November 2012 - Hike #9
Troop hike #9. Lewes - Southease - Beddingham Hill - Glynde - Lewes (12 miles)

4 Scouts and 4 leaders met at a misty, slightly drizzly Crawley Station and it seemed that John and I were the only ones amongst us who didn't think it was going to rain all day. Two changes on the train later and we made it to our start point of Lewes town without incident or delay. It had also stopped raining.

We set off from Lewes Station at 10am and our first place of interest was the local tip! That was good but next to it we found the River Ouse which was far better, so we followed that a couple of miles downstream as the tide made its way in. On the river and along the flood plains on both banks we saw Grey Heron, Yellowhammer, Mute Swan, White-fronted Geese, Kestrel and Redshank.

We went past the village of Rodmell, a great place for birdwatching and the place where the famous writer Virginia Woolf used to live. Then we continued down to Southease, where she sadly walked into the river with her pockets full of stones.


A small detour to the church at Southease, a 10th Century stunner with a circular tower, provided an excellent place for exploration and a midday snack and also a tap for the replenishment of our water bottles.

From there it was back to the river, over the newly-restored swing bridge, over the railway line and up steeply onto the South Downs. Onto Itford Hill with all of its fungi and cattle and all the way up to the OS point at Beddingham Hill (190m) where the sweaty Scout section were all happy to see the path suddenly fall headlong-down all the way to the A27 and the village of Glynde. On the way over we had seen Buzzard, Jackdaw, Magpie, Skylark, Rook, Carrion Crow, Dunnock, Robin, Redwing and the remains of a Goldfinch (a possible fox snack). We'd also seen a White-tailed Bumblebee, Teasel, Yellow Fieldcap and Candlesnuff Fungus.

After making our way through Glynde village we soon had the last section of the hike looming before us: the dreaded climb up onto Mount Caburn.
Some amongst us (none of the scouts) were up against 'the wall' on this ascent but the sudden descent, which coincided with the dropping of the sun, revived everyone and the sparkling lights of Lewes urged them on too.Along the cliff by the golf clubhouse we had bats hunting around our heads as darkness finally fell.

Arriving back at busy Lewes at 5pm we found that there was a train home leaving in 20 minutes. Time enough to finish off our tea and break out the emergency chocolate bars!

Although the weather forecast had been truly dismal, we found as usual that it didn't matter whatsoever. We had about 3 drops of rain land on us all day, we all remained very warm and we had great views at all times.

As you can see from the chart below as well as doing 11 flat miles we also did about 1 mile of up and down. The Scouts all managed this hike with considerable ease and had masses of energy left over at the end, which shows that they are improving vastly in stamina. They also showed that their training in taking bearings is starting to take effect too.

We had hoped to see some more species of birds and certainly the weather recently would have stopped a lot of bird movement, but our hikes in December and January will certainly have more chance of delivering Deer and Foxes as well as winter visitors such as Fieldfare Short-eared Owl and Hen Harrier.