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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 25th May 2013
Crawley - Ifield Mill Pond - Lambs Green - Rusper - Ifield Church - Crawley
11 miles.

Our town just got itself put into the top echelon for worst towns in England. We think that's a bit unfair, as although Crawley's a big 'new' town with its own share of problems, it's certainly not as bad as it's made out to be. Even so we weren't totally overjoyed at having to have today's walk here but due to a lack of bike (brake problems) and a lack of cash there was sadly no option. However, from the moment we left home to the moment we got back 8 hours or so later we were surrounded by lush green growth, bluebells, birds and insects and quite frankly we were astonished in the change that has happened in the past week. It just shows you what a few degrees of temperature and a little bit of sunshine can do.

It was quite surprising to us how good the old town was looking. We jumped from one wooded section to another before leaving the path altogether and following Broadfield Brook up between the estates of Bewbush and Gossops Green to the southern end of Ifield Mill Pond. Here we had two Buzzards spiralling on thermals above, Chiffchaff, Blackcaps, woodpeckers and Nuthatch in the trees and on the pond itself so many different types of chick that you would have thought that all of Crawley's dogs had been packed off to the kennels indefinitely. Nearly all of the dogs we saw today were under control or on leads, everyone was friendly and when we got back to Goff's Park there was a really decent fun fair that was also showcasing local young bands. Apart from a single, shiny shopping trolley in the stream (it almost looked iconic) our old town really did look as if its populace was starting to take a bit more care of it and there was no sign of the Crawley that's been portrayed in the media.

Our target species today were Kingfisher, Hobby and Little Owl, the first of which believe it or not can be seen in Bewbush almost daily. Not today however, despite our journey along the stream, although I got a great view of one darting across a field later in the day (Gill missed it; she was watching a Buzzard). No sign of Hobbies or owls either but we did notice that a tree we'd seen an owl in a few years ago had come down, smashing a footpath sign to bits in the process.

This walk is one that should be considered a real treat by all Crawley residents, with quiet meadows, farms, churches, streams, ponds and rivers to add interest at all times of year. There's even a choice of five pubs along the way, all of them ancient buildings with open fires and oak beams. We hardly saw a soul all day though, which was very nice but pretty hard to fathom when you think there's a conurbation of 100,000 people right next door.

Even the towny bit was green and blue today.
The central bottom triangular bit of the picture is having a large new estate built upon it as we speak (write).
This will take Crawley's border almost to Faygate! How long 'til all the green has gone?

Yes, it's Bewbush in Crawley, honest. Have you seen Broadfield in the summer in recent years?
There are so many full-grown trees, shrubs and bushes that it looks like a park! It has a calming effect on people.

Broadfield Brook.

It looks far better if you think of it as art!...?

The mill pond was alive with new life.

Tiny spider. Like, REALLY tiny! 
Green orb-weaver spider (Araniella cucurbitina)


Ladies and gentlemen. We are now leaving Crawley!

At Rusper church we found a wedding going on, so we put our cameras away, made ourselves scarce in the churchyard and had tea with Seumas. After tiffin I introduced Gill to the ancient art of 'cutting up sticks into interesting shapes with a knife without getting cut'. It is also known to some people as whittling.

While we were at Rusper I went and visited an old friend.

We never expected to see a Guillemot today though!


Gill dissects a pellet. Not sure what bird it's from though. It didn't look like an owl pellet.

Ifield Church behind a field of Buttercups.

We re-entered Crawley via Ifield church and when we got there we found that the same wedding party as earlier were at the Ifield Barn Theatre.
We began to feel like stalkers so we sidled off via the fields and through Goff's Park.

Green-veined white (Artogeia napi)

Take the time to read the countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.