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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks in Sussex throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 23rd May 2009
Bank Holiday Weekend
Alfriston - Litlington - Jevington - East Dean - Cuckmere Haven - Alfriston
16 miles

This was a beautiful but strenuous walk, in beaming sunshine, through some of the most scenic countryside to be found in the whole of Sussex. As well as visiting all of the picturesque, thatched villages on our route (all of which have churches and tea rooms), we also explored Lullington Heath Nature Reserve via the nature trail, watched sheep being inoculated and sheared, climbed five of the Seven Sisters, walked through part of Friston Forest and followed the River Cuckmere through reed beds back to Amberley. This walk really does have everything you could want if you're looking for the full "Sussex Experience".
The rolling Downs are very colourful right now with a multitude of grass species and plants in flower and there are whole areas covered in literally millions of buttercups. The smells alone are mesmerising but there is something to be seen everywhere you look, with birds and insects busy breeding and feeding young. We heard what sounded like Common Lizards scuttling out of sight in the hedgerows as we walked through the heath, we spied several foxes out hunting, and everywhere there were butterflies, particularly Painted Ladies (what do you call the male ones?). The Seven Sisters and Cuckmere Haven were very quiet and almost deserted, which made a pleasant change from sharing the place with hundreds of holidaymakers and also from being deafened by the wind, which has a habit of howling across here.
We arrived back at Amberley after dark, but in the preceding hour of dusk we'd seen a couple of bats and watched a Barn Owl hunting near Litlington, the latter being a stunning end to a completely satisfying walk.

From Amberley we crossed the bridge and set off south, down the river to Litlington.

Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) is now abundant in the hedgerows

Phyllobius pomaceus - A small black weevil covered in greenish scales that can rub off.

Cinnabar Moth

Speckled Yellow (Pseudopanthera macularia) - A day-flying moth

Looking back across Lullington Heath

A young shepherd who was helping his dad and who told us all about the sheep.

A Bloody-nosed Beetle

Sheep shearing

Looking across towards the wonderfully named, "Pea Down".

East Dean church, where there is a tap to fill your water bottle.

Goldfinch at Crowlink

Part of Crowlink, covered in buttercups

Cuckoo Spit

After 10 miles we got onto the Seven Sisters for another energetic bit.

Cuckmere Haven was almost deserted.

Not a soul in sight... on a Bank Holiday Weekend... !

St Andrews, Alfriston; lit up just for us (oh yes it was!), for our arrival back at 10:00pm.

Barn Owl seen hunting near Litlington