|Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.|
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One of the joys of living in Sussex is the variety of landscapes that can be experienced within a short distance of each other. From coast to hillside, from fields to woodland, I don’t think I will ever be bored of living in Sussex.
This morning I had to pop down to Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex, this meant a journey through Brighton, East Sussex. Being a sunny bank holiday weekend it was busy, but not as busy as I had expected. Heading back out of Brighton on the bus the queues of traffic coming the other way was a clear indicator that it was going to get a lot busier.
I was heading for the countryside. A few hours later I was walking through a woodland full of bluebells, with only the sounds of buzzing insects, the occasional snatch of bird song and the faint rumble of a jet flying high overhead.
Another stretch of the North Downs Way was completed today, this was only a short section (6.7 miles according to the guide book) because we were limited by access to the railway and impending rain.
The good news was that it stayed dry until we were on the train on our way home, although it was a lot cooler and cloudier than last week. I could have done with a little more sunshine, otherwise it was pretty near ideal conditions. There were some bright moments, as the photo below illustrates.
The route took us along the North Downs Way from Otford to Wrotham both in the county of Kent. The walk began with a pretty steep climb almost straight out of the railway station at Otford. After that the path levelled off somewhat, and the going was quite easy.
About two miles from Wrotham the path dropped down from the hills and we followed the route of the Pilgrim’s Way along the foot of the North Downs into the village. From Wrotham we had to made a short diversion south to Borough Green to catch the train from Borough Green and Wrotham railway station.
The most outstanding part of the walk were the areas of woodland that were carpeted with bluebells. I saw a few dotted about last week, but they really have opened up over the last few days.
The best thing about living within walking distance from where I work is being able to walk home from work on a dry and sunny evening.
Some might argue that just over eight miles does not really qualify as “within walking distance”, but that doesn’t stop me. It does take me about two and a half hours, but it is a great way to unwind after a day at work.
The drawback is that I have to take a change of clothes and footwear to work with me, and carry my work clothes home with me (stuffed in my rucksack). That however is a small price to pay for a couple of hours walking in the sunny West Sussex countryside (OK, so I only got about an hour of sunshine before it clouded over). The above photo is an example of what I mean, the bluebells are everywhere at this time of year.