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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Sunday 26th April 2009
Cocking - Graffham Down - Graffham - Heyshott - Cocking
8 miles

Only a short walk today as I've been working six days a week for the past two weeks and quite frankly I'm knackered. Anyway, we finally made it to St. Catherine's church Cocking (11th C) just after midday with the sun beaming at us. With just T shirts on our sweaty backs we climbed the steep footpath up Manorfarm Down to reach the South Downs Way. This section of the long distance footpath is quite wooded, with many yew trees and Bronze Age earth works dotted along the way. We stopped at some ancient burial mounds in a cowslip-covered meadow to have our lunch.
Further on is Graffham Down and this is under the management of the Graffham Down Trust who are trying to preserve the original downland turf and all of the plants and butterflies that it supports. Today the turf was covered in thousands of orchids and was buzzing with insect life.
As we came out of the trust's land we took a steep wooded path, down into the tiny village of Graffham. From here it was just a few miles walk back to the bike via Heyshott with the sound of Gill softly sobbing in the background. Honestly, this area is so outstandingly gorgeous that the thought of never being able to live there can distress the happiest of souls.
Orange Tips, Peacocks and Speckled Wood butterflies about today, along with many woodland birds, Swallows, a Peregrine and lots of woodpecker drumming. Blackcaps, Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs seem to be everywhere and are in competition to see who can sing the loudest.
The nightingales are in great song down at Pulborough Brooks RSPB right now and Cuckoos are about too, so why not go down one evening and check them out. Sussex's bluebells are all at their best as well, so why not find a wood for a picnic this bank holiday weekend? Just remember, leave nothing but your footprints and take nothing but your memories.

Parish church of St Catherine of Siena, Cocking.

Cowslips at the ancient burial site

The burial mounds

An ancient mile post on the South Downs Way. Roman perhaps?

Orchids at Graffham Down

The church of St. Giles, Graffham

These things are rapidly becoming obsolete

2 cubic yards of rusty horse shoes!

Lenticular-like clouds

The afternoon sun in the trees

Bugle (Ajuga reptans)