Tuesday, 29 April 2014

High Salvington and Findon

Honeysuckle Lane Viewpoint
Sometimes you don’t have to go far away or undertake great distances in order to do a walk that is very memorable.  This delightful little round proved just that as we explored a place on our very doorstep that we had not been to before.  I had the morning with just the girls and they were anxious to get out for some fresh air while we had some time to ourselves.  We parked up at the small car park at Honeysuckle Lane on the edge of Worthing on a beautifully sunny day and headed north up the lane away from the houses.

Early May Blossom
The lane itself is a popular walk for dog owners and there were quite a few people about on this Wednesday morning courtesy of the school holidays.  The journey up the lane was accompanied by the sound of birdsong, bright sunshine filtering through the trees and the wafting of pungent scents from all the competing flowers.  The insects were going crazy too with plenty of buzzing noises around us from all the various pollinators and even a few butterflies adding some colour to the scene.

Long Furlong View
Our walk through the bushes soon gave way to more open countryside as we headed away from town and deeper into the South Downs.  Every so often we would get vistas across the surrounding countryside with glimpses of Angmering Park and then the sweeping dry valley of Long Furlong.  After the winter months it was good to see some colour in the landscape once again, although I’m not sure whether I like the rather artificial yellow created by the rapeseed fields that dominate the landscape in early spring.

Bluebells Out
As we walked along the chalk path there was some brief interest in fossil hunting from the girls, but when it became obvious that they weren’t going to find much they soon lost interest.  Instead they decided that a more fun game would be to balance on the very thin sheep tracks that followed parallel to the path on the banks alongside.  I can remember doing exactly the same thing as a boy and even though they looked like they would fall over any moment I put my parenting instinct to one side for a moment so they could continue.  They justified my faith by walking flawlessly along without any hint of accidents…

Small Tortoiseshell
Eventually we reached the main road that comes up Long Furlong and at this point we changed direction to head across one of those incredibly yellow fields.  The girls really enjoyed walking through the yellow flowers and I have to admit my surprise at the lack of smell.  I seem to remember in years gone by really not liking the smell of rapeseed.  Either there are new varieties being sown now or my nostrils aren’t what they were.

Running Ahead
At the far end of the field we stopped briefly for refreshments and enjoyed the view across to Chanctonbury Ring, which the girls remembered from one of our previous expeditions.  Below us the cricket pitch for Findon Village was looking in a state of readiness for the new season ahead.  The cricket team for this village is of some repute – some years ago they reached the final of the village cricket competition and played at Lords.  Alongside the ground appeared to be a small camping ground with a couple of hardy souls already staying over (albeit in caravans rather than tents!).

Running Through The Yellow
Our route took us alongside some fields overlooking Cissbury Ring down to theb delightful church at Findon.  Set away from the village I suspect that the church was built for the convenience of the Lord of the Manor rather than for the villagers.  Even now it is separated from the village by the main road, which forms quite a barrier for the flock wanting to attend communion.

Chanctonbury View
No such problem for us and in fact we were in luck as the church was open for preparation for Easter.  This allowed us the opportunity to take a look inside and we weren’t disappointed.  Far from being gloomy the inside of the church was lovely and airy and the flowers were just starting to be assembled for the Easter services.  Outside was the real star of the show though as the churchyard was brimming over with flowers and blossom trees.  Sadly though any sweet smell of blossom was rather overpowered by a nearby bonfire and its acrid smoke.  Grrr!
St John The Baptist Church, Findon
We pushed on down the drive and had a squint at the rather palatial looking manor house as we did so. Just before reaching the main road we took a path between the fields.  For awhile we were hemmed in by bushes that were becoming increasingly green and full of blossom.  I imagine in a few weeks this path might be a bit tricky to negotiate as the foliage fills out more.  Eventually the bushes gave way to fences and we walked between fields full of horses.  Some were curious and came over to say hello while others took no notice of us whatsoever.  We passed down through an old farm where there were some very large greenhouses, reminding us of what Worthing used to be famous for.  Back in the old days the Worthing tomato was famous in the south, but sadly most nurseries are long gone and have been redeveloped into housing estates.

Findon Place
Eventually we found ourselves back within the Worthing boundaries as we arrived at The Gallops.  I soon discovered that despite my day off from work I still got buttonholed in a professional sense as I ran into the guy who empties our dog bins.  A thankless task you might think but no – our man loves what he does for the most part although he did grumble about some of the bins being misused.  I pushed on after a brief chinwag and headed off across the wide open space of The Gallops.  No racehorses today although it was easy to see what a great space this would be for exercising them.  

The Gallops
We clambered up the zig zag staircase to High Salvington mill.  This old lady wasn’t operating today but a group of volunteers has restored it and they show people round every couple of weeks during the summer.  My children remembered taking a look round as we passed by.  Next door almost is a rather unusual corrugated tin church – almost unnoticeable unless you walk past.  Not sure what it looks like inside but I might have to attend a service one of these days just so I can take a look.  From here it was a short walk back along Honeysuckle Lane to the car.  Not a particularly pleasant part of the walk as the lane is a bit narrow and it is the only access to the car park. 

High Salvington Mill
Despite the rather unpleasant finish this was a walk full of interest in spite of its modest length (3.7 miles) and I have a feeling it will be added to our retinue of local walks.  I think I need to look for some more now – short local walks are a lot more convenient for summer evenings!

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