Tuesday, 29 January 2013

NOT SO DEEP, NOT SO CRISP, AND UNEVEN

Sussex Border Path leg 6

Jeffers, Countrybhoy and I undertook this walk on Friday.  We took Charlie along virtually, so that he could vicariously enjoy this foray into the snowy wastes (more to his liking than mine usually!).  I am posting rather a lot of pics, so that he can walk the route with us; I hope you don't mind.

The exit from Gatwick Airport was oddly unmarked; but the signpost is just visible.

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Here are Jeffers and Countrybhoy at the start of the walk.

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The airport didn't let us stray far from the path.

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Even the graffiti on the bridge seemed somehow  to mock our endeavours.

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When we eventually left the airport complex, it was unexpectedly muddy.

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But there was wildlife,  surprisingly close to human habitation.

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Behind the houses on the main road, the Coppingham Arms is now Jai Ho.

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 We turned off here to follow Peeks Brook.
 
SBP 3 055 Peeks Brook

But we were never very far from either airport or motorway.

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In fact these were the sounds of the first hour or so of the walk.

video

But we followed the track, passing through an industrial area,

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behind Gatwick Manor, with its frozen streams and ponds,

SBP 3 074 Gatwick Manor

and onto farmland,

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leading to the village of Burston.  This is me in front of Burston Church.

SBP 3 078 Me at Burston

The road from Burston entered open country at last

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 with animals managing to graze in the snow.

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The next stretch was pretty uninteresting photographically.  You can just see the path.

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 So I concentrated on the footprints.  This is a chicken.

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 And this is a pheasant.  You can see where the trailing toe has scraped.

 SBP 3 099a pheasant

 This is Jeffers' and Countrybhoy's footprints.

SBP 3 095 Jeff and Pete

 And this is clearly a velociraptor.  Or an ostrich.  I'm not that sure.

 SBP 3 099 velociraptor

 But this is definitely a panther.

SBP 3 100 panther

You can see that many people have walked this way before us.

SBP 3 100a many feet

Maybe because it leads to The Cherry Tree - the place to be on Valentine's Eve.

SBP 3 101 The Cherry Tree

We turned off this path onto Clayhill Lane, which leads to an old farmhouse.

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But we then had to turn off the drive through this . . .

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In fact the path here had become a river,

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probably an overflow, since the houses had bridges to their gardens.

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There was a short delay at Copthorne Common, as we tried to cross the A264.

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Safely across the road, Jeffers was suddenly unsure which direction to go.

SBP 3 120 Jeff hunts for the route (2)

If you look closely, you can see the sign warning of deer and panthers,  Aha!

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The hunters enjoy other pursuits these days.  This is a polo horsebox.

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At the end of this track, there was a nice view,

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before it led into the beautiful 16th century Rowfont House,

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now a restaurant and wedding venue.

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At the end of the drive was a stump, continually splashed by passing vehicles.

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We crossed over here into the Rowfont Sawmills,

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 onto the old Crawley to East Grinstead railway track,

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 eventually passing under one of the old road bridges,

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to the Royal Oak at Crawley Down for lunch and a welcome pint of Sussex.

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Satiated and warmed, we walked past newer houses, built on the old railway,

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and into some spectacular open country.

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Maybe it was the break, or just the open space, but it was suddenly colder here

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and bleaker.

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Even the flood waters were frozen.

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We were pleased to return to the shelter of the railway cutting.

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An interesting signpost, indictating the Crawley Down/East Grinstead walk.

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But could this be the station car park?

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We crossed the bridge . . .

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and there indeed, suddenly, was our destination, East Grinstead station.

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I hope you enjoyed that, Charlie.  The walk was just over 18 kms.

12 comments:

  1. I love a good walk, however I'm something of a fair-weather walker, so I tend not to go in these kinds of conditions. Like Charlie, I'll enjoy this one from the comfort of home.

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    1. Apart from that one open stretch, it was surprisingly pleasant, Mitch (I had on my thermal undies!).

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  2. I loved that walk, although would be a bit cold for me. I had good friends living in a place called Meadvale, somewhere near Redhill/Reigate. I remember in my younger days going to the new gatwick airport. the old airport was still standing and I even have a b/w photo of it. Surrey has lovely nooks and crannies.

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    1. Sounds like you have a pic for this week's Picture Perfect, Pat!

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    2. I do not do picture perfect. I used to, but then they started doing competitions and I am not in Internet to partake in competitions.

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    3. I understand your feelings. I stopped for the same reason. But I pop in still now from time to time.

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  3. Great photos Neil. Thank you for acting as recorder-in-chief for our activities on these walks across southern England.

    This was a great day's walking. The snowy conditions seemed to improve the experience immeasurably. And lunch was reasonably good in the Royal Oak. I look forward to our next section in February.

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    1. Thanks, Jeff. And thanks to you for finding the photogenic scenery!

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  4. I was so tired after this walk that it's taken until now for me to recover enough to look at all the ground we covered. Phew ...

    Thank you for taking me along Neil. I really enjoyed looking at the photos and your description of the route. It is very much appreciated. I look forward to joining you again though next time could you walk a bit slower ?

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    1. Great to have you along, Charlie. I think it was the cold that got us moving. I actually did arrived home nearly 2 hours early!

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  5. Great photos, Neil. Thanks for putting them up. They brought a great day out vividly back to mind.

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    1. Hi,Pete. Yes, it was a, perhaps surprisingly, enjoyable walk.

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