The walk started and finished at Pulborough station and we decided to travel by train as we could read or I could stitch during the journey. In the end I read in both directions as I'm trying to finish a book I've been reading for ages. Not far from the start of our walk we passed a duck pond.
It smelt fabulous as there was a lot of honeysuckle in flower along the hedge.
and also quite a bit of this plant that I can't remember the name of.
A bit further on we came to the gallops belonging to a local racehorse stables. We had to cross the gallops and there were large notices cautioning you to take care when crossing. It was quiet at the time we were there but it could be a problem when the church do their walk.
In all we crossed 4 different gallops and two of them had jumps on them of differing heights.
There were a couple of steep descents on the walk. This was the first one but it did have a helpful handrail
It didn't look too steep from the bottom. There were lots of blackberries along the way and once we had eaten our sandwiches we filled the empty box with them. They made a delicious apple and blackberry crumble that we enjoyed last night, and there is still some left for tonight.
In one area there was a narrow path that run between two field fences. The path was very overgrown with ferns, nettles and brambles. John had a been warned about the path and had a pair of secateurs in his bag to deal with the brambles but even with them we had lots of small cuts on our arms. Fortunately we both heal well so no harm done. We also had lots of nettle stings and I found it hard not to scratch them. We saw a good number of speckled wood butterflies along this part of the route but unfortunately they don't sit still for very long and although I took several photos they were all just a blur of the butterfly. Along this path there were lots of cow parsley seed heads. As you brushed past it the seeds were dispersed.
Here's a photo of them when they're still developing..
The elder berries were ripening well. Several years ago I made elder berry wine and it was delicious. I could have gathered enough berries to make some this year but we had a walk to complete.
Having survived the vicious path we continued on more open paths that led us past Sheepwash Farm. Their farm sign was delightful. Now you know why lambs always look so cute and clean!
We passed a group of Hawthorne trees (called May when it is in flower) resplendent with their berries
This group of cows were funny. They had all squashed themselves into this one small corner of the field. There was no fence on the other two sides keeping them penned in and they had a lot of room but they were all together. They were very friendly cows and several enjoyed having their noses stroked by John
At this point we were at the top of a hill so I took some pictures of the views
We stopped in this field and ate our lunch and then picked blackberries. It was warm and very quiet.
Just as we moved on for the rest of the walk this horse came by at a gallop. The rider bought him back so I could take a picture. He wasn't keen to stand still for long
From here we headed down through the woods to Stopham. We spotted several Rowan trees with their bright berries.
Stopham is a hamlet and is recorded in the Doomsday book of 1086. The war memorial looked much older than it was as it has been damaged by the weather.
The oldest part of the church is 11th century Saxon and the rest is 12th century Norman.
The church was open as many rural churches are so we went inside where it was very dark until our eyes got used to the light level. Looking to the right towards the altar it was very dark.
Looking towards the rear of the church light was poring in from the window and gave a much clearer view of the interior. Underneath the red carpet there are very old brasses.
In the porch there was this list of rectors since the church had been built.
You can see that the first rector was Selfidius in 1288. In 1644 - 1661 John Halloner is identified as 'intruder' This was during the Commonwealth period when Oliver Cromwell was in power. Outside in the churchyard there was this amazing old Yew tree
John walking past it gives you an idea of its size. From here we walked down the road to the old Stopham bridge, an ancient monument in its own right. I didn't take a picture of it instead focusing on the two geese who I decided were called Jeremy and Jemina. They are by one of the pillars for the new concrete road bridge.
Having crossed the bridge we stopped at the White Hart pub for a drink before completing the last mile of our walk. Then back home on the train. Once home I decided I needed to soak in a nice bubble bath for a while to help prevent muscle aches. The rest of the evening was very slow and we settled for a short time reading and an early night.
It's a good job we walked yesterday as today we have heavy rain again so the perfect day for some work and some sewing. I also need to send out information about our camp in October to the girls and do a little planning for the new term at guides. I'm hoping John and I will be able to fit another walk in before I go back to work next week. I wish holidays didn't rush past so quickly. By the time I've settled into a holiday it's over and work is waiting for me.
Never mind I'm going to do 2 hours marking and then sewing for the rest of the day.