View Full Version : Downland days.

08-08-2013, 07:57 PM
Although I love the quiet and solitude of the greenwood, the rolling Downland around my home is also very special to me. This is a bit of a rambling post (in more ways than one..:) ) but basically this is about a 14 mile wander in the hot sunshine today.
The old flint barn on the long track up from the river valley to the high Downs. Home to House Martins when they arrive, and in the past Barn Owls, but I'm not sure about this year.


One of my favourite Downland flowers, Scabious, grows along the lane banks here by the barn



Rugged mountain ranges and snow covered Northern forests are nice but the English countryside is closer to my heart. I've been to the first two many times and always been glad to return to the Downland.



It's rare to not hear the tumbling song of the Skylarks up here, but not today. The Buzzard hangs on the hot thermals rising from the land and all the small birds with any sense keep their heads down..


The field Poppies still manage to find a home and the Ragwort and Thistles keep the Bees busy..




These hollows and valleys between the Downs are locally known as'Combes' and provide shelter and protection for the Downland wildlife.



It's a working landscape and the family names of people who work it go back through the Centuries.


That may be a turbo charged diesel pulling that Harrow in the photo above, but the pride is the same as if it was a team of Horses. A few too many wiggles in a furrow or cut row and there'll be a red face in the village pub when the older men lay into the young tractor driver..:ashamed:..:D


Distances are deceiving up here. You won't fall down a crevasse or through thin ice, but if you think you're getting from A to B in a few minutes...think again.:D


During the last war the Downland was a vast training area. The ploughs turn up the relics still and they are put to more peaceful use, such as gate counter weights.



And suddenly the mewing call of the Buzzard is lost in a different sound...




The ever present Gorse. In the winter the Downland Shepherds of old used to wear long heavy overcoats and in addition to their long iron headed crooks they often carried a big canvas umbrella. At the first sign of an approaching squall roaring in from the nearby coastline, they would button up their coats and walk slowly backwards into a Gorse bush. Once in a clear space they would sit on the still dry grass and poking the umbrella up through the Gorse, open it to form a 'roof' There they would sit out the squall in comfort and keep dry.
The old combats I wear are not up to overcoat standards but I too walk carefully backwards into the Gorse when the weather threatens and spread a poncho above me, hooking it onto the Gorse bush. Brew time...

Many times after a squall I've emerged dry and full of hot tea to the astonishment of wind blown, saturated day hikers in their dayglo modern clothing...:D

I know this land, the prevailing wind is from the South West..open your eyes and you don't need a compass..


On the top of that Down to the left of the chalk quarry is the remains of an Iron age fortress, and beneath those remains are the signs of the earlier men who dug the flint from land and made fine axes and tools from it.


Look to the North and the flat farmland of the Sussex Weald stretch to the horizon


And to the South, the sea.


A final brew stop in the shade beside the river. Three hours ago I was up on the Downs in the distance and then a long walk down to the river valley and 30 minutes from home..:)


08-08-2013, 08:29 PM
Oh this green and pleasant land that is England..........nice one saxonaxeT^

08-08-2013, 09:37 PM
Well said Tony, couldn't have put it better myself.

08-08-2013, 09:41 PM
The South Downs are very special. I have many good memories from there and I have had many blisters from walking n working on them. So much history in such a beautiful landscape.. Devils dyke, Butser hill, Chanctonbury ring, The Long man of Wilmington, Ditchling Beacon, Beachy Head.......
Nice pics n write up :0)

08-08-2013, 10:01 PM

09-08-2013, 05:31 AM
Enjoyed that, lovely Pics....T^

09-08-2013, 09:39 AM
Amazing views, I can understand you loving the beauty of the downs. loved the report and photographs. T^

09-08-2013, 10:56 PM
Words and pictures blended into harmony T^

10-08-2013, 09:45 PM
T^ Wow...so much open space! :D
Thanks for sharing, mo chara ;).

10-08-2013, 11:15 PM
nice pics, you cant be that far from my neck of the woods

11-08-2013, 07:42 AM
I'm glad people enjoyed the photos..;)

nice pics, you cant be that far from my neck of the woods

Depends.. :) I sold my house years ago, I live a wandering life on my boat, so moorings availability and the opportunities for maximum isolation play a part.

Here she is in Newhaven

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk136/highandry_photos/DSCF0200.jpg (http://s279.photobucket.com/user/highandry_photos/media/DSCF0200.jpg.html)

And here on the River Fal in Cornwall ( above King Harry Ferry for the local lads..:D )

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk136/highandry_photos/lacorunacopy048.jpg (http://s279.photobucket.com/user/highandry_photos/media/lacorunacopy048.jpg.html)

These Downland photos were taken on the Hampshire -West Sussex border when I was moored down West and walked that area a lot.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk136/highandry_photos/lacorunacopy012-1.jpg (http://s279.photobucket.com/user/highandry_photos/media/lacorunacopy012-1.jpg.html)

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk136/highandry_photos/028.jpg (http://s279.photobucket.com/user/highandry_photos/media/028.jpg.html)

But when I'm home in the UK, I'm never far from the Downland..:D

11-08-2013, 01:16 PM
Oh this green and pleasant land that is England..........nice one saxonaxeT^

Shouldn't it be ' this yellow and pleasant land ' with all the rape thes days, Ken

11-08-2013, 01:36 PM
Wonderfull photographs and eloquent verse to accompany, you dont have to be a genius to see the passion you have for the Downs

12-08-2013, 08:06 AM
Although I love the quiet and solitude of the greenwood, the rolling Downland around my home is also very special to me...

Me too.
I live on the North Downs. Much as I love the woodland, there is nothing quite as enjoyable and relaxing and meaningful for me than a wander atop the Downs.
All those pictures of yours are just like here. I've seen and recognised them all. But the Kent side is better...