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Sunday 22nd June 2008
Arundel - South Stoke - North Stoke - Amberley - Rackham hill - Amberley Castle - Amberley
12.5 miles

The weather was still bad at 9:55 when we got the train at Crawley, but when all eight of us got off the train at Arundel the sun was beaming. For the rest of the day the temperature was perfect with a cool breeze.
Everyone did amazingly well seeing as they were forced to walk 12 miles in the hot sun over hill and dale. This was probably the furthest everyone had walked before and they were all remarkably fresh at the end. That must be in part due to the beautiful surroundings that raised the spirits and left everyone feeling relaxed and happy.
The cold cider at the end really hit the spot too!

Fresh and ready to start at Arundel

Walking through Arundel Park up to the triangular tower

Over the downs and through the park spotting buzzards and kestrels on the way.
We saw a kestrel swoop down, grab some poor unfortunate little mammal and take it to a fence post for devouring.

Down a lush pathway to the river Arun

We exited Arundel Park via this kissing gate.
The wall goes right around the huge estate!

To South Stoke church for lunch

Here we were joined by the church cat that was lured by Vicky's tuna.

Our route was changed due to a closed footpath, but the detour along the river was very picturesque

The detour also gave us a great view of South Stoke

By the time we got to North Stoke it was getting so hot that we took shelter under a yew in the churchyard

On through North Stoke to Amberley, where, while we were drinking some excellent tea at the cafe,
we were able to watch a peregrine floating above the cliffs.

Then up onto the Downs and through Springhead Estate

and up Rackham Hill for the view.....

.....which was stunning!

Everyone was very happy to hear that it was all downhill from now on


Then we made our way down past Amberley castle and to the river to look for barn owls.

It was a perfect evening for lazing about by the river

A very short view of the barn owl. I think I pressed the record button twice and missed most of it. Oh well!

Even the view from the station is good! What a place.

The full list of the birds we saw (or heard): Coot, Mallard, Kestrel, House Martin, Swallow, Swift, Carrion Crow, Rook, Wood Pigeon, Wren,
Black-headed Gull, Buzzard,  Blackcap, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Peregrine, Skylark, Meadow Pipit,
Greenfinch, Linnet, Wheatear, Goldfinch, Barn Owl, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird.