Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Sunday 30th March 2014
Bepton - Minsted - Stedham Common - Iping Common - Ingrams Green - Didling -
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
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.
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
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
The OS point on Iping Common hidden among the Gorse.
The ways down off of the common are all sunken paths with sandstone walls.
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
countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.