last time we walked in this area was in April when the streams were all full of water and the woods were flooded with light and thickly carpeted in bluebells. This time the streams were either dry or very low and the woods were darker because of the fully grown canopy.
As usual the weather forecast was all wrong and the day turned out to be a complete stunner. We were permanently surrounded by butterflies, swallows, and at one point kestrels!
At a place where in April we had come across two very friendly Southdown sheep, we were suddenly surrounded by about 20 of them. It's a very nice experience to be welcomed by animals that normally turn and flee on your approach.

A green man on the font at Itchingfield Church

Parasol mushroom

The footpath took us straight through a field of broad beans

Slinfold church

Very plump rosehips

The woods were filled with dappled light instead of bluebells

These sheep were just so friendly and inquisitive, vastly different from most sheep we encounter