Liz took the walkers on a very nice walk around Tillington, passing through Upperton Common and the vineyards near Upperton Farm. An excellent lunch was had by all in the nearby Hollist Arms. Thanks also to John and Barbara who helped with planning and for some lovely photographs, also to Jeff for the map.
Pete's splendid walk started from Lavant and took the West Sussex Literary Trail up to The Trundle overlooking Goodwood Racecourse. It was a beautiful day and not too hot for climbing up the hill. The Trundle had human activity around 4,300 years ago but they didn't get around to building a fort until about 2,000 years ago. It wasn't until 1802 that someone had the bright idea of building a racecourse nearby. There is little evidence of a fort on the Trundle today, but it does have 2 large radio masts. After admiring the splendid views the walkers descended to a well earned lunch in The Dean Inn in West Dean. Very adequately refreshed, they made their way via an old railway tunnel to the New Lipchis Way back to the cars in Lavant. Many thanks to Marian and Pauline for photos and the map.
Meeting up in the Bosham car park we welcomed 2 guest walkers Lorraine and Julie. Jeff led us along the beautiful Bosham Harbour where Bevis the Sussex Giant used to wash his dogs after walking back from the Isle of Wight (for more information see Giant Bevis). The weather was sunny but not exactly warm, with just a few clouds around. Heading through the fields towards the Fishbourne Channel we saw the channel but had no time to admire it as a hailstorm reached us. It was a really heavy storm with the hail sufficient to turn the path white. We sheltered under leafless trees which helped only a little before the storm eased enough for us to continue our wallk. Surprisingly the distant Chichester Cathedral seemed to have sunshine. Reaching Fishbourne we headed back towards Bosham. The drama was not over as Isabel had the misfortune to fall over. The First Aid kit was needed but as we had 1 doctor, 2 nurses and a couple of health visitors to help out, we decided the cut hand didn't need an air ambulance. Bosham was eventuallly reached without further incident and The Anchor Bleu made a welcome lunch venue after our walk of 5.3 miles. Many thanks to Jane and Lorraine for extra photos.
The last time we did this walk it rained all day. This time Jeff had organized some ideal weather, a few occasional clouds to keep away some of the sun and just the right temperature for walking. We parked in Webb Road in Witley Common and found ourselves crossing under the busy A3 to get to Rodborough Common. One surprising find on an old tree trunk was the shell of a Swan Mussel (or even a Duck Mussel). This large freshwater Mussel is not uncommon but is rarely seen as it spends its life in the mud in the bottom of ponds. The birch and heather changed to pine trees as we reached Thursley Common and then more gorse as we neared Thursley village and our lunch in the Three Horeshoes. An excellent lunch before finding a bridge to take us back over the A3 and on towards Witley Common. We glimpsed a roof in Witley Park, home to an extraordinary submerged ballroom/billiard room built by a fraudster in the late 1800s. The mansion he also built had gone by the 1950's, but the ballroom remains. Lastly we reached Witley Common, once a wartime training camp for 20,000 recruits, but now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) managed by The National Trust. The walk had been just over 7.1/2 miles.
Miguel and Celia took us on a stroll over the commons around Stedham and then returned via the River Rother path back to Stedham. Weather was fine and almost too warm for some. We had another guest walker this week, Mike from Midhurst. Spring started officially on this day and whilst bluebells were extremely scarce, many other plants and flowers were showing significant signs of life. We eventually returned to The Hamilton Arms and enjoyed some delicious Thai food. The walk was a little under 5 miles.