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Southern Regional Ramble – Downs Link Section 2 – from Partridge Green, nr Horsham, West Sussex
A dry, but dull, start from an Industrial Estate in Partridge Green in West Sussex. We had kindly been given permission to use one of the business’s car park for the day, people are surprisingly co-operative when you phone up and ask if you can use their premises, there is a lot of good will about and it’s always appreciated. We had 7 scoots and 1 walker and 2 dogs for the day, and very pleased to welcome new member Simon, his wife and their little dog, Holly. Much to our astonishment Simon arrived in an SUV and out of it came a Tramper TWS! Specially adapted with fold down handlebars and a special lightweight seat so that it would go in, Beamer worked their magic for Simon so he could keep his much loved car. We were amazed and impressed, to say the least. The Downs Link is a disused railway that runs for 37+ miles from Shoreham in West Sussex to Martha’s Hill in Surrey, it is very varied and with some superb scenery on all the different Sections. This was Section No. 2 and passed through lovely open countryside, much of it was wetlands and brooks with all the appropriate birdlife. A flock of Widgeon rose from one of the lakes pursued by a bird of prey, Roger our resident bird expert thought it was a peregrine falcon, it was a lovely sight although they were some distance away. There was also some enclosed “tunnel” like parts, and even a little road work through the little village of Henfield. A very suitable route for the winter as it is mainly flat and on a good track. It is a linear route, ie “there and back”, but personally, I never mind that as it all looks so different when returning and you see lots of things you may have missed on the way. En route we passed a gun pill box from WW2, still in good repair but without it’s gun! It is a popular route with cyclists in their lycra and all day we were pulling over and what a good natured lot they were, without exception. Very polite and cheery. Sadly, we had a puncture, we tried pumping it up with no luck so Roger, who is one of the most experienced ramblers and spends his life on the South Downs covered in mud, opted to ride it home as was and we got back without further incident and it had all stayed intact, just flat! We kept a close eye on it and it wasn’t coming off the rim or anything equally awful. Added to that, David (our Leader) had trouble with his battery – it was flashing practically all the way back but again but with a bit of a help up one hill he made it safely back to base. All adds to the excitement. A very good day, not too cold, no rain and plenty of good company – a lovely way to spend a February day and to know that not too far away Spring is just round the corner and before long all the wild flowers will be making an appearance once more. Many thanks for all those who came along and made it so enjoyable, and to David for all his research into this project and who led this ramble on behalf of DR.