Tag Archives: Walking

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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Sussex Day 2012: Part 5 – Once a week each way

22 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

The next stop on the road running along the foot of the South Downs was Fulking, a small picturesque little village, consisting mainly of houses and farm buildings.

Particularly noticeable is the need for car ownership here, parked cars lined both sides of the road and a quick glance at the bus stop revealed one of the possible reasons for this.

The village receives only two buses a week, passing through on its way from Midhurst to Brighton and back again ever Monday. Assuming that they don’t run on bank holidays that means less than a hundred buses a year pass this way.

Once a week each way

One wonders if it gets much use. Anyone out walking this way and hoping to catch a bus home will likely have a long wait.

Makes me feel quite fortunate to have an hourly bus service but a few steps away from my front door.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 4 – Where I needed to be

21 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

Leaving the church I continued on west, parallel to the Downs themselves. The road continues for several miles along the foot of the Downs, creating a string of small villages.

The rest of Poynings passed quickly by, mostly houses and one pub, The Royal Oak, which looks a little too trendy for my liking.

Soon the houses lining the road ended, or at least became more isolated and the views to the South Downs really opened up, this was where I wanted to be.

The road rises and falls gently on its journey west, occasional footpaths shoot off southwards to begin their assent of the hills, all the time the range of hills stretching out ahead as far as the eye could see and the haze would permit.

This really was where I needed to be. For many months I have gazed longingly from a distance, now they were almost within touching distance, not long now and I would be upon the hills at last.

For the last couple of years I have wondered about the feasibility of an alternative South Downs walk, not on the top of the hill, but from the foot of the hills.

At the foot of the South Downs – Where I needed to be

Roads like this stretch many miles along the foot of the South Downs, unfortunately they don’t provide a complete link, and many of them are probably too busy to contemplate walking along now.

They may not offer such far-reaching views as can be found on the top of the hills, but with views like this the route would be by no means boring.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 3 – Church visiting

20 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

The footpath passed down the side of a school and emerged onto the road. Climbing slightly the road took me south to Poynings church, sitting at a junction of roads.

Poynings church has always seemed quite big to me, at least when seen from a distance, however up close it didn’t seem quite so big, although it has to be said that the square tower is quite impressive in size.

Having never been inside the church I thought I should take advantage of the opportunity and was surprised to find myself being congratulated by the vicar/rector for finding my way to the church.

She seemed a little surprised that I wasn’t there for the meeting or the florist come to set up for the wedding, but had just wandered in off the street, but was made welcome nevertheless. After a brief spell to admire the interior I took a stroll around the exterior.

The churchyard seemed quite small, smaller than I had expected. There were a few standing headstones, but try as I might I couldn’t remember anyone in my family tree who might be buried here, in fact I couldn’t remember any family connection with Poynings.

As unlikely as it seemed this little string of villages at the foot of the Downs seem to have been largely overlooked by my relatives, but then I suppose they were always more Wealdsmen than Downsmen.

Holy Trinity Church, Poynings, West Sussex

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 2 – Chasing butterflies

19 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

Across the road from the bus shelter the footpath leads across a wheat field, still green at the moment, but if the sun stays out long enough it will soon be turning golden-yellow.

The path follows a more or less straight path south towards the parish church at Poynings, but a little less than halfway it splits in two with one path continuing south and the other path heading west.

I followed the path west, this field was of grass, kept short by the sheep. A simple wooden bridge took me over a ditch, over a stile into a field of taller grass.

It was here that I spent a couple of minutes trying to capture an image of a little butterfly, a Common Blue I believe. It flitted here and there, almost getting trodden on once or twice and no sooner had it settled on a clover flower than it was off again.

Some of this was my fault and the approach of my camera, but some of this was also down to the wind which was buffeting everything in sight. Eventually I caught it.

Catching butterflies

Not far away to the south the huge bulk of South Downs dominated the skyline, but my attention had briefly been captured by this tiny little creature.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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