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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Sunday 30th March 2014
Bepton - Minsted - Stedham Common - Iping Common - Ingrams Green - Didling - Bepton.
9.5 miles

As we took the bike out of the garage two Canada Geese flew over calling loudly. Just like us they must have been happy that the weather was warm and sunny.
After a quick visit to mum's (it was Mother's day) we shot off down the A272 to Midhurst, threw a left and arrived once again at beautifully quiet Bepton Church. Instead of our usual route up onto the Downs we headed North to visit Steadham and Iping Commons, both of which are heathland environments that are rare in this part of the world and getting rarer everywhere else too. Sandy subsoils, acidic peaty loam and sandstone rock make a real difference from the Weald clay and downland chalk and flint that makes up the rest of Sussex. The flora still consists of the ubiquitous Gorse but also includes heathers, Scots Pine and Purple Moor Grass. Specialised fauna found on Sussex heathlands include Dartford Warbler, Nightjar, Stonechat and Woodlark, only one of which (Stonechat) we saw today. There are also Digger wasps that make burrows in the easily excavated soil. Because of the rarity and nature of the wildlife here dogs are expected to be under very close control at all times and their mess cleared up. Happily we saw that the dog owners here today were actually sticking to the rules.
After a great walk in this whole area and an exciting ride back on the bike we had the two calling Canada Geese fly over us again as we were putting the bike to bed. They must have had a pretty good day too!


I forgot to start my app as we left, which explains the small gap (app gap!). The big brown patch near the top is the lake at the sand quarry.


We left our bike in our usual spot next to the church in the safe hands of Church Farm.


Loads of Cuckoo Flowers (Cardamine pratensis) about this week and also lots of these little fellows,
Bee Flies (Bombylius major), sucking the nectar out of them


The Blackthorn is all in flower now as well.


Spring is here and the new lambs were springing about all over the place.


The sand pit. Almost devoid of life.


We made a good exploration of both Stedham and Iping Commons, both beautiful places.


The OS point on Iping Common hidden among the Gorse.


Fire Moss.


The ways down off of the common are all sunken paths with sandstone walls.


Altocumulus floccus.


My new boots!


Biggest surprise of all - an elephant!


Coming into Didling for the last stage of the walk. One and a half  miles back to Bepton.

 

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