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Walking 5 Photos 2021

24th August – Farlington Marshes

Tuesday 24th August 2021 – circular walk

I think most people know where Farlington Marshes is, but talking with some of the 11 people attending, some had not been there for quite some time, so a welcome reminder of what a beautiful area Farlington Marshes can be on a fine summer’s day with the tide well on its way out.

The walk was flat and at about sea level, although some stretches of path were made up with pebbles or had dried up mud puddles; but all-in-all the terrain was not challenging on the day.

The route was about 4.5 Km. We met a U3A Birdwatchers group who seemed to be having a good time, and probably saw more birds than we did. However, we did encounter the following:- small flock of Little Egrets, Canada Geese, Common Terns, Teal, Mallards, Curlew, Redshank, Sandpipers, Grey Plovers, Lapwings, Moorhens, Swallows, Goldfinches and not to mention quite a few Starlings! It was good to see the “August List” of bird sightings for the marshes in the information hut…..it included an Osprey (on its way back to Africa on 15th Aug.) and also a Harbour Seal (one of our less flighty birds I think!!!).

We saw that blackberries are starting to ripen, with a promise of a good harvest in our local hedgerows in over the coming weeks. In summary, the weather was ideal for this walking venue as it can be bitterly cold and windy at other times of the year. Easy terrain, good for birdwatching and (on clear days) views west to Portsea Island, east to Hayling Island and north to Portsdown Hill.

There is good parking , although a low height barrier, so be aware!. While no on-site refreshment facility, there are some a couple of minutes away by car. We chose The Farmhouse pub in Burfields Road, just off the Eastern Road…plenty of ‘Hungry Horse’ meal-deals throughout the week and friendly service.

11th August – Walderton

Inaugural walk on 11th August – Walderton - Four Seats circular walk

It is a 5.1km loop trail located near Stoughton, West Sussex, England is good for all skill levels and is ideal for people who like to sit and enjoy the expansive views of the South Downs. It took just over 2 hours.

All 15 of us set off from the Barley Mow pub in Walderton (PO18 9ED). Those who pre-ordered their lunch from pub were able to park in the pub carpark, which gets busy mid-week.

The weather was perfect for the walk; sunny, but not too hot and excellent visibility over the South Downs. Once on the well-trodden footpath in the wheat fields it was like we were heading across Tolkien’s Middle Earth to the first of the Four Seats; stopping only for a group photo and a view back to Chichester harbour in the distance.

The walk had some inclines and declines across fields and in woodland, which challenged one or two of us, but we took it gently and made it through! There were a couple of muddy spots but, mainly dry as you would expect on chalk downland terrain. The woods were either beech or old coppiced hazel with a few oaks for good measure. The hedges we followed were mainly hawthorn, with some blackthorn, and in places over-grow by blackberry and wild clematis (Old Man’s Beard). The third seat overlooks unmanaged chalk grassland slopes where we sampled the fragrance of wild basil and thyme.

The fourth seat is like picnic seats and table and is dedicated to a former farm manager; a tranquil spot to view the South Downs! A little further down the bridle path there is a huge barn conversion and several cottages. Passing Watergate House, which was used y the army during WWII, but sadly burned down. It was then rebuilt to its original Grecian style.

As group leaders, we hope everyone enjoyed this inaugural Walkers 5 – Strollers and we look forward to meeting our new friends as well as others registered for this group but unable to participate in this first walk. Our next walk is on Tuesday 24th August at Farlington Marshes. Walking 5 – Strollers meet on the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Tuesday of the month.

Best foot forward……….Kath Bonner-Dunham and Dave Dunham – Group leaders