On Tuesday I drove to the car park by the Upper Lodges of Stanmer Park. From here, I strike out across the fields, a walk that Fern also seems to enjoy especially. At this time of the year, the farmer has allowed the grass to grow before cutting it for silage and Fern loves to run through it, chasing after a tennis ball. Yes, I know it's being grown as a crop - but I'm sure the grass partially flattened by Fern quickly comes upright again. It is as I cross one of these fields that I sometimes hear, and occasionally see, a skylark. Their numbers have declined dramatically since I was a boy, but on Tuesday I heard one and spotted it high above. I watched as it dropped to earth in the dramatic way that skylarks have. And just as it reached the grass, another rose into the sky. And then a third! What a treat.
Another bird I should dearly like to hear again is the yellowhammer with its song, "A little bit of bread and NO cheese". They, too, were common in my youth but it is many years since I heard one.
One of the things I love about this walk is the view. Or rather, views. I had no camera with me this week, but here are pictures I have taken at about this time of the year. First, the view to the east:
While in the opposite direction we see:
Then yesterday we (that's the dog and I) walked across 39 Acres and up to the Roman Camp that isn't (Roman, that is - or isn't). Every time I walk those ramparts that were built three and a half thousand years ago I muse on what life must have been like for those Iron Age men and just who has trod this path in the centuries since. It must have been a lonely spot for several hundred years but now I look over the tower blocks of the city of Brighton near-by. The sea yesterday was more blue than I ever remember seeing the English Channel. In fact, the last time I saw a sea as blue as that, it was the Mediterranean! I counted nine ships on the horizon heading down-Channel with numerous fishing boats closer in-shore. And fifty miles to the west, the bulk of the Isle of Wight showed up quite clearly. I didn't have my camera with me yesterday either, but here is a sample of the view.
I keep reminding myself never to take these views for granted.