December 2012 - Hike #10
Troop hike #10. Amberley Wildbrooks
(8 miles)

At least four Scouts had other commitments this weekend so in the end only three were able to come along. Those unfortunate enough not to make it missed a beautiful sunny walk along the Downs and through the huge muddy marsh known as Amberley Wildbrooks.

Chantry Hill car park sits right up on the South Downs above Storrington and right from the off we had beautiful blue skies with only small cirrus clouds above us. We soon came upon a very picturesque dewpond that is used to water the cattle and soon after that we stopped to chat to a
horse rider about her big black horse ‘Zorro’.

After a mile Andy headed back to the minibus and drove it to the lunch spot at Amberley. Everyone else carried on past Kithurst Hill and Rackham Hill, seeing Yellowhammer and Buzzard on the way, before meeting Andy again two hours later for sausages and tea at Amberley church. Tim then took over as minibus driver and would meet us all again at Greatham Bridge.

The next stage for the intrepid hikers was through the ridiculously muddy wildbrooks, which everyone really enjoyed. Some people managed to get their feet completely soaked but they didn’t seem to care too much. Splashing through the puddles and mud was great fun.

In the wildbrooks we saw hundreds of Fallow Deer as well as Lapwing, Wren, Kestrel, Robin, Blackbird, Pigeon, Jackdaw, Wigeon and Mallard. At Quell Farm we saw two Donkeys and Jamie found a Rabbit skull.

Finally we made it to Greatham Bridge for a well deserved cuppa after which we set off for a short stroll across Coldwaltham Brooks hoping to see a Barn Owl. We didn’t have long to wait as one came out of the bushes ahead of us, crossed the brooks and then disappeared into the reed beds. We walked on a bit further as the sun set behind the hills and then we retraced our steps. The Barn Owl appeared once again to give us all another good view of it hunting before it once again evaporated into the darkness.