Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cocking Loop

No, that is not a euphemism.  Cocking is a place...yes really...and it's part of the South Downs Way National Park.  I had a restful day in the garden yesterday and thought today would be perfect to venture once again into the countryside for a 5 mile loop up and over two bloody great the heat of the day....blah blah mad...blah blah beach....blah blah cool...whatever.

Reclining in the garden catching up with my latest Clive Cussler.

Well my father and I weren't the only mad people who had decided to give the beach a miss (fyi the queue down the one road to get to the Witterings would have been atrocious today) we passed several walkers (no, not the dead Zombie kind Kim & Carri-Ann), cyclists and even my madness pales in comparison.

 The view looking back down the hill, the path in the distance is the South Downs Way also, it stretches 100 miles approx along the coast

The grazing cattle at the top of the hill

It's a moderate gradient to get from the car park to the top of the South Downs Way which seems to continue on forever.  Still it's a fabulous view at the top.  Then it levels off to a leisurely flat chalk stone path along fields of grazing, today mostly sleeping, cattle and woodland.

Tracks descend off the main route in every direction every few hundred yards & a multitude of exploratory walks can be had, leading to the various villages in the surrounding area ( & their local pubs).  Today we strolled for a while along the main path before breaking left across the field and into the woodland, the dappled shade greatly appreciated at this point.

On route we found a most agreeable spot to tuck into our picnic and admire the landscape, even having an impromptu sciencey type discussion about the clouds forming over the north side of the Downs.

Lunch with a view

Upon reaching a crossroad at the bottom of the track we wandered away from the village of Heyshott and walked adjacent to the Downs. 

Dad mulls over which track to take next

Looking back up the hill we just walked down

Fields near Heyshott


This little fledgling was sitting in the middle of the track, possibly a Blue Tit...not too sure on does look rather disgruntled though

We diverted briefly to the 1000 year old church at Cocking which is aptly atmospheric and historic, then walked back over the hill to the car park, where I dumped the last of my water over my head to cool off.

Notice anything slightly Whovian about this piccie?

 How about to a graveyard...seriously!

Lastly here's the 5 mile route

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bonkers Babe on Bike in Bosham

So, Mother Nature finally decided to kick that awful Spring weather up the arse and hopefully to a galaxy far, far away.  Yesterday I dusted of my bicycle, filled a back pack with various edible goodies, a good book and plenty of re-hydrating liquid and set off for adventures in the English countryside.

As the mercury soared I followed a well traveled route to the canal at Hunston & the towpath which leads into Chichester, it's a popular shortcut and in recent years has seen much conservation work done to improve its picturesque appeal and accessibility.

Looking towards Chichester Cathedral

Whizzing past commuters and through the bustle of Chi I was destined for a much quieter place so took the bike path south to Bosham.  There is a more direct route to the little hamlet of Bosham, but I prefer the couple of extra miles around the leafy and secluded country lanes.

A couple of weeks ago this field would've looked not unlike a quagmire.

Smugglers you were warned!

I was rewarded by the brilliant Smugglers Lane, which in decades gone by would've seen plenty nefarious deeds & skullduggery take place no doubt, now it is lined with cottages and houses of a typical English Country manor persuasion all individually named in the maritime ilk...Mermaid Cottage, The BenBow, Dolphin Cottage, Harbour Lights etc , incidentally the latter property is up for sale if you happen to have a spare £2mil stuffed down the cushions of your sofa.

At the end of my detour I was greeted with the impressive view of Old Bosham & its ancient church across the harbour.  It is a lovely rustic view, more impressive when the tide is high, & I cycled around the harbour to the village green placed in the most perfect picnic spot.

The road opposite Old Bosham village, filled with rustic cottages with a less than rustic price tag

Old Bosham village from across the harbour at low tide

I met a wonderfully informative gent on a bench in front of the church, whom I spent the next half an hour chatting with.  Getting a history of the Church (which dates back to the Saxons), village & various famous home owners, who included Joan Collins.  The aging chap was like something out of a Enid Blyton adventure with epic sideburns, verging on Mutton Chops, and delighted in telling me about the legends of buried civil war treasure under the manor house, the various ghosts who walk the village streets at night and the areas which have been used for filming such quality dramas as Poirot & Midsomer Murders.

Bosham Church & old mill house

The Church where King Harold once hung out before heading off to France.

Bosham is made up of a few small lanes with character filled cottages and English country gardens.

I enjoyed a delicious lunch of chicken salad sarnies and fruit in a sun drenched spot with a sea breeze, watching the various yachts and sail boats go past.  Then I realised the tide had turned.

The village green, my pew of choice & my trusted steed.


The old mill

One of the quirks of Bosham, and something which many unfortunate soul has fallen foul too after leaving their parked car, is that much of the surrounding road disappears under the incoming tide.  Bosham isn't cut off, but my scenic route back home would be a much wetter affair if I dawdled much longer.  So I bade fairly well to the hamlet of Bosham & its quirky folk.

Um, your road seems to have sprung a leak

Making my way round the harbour trying to not get too wet.

 Old Bosham from across the harbour at high tide

Everyone makes the most of the water on a hot day

After a 26 mile round trip in 29 degree C heat, it's fair to say I was on the exhausted side of knackered & in the final few miles the bicycle seat I rested my rump upon was not my friend....I became acutely aware of just how many pot holes & rough surfaces the roads from Chichester to Bognor have...Council be a dear and sort out a smooth & slightly cushioned road surface would you. But in all it was a most agreeable day.

Should you care to cycle the route yourself, here be a map I coloured in via Google Earth.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Post Haste

It has been a while since I updated cyberspace with my thoughts & observations, mainly since I've had very few of either.  That and the fact that yet again the powers that be decided to quite literally rain on my parade...continuously...for the past 2 months. 

It's been dreadful, the skies depressingly grey whilst we had every kind of rain imaginable...sideways, misty, huge giant drops, cascading torrents... even that type Forrest Gump mentioned which appeared to come up from the ground...It's been hideous, and in some kind of Bizarro World way, even though we've had a years worth of the wet stuff in the last couple of months, we are in drought complete with hosepipe bans and various restrictions...this while water has been happily flash flooding down the streets and into the drains?!?

So, no fun times have been had really as I grasped on to the meager hope that eventually summer would kick in.  Which it finally has. 27 degrees yesterday, hotter even today and hopefully continuing into the weekend when I and my trusty photographic device will be able to venture into the great British countryside for rambling type adventures.

We must after all make the  most of such  sunny occasions, as Wimbledon & the Olympics will kick in soon and it's fair to say that outdoor sporting activities and British weather have a damp squib relationship at best!