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The Wandering Genealogist takes a break

30 Jun

I have decided to give myself a break from blogging for the next few months.

I am not sure if it will be a complete break or whether I will just excuse myself from my daily blogging schedule, either way I want to take a break from the “demands” of blogging for a while.

There are several other projects (other than family history) that I want to work on, but most of all I want a bit more spare time to do some walking.

Hopefully the weather is improving and I need to get some more miles under my belt if I am going to walk the South Downs Way again this year.

Then of course there is the upcoming London 2012 Olympics, which is going to mean a few long days when I am simply not going to have the time to blog.

All in all I want to take a break and not have to “worry” about blogging.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 5 (revisited) – Once a week each way, but not for much longer

28 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

I commented last week on the rather poor bus service serving the village of Fulking at the foot of the South Downs, in West Sussex.

Today however I read that the rather sparse service of two buses a week (the No. 62 between Midhurst and Brighton) will be withdrawn from September 2012.

West Sussex County Council’s latest (and supposedly final) round of bus subsidy cuts will reduce some bus services and lead to the complete withdrawal of others.

The reason for the withdrawal of this service is said to be down “to insufficient passenger numbers”, not surprising really, a service consisting of only two buses a week was never going to be successful in making people give up their cars and take the bus.

So if you were thinking of taking the bus to Fulking you better make it quick, you’ve just got a couple of months left.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 10 – On “the Way” again

27 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

At the top of the hill I was back once again on the South Downs Way. It felt good to be back, if only for a short while.

I took a seat on a stile with my back to the wind so that I could have a quick look at my map and decide where I was heading. Actually I knew where I was heading, but just needed to confirm which path I was going to take, before I was off again, heading west.

It felt so good to be back on the South Downs Way, it wasn’t particularly busy, but there were still more people on this short section of path than I had seen since getting off the bus an hour and a half ago.

I wondered where these people were going, some heading east, some heading west. Where had they started this morning? How far were they going today?

Some were on foot, others on two wheels and the even occasional horse. Some on their own, others in small groups. All united on their individual journals along the South Downs Way.

On the South Downs Way again

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 9 – Getting into the groove

26 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

Climbing up the northern escarpment of the South Downs is never easy and the path up to the ridge from Fulking was no exception.

I had noticed that the cloud was clearing to the south and the sun finally broke through as I started to climb the steepest part.

I was deep in a groove worn into the hillside, a path snaking its way to the top of the hill, a valley of chalk with grass and soil trying to keep its grip on the walls.

The deep walls did at least offer some shelter from the strong wind, it had been quite strong down at the foot of the hills and I knew it was going to be even stronger on top of the hill.

High above me I could hear the wind whistling through the power lines, and the occasional rattle from the pylon on the ridge.

It was a tough climb, but when I turned around to survey the landscape I was amply rewarded.

Getting into the groove on the South Downs

 

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 8 – Fulking lime kiln

25 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

Part of the way up the side of the hill is a lime kiln. It knew it was here somewhere, I had seen pictures of it before, but didn’t really know exactly where it was, and if truth be known had forgotten it was here until I stumbled upon.

My experience of lime kilns comes from many visits to Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre, where their lime burning is on an industrial scale. The one I was looking at on the hill side was much smaller.

It has been restored by the National Trust, although I don’t know how much of the kiln exists behind the facade. Chalk, in plentiful supply here, was loaded in the top along with charcoal.

After burning, the resulting lime would be removed from the hole at the front to be used as a building material or for “improving” the nearby farmland.

Fulking lime kiln

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 7 – Eyesore on the ridge

24 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

Leaving Fulking behind the time had come to make my way up onto the South Downs themselves.

I left the road taking a footpath heading south, in a narrow space between two fields, the one on the right empty but the one on the left was occupied by two lively and curious horses.

My route up to the ridge was obvious from this distance, a deeply carved path snakes up the hill and my target marked on top of the hill by one of the metal giants that stride across the Downs, spoiling the view for miles.

Eyesore on the ridge

The South Downs Society have suggested that if Eon get permission to build their offshore wind farm and its associated onshore cable route then the opportunity should be taken to bury these power lines as well. I am sure there will be many cheers if or when this particular eyesore gets toppled.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 6 – “He sendeth springs into the valleys”

23 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

Slightly further along the road, in fact practically on the edge of the village is the Shepherd and Dog pub, with splendid views of the Downs, this fitted much better my mental image of a country pub, however the real interest here for me was next door to the pub.

An important feature of these villages at the foot of the Downs are the many springs emanating from the hillside. More than that they probably owe their existence to the presence of these springs.

Previous residents of Fulking have utilised this water source for their benefit, with the installation of a hydraulic ram pump to distribute water throughout the village.

The story has it that in years gone by the streams of water have been dammed and the road flooded, the resulting pools used for sheep washing.

I don’t know whether there is still a pump inside the beautiful little pump house, there was certainly quite a flow of water, although we have had a lot of rain recently which could account for the volume of water.

Fulking pump house

I find it amazing that such care and thought went into the design and building of this pump house, which could have been so plain and simple. Even the door hinges are quite possibly the most ornate I have ever seen.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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