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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 24th January 2009
Cissbury Ring - Coombes - Botolphs - Steyning Bowl - Cissbury Ring
10 miles

On the way to Cissbury Ring we somehow managed to ride up the wrong lane and ended up on a very muddy track that went up onto the downs. A Harley isn't the best vehicle for off-roading and even though we were enjoying ourselves, the inevitable eventually happened and we toppled over and got ourselves and the bike completely covered in wet clay. No damage to us or the bike but its going to take a lot of cleaning!
As we walked to the top of Cissbury we saw a bright Sun Dog that slowly faded to leave a very impressive icebow around the weak sun. This was an indication of the very cold but sunny conditions that we had to endure during the morning, although it did warm up a bit in the afternoon.
Lots of farmland birds about, including: Redwing, Stonechat, Kestrel, Yellowhammer, Blackbirds, Goldfinches and Green Woodpeckers and large flocks of Starlings, Wood Pigeons and Carrion Crows. Highlight of the day though was a Long-eared Owl in a small copse.

I spent ages last night washing the bike! Why did I bother?
It was good fun getting it dirty though.

From the chilly ordinance point on Cissbury Ring (184m) looking East towards Shoreham
with the white cliffs at Seaford just visible in the distance

A 22o halo (or icebow) around the sun

Slime mould on a dead tree stump. OK it's not pretty, but it is interesting stuff.

Coombes church. Now with a freshly restored roof.
What a gem this place is, already here when the Normans arrived in 1066 and untouched by Victorian "restorers".

The ancient wooden church door

A very strange fresco detail from Coombes

A 13th Century wooden coffer, one of the many treasures in this little church.

Unfortunately we didn't have the time today to go into Botolph's Church as the shadows were already lengthening

Looking down on Steyning from above Steyning Bowl

The sun set behind Cissbury Ring at 5pm leaving us with a 2 mile night hike back to the bike.
The sky was very clear so we were able to do some star watching and also saw several satellites.