A couple of weeks ago, having read a post on the blog of Keith Foskett, I decided to go for a walk along Stane Street and The South Downs way. Whilst up there I wanted to see what was happening at the Rise of Northwood near Slindon.
I parked at Eartham Woods car park at first light on Sunday morning. I walked along Stane Street until I got to 6 Ways where I carried on up through the woods.
As I was walking I was amazed at the hundreds of wood pigeons. There were so many in some flocks you could hear them like wind through the trees. As I climbed higher through the woods the sun was beginning to show through the trees giving everything a golden glow.
I have never walked up this track before but have ridden my mountain bike down, so knew it would be a long drag. While walking along looking for any interesting wildlife I noticed that it was getting a bit misty between the trees.
By the time I’d got to the top, to where the track turns right and out of the woods, the visibility was about 50 metres.
As I walked along the bridleway in the fog another huge flock of at least 300 pigeons flew over. I now joined the South Downs Way over Glatting Beacon with its non existing views.
I have never walked in fog like that but can now see how easy it would be to get lost in open country.
I left the South Downs Way after a short while to join Stane Street/Monarch’s Way. This was part of the Roman Road from Chichester to London. It was fantastic to think that about 2000 years ago legions of soldiers would be marching along here, possibly going to the Roman Palace at Fishbourne.
I don’t know if it was because I was losing altitude or because the sun was burning it off but the fog was lifting as I walked along the top of the mound that would having carried the Roman Road. You have to be a bit careful walking along here because of the rabbit burrows dotted about.
It was time to leave Stane Street and go down to Slindon and the site of Rise of Northwood. I went through Gumber Farm where there is a camping barn and camping field for people hiking in these parts. I was told later that there was a dummy airfield here during WW2 which explained the “gun emplacement” I thought I’d seen.
From here I made my way to North Wood to see the work going on. As I walked through the woods to North Wood I passed this tree where one branch has grown toward the ground, and then grown upward to form an arch.
I could hear hammering as I walked through the woods and wondered what it was. I finally saw some flags over a brow so made my way over to them via a very muddy track.
As I got closer I could see what the hammering was. It’s a sculpture by Jon Edgar being carved on site. I was standing watching when he asked if I’d like to have a go. Well I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. It’s certainly a lot harder than it looks. My arm was aching after 5 minutes or so.
I made my way back to the car along a new footpath to get back to Eartham Wood. The tracks though this part of the wood were very muddy. I was passed by 3 mountain bikers one of whom said he was taking it slow as he’d just fallen off in the slippery conditions.