May 22nd, 2018
Walking the DownsIn the days leading up to the Festival we invite some guest bloggers to offer their own insights. Today, Janet Pennington
Well, what wonderful weather for walking! I am in the midst of my ‘training walks’ for Chanctonbury Ring on 3rd June for the Festival. Becoming back-marker when leading a walk isn’t a good look, having to call out ‘Wait! I want to tell you all something’. But no doubt it will happen again…
On one of my recent walks I saw a raven, and yesterday a stonechat, flicking his tail up and down as he stood on a fence post. There were sheets of cowslips on the way to Chanctonbury a couple of weeks ago, and I shall hope for some orchids when we do the walk on Sunday week.
Butterflies are everywhere, tortoiseshell and brimstone to name a couple, and my eye is always caught by various beetles crossing the path. The ubiquitous buzzards are usually around - though some years back that would have been an amazing sight, now we take them for granted.
The Chanctonbury Ring walk will not be just for 'nature study', as we used to call it at school (I remember taking in a newly-shed adder skin for the ‘nature table’, which caused much shrieking at my all-girls’ school in Brighton, named Wistons, incidentally). I will be talking about the history of Chanctonbury Hill and the Ring, as well as some of the surrounding countryside, at our many stops on the way. The Steyning Festival is about to begin - so get your training shoes on. Mystical, magical Chanctonbury, here we come.
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