Our Autumn Walks have started with a keen eye on the weather forecast, as October has been generally grey and damp so far! We did, however, squeeze in a bright, sunny walk at Dell Quay where we saw egrets, enormous toadstools and a late summer flower, disproving the chillier days.
The Federation Outdoor Talk and Walk at Medmerry, Selsey, treated some of our members to an excellent guided tour and talk by the RSPB. Unfortunately, one of the days had to be postponed given the amount of rain forecast. An alternative date is being arranged.
After damp days postponing a couple of our Winter Walks,KingleyVale, in the brilliant sunshine,restored our faith last Thursday (February 14th). The views, the chatterand the earlyspring weatherset the stage for an exhilarating walk up onto the South Downs, throughan ancientYew Tree woodland.
So energised were three of our members, that they took thevery steep route up to the top –leaving the rest of the group aghast. However, not all was lost. Those less adventurous claimed the beststamina,as they had covered thelonger distance!
We were all rewarded with green heart biscuits to focus our thoughts as it was Climate Change Day.
Future WI walks will includea Ford to Arundel riverside walk, andChidham Harbour. Sign upsheets will be available at WI.
Our last two walks epitomised what the walk group sets out to do!
Exploring coast and rural areas
Exercising for good health
Enjoying the company and countryside around us
In jest, we certainly “reached parts that may not have been reached before”, as some of the 14 members over the two walks discovered parts of our area that they had never been to before, got out of breath, awakened muscles that had not been used in a while, and kept the chatter going for several miles!
The high down on the Trundle was awash with wild flowers – including the Rampion, known as the Pride of Sussex flower; the 360 degree views were amazing; the paths and hills stretched our legs and lungs, and the coast walk at low tide exposed the Pagham Mulberry and vast expanses of rock.
Next we will be walking up Halnaker Hill to see the windmill dressed with its new sails and cap.
The wet Spring weather proved a challenge – in the 8 year history of our walks rarely had they been cancelled. This year, a different story – 3 walks were cancelled, and to top that walking in mud baths as bad as they were at Ardingly was a first!
Three of our members joined forces to help with maintaining the footpath in the WI Federation’s wood, Bramber Beeches at Steyning. Although some might have thought Jan had taken members there under false pretences, everyone contributed to keeping the nettles down with good spirit and enjoyed the wonderful views out across Steyning.
Three of us also joined in with the Federation Outdoor Talk and Walk at Ardingly Reservoir, where we were told how clean water gets to taps. The walk along the reservoir edge was scenic enough, but overshadowed by mud, mud and more mud.
Slindon bluebells, however, saved the reputation of the walk group. Although not as bright as in other years, the carpet of blue and the small enclave of pink orchids on a sunlit evening was beautiful and worth the wait for a dry patch in the weather.
As we move into Summer our walks continue in the evenings. We are off to Del Quay for a harbour/marina walk on Tuesday 15thMay. We are planning to take a walk along the beach to Pagham when the tide is low and go up to Halnaker windmill again, once its restoration is complete. Most of our walks are “easy” – although some argue their description is debatable! The friendship and views are never in question, and are always enjoyable.
We have completed five walks this summer. It was the last walk on August 31st however that challenged us! A hill took a toll on our legs and lungs, bullocks and a bull posed a threat, the night sky was drawing in, a footpath hidden in undergrowth, and a farmer expressed his solution to lost dogs on his land! Our intrepid WI walkers, however, overcame any difficulties and the evening turned out to be a delight. The sun shone brightly and we took in the exceptional views over the green slopes of Dale Park at Slindon, all arriving safely and exhilarated back at our cars.
An earlier walk in August, one of our faithful walks up to Halnaker Windmill, was filled with chat, laughter and friendship, enhancing the usual splendid views. After several years of seeing the windmill fenced off, renovation work has started and the windmill is being returned to its original state with hung tiles covering the brick work. Let’s hope by next year’s walk there, the windmill’s sails will be reinstated too.
As well as our own WI walks, some members joined in the Federation event at Bramber Beeches and Coombes Farm. Bramber Beeches is the wood planted in 1980 by our Federation to celebrate 60 years of the West Sussex WI Federation. As well as a 3 mile walk, there was a tractor ride option to the wood (or nearly to the wood!), a picnic, and entertainment from Whispering Woods a Sussex outdoor choral group. It was so special, as summer songs were sung in Bramber Beeches where it felt the leaves and trees were joining in as we sang Jerusalem, led by our own Sue Austin.
I thank all of you who join me on the walks and look forward to continuing them through the autumn months – weather, legs and lungs permitting!
On June 6th our WI evening walk challenged the June showery weather well!
We managed the walk along the river Arun and around Amberley with only the
slightest of showers. We were rewarded with a magnificent double rainbow.
What a delight – the company, the views and the rainbow.
We had a lovely walk along the prom this morning. We met at the Bandstand and walked to the Lobster Pot for coffee and then back again. We raised £20 for ACWW. The envelope will be at the next meeting if anyone who couldn’t come would like to donate.
I haven’t been on one of Jan’s delightful walks for some time due to some aches and pains, which are much better now … so when I saw this one advertised as just 3 miles and all on the flat, I decided to have a go. I am so glad I did as it was a lovely sunny evening, beautiful views and good company … although by the end my legs were feeling it and we all agreed it was a bit more than 3 miles! However, I’m none the worse for the experience and look forward to our next flat walk (I think hills are still beyond me unfortunately.
Click here for photos (thanks to Sue for most of these). Thank you Jan for a super outing.