For photos of previous years, please see the Menu on the left.

2018 Stanmer Park, Brighton

Stanmer Park, nr Brighton - 20th April 2018 This is our second visit to Stanmer Park estate which covers 5000 acres with a pretty village, manor house, farm, church and cafe and is on the outskirts of Brighton next to the campus of the University of Sussex It is a very beautiful park and has very many varied paths through the woods and downland that formed the basis of our ramble today. From the car park we proceeded up a steep hill to the trail that leads all round the estate, we did a reccy last week and could only get halfway round as the mud and puddles were so deep and thick, but luckily we found another route which led us up a quite bumpy and furrowed track which needed a bit of care to negotiate but was through lovely hedgerows and fields back into the woods where we had our lunch. The woodland scene was really springlike with leaves just starting to show on the trees and with bluebells, anemones, forget me nots, violets, cowslips and other early spring flowers along the way. So we had a steep grassy hill, nice flat trail, down a tarmac estate road (but very quiet - never see any cars but of course, today we saw 2), then onto a quite challenging and rough track - had to keep them awake somehow! - then into quiet woods for lunch. Coming out of the woods you look down onto the parkland of the estate before going downhill to the exit gate. We then went up to the village to get a well earned cuppa and ice-creams at the cafe before trekking back to the car park. Our contact, Will, at Stanmer Park had very kindly reserved one whole car parking area for us for the day - this is usually crammed with students cars and it never ceases to amaze me how helpful all the different authorities that we request help from are. Very grateful. So, this was the last ramble of the first Tour of 2018 and very enjoyable too, many thanks to Bernard and Judy - they work extremely hard to enable the loan scooters to be used by DR members and like Bob and I made sure we were there very early so that everything ran very smoothly. Alarm set for 5.45 every morning! Now for a rest!!! Val.

2018 Jack & Jill Windmills to Ditchling Beacon

Jack & Jill to Ditchling Beacon via The Chattri. - 19th April 2018 This is a jewel of a ramble, one of those that sticks in your memory for ever. We had the hottest day in the UK for 70 years, a week before at the reccy it was mist, thick mud and deep puddles but today it had dried up completely and instead it was rather hard en route, but you can’t have everything. We started off going through a farmyard onto a steep downhill track with lots of loose large flints littered over the ground which needed careful negotiating, and then on to little bridle paths meandering through the South Downs and over and round freshly ploughed fields, it’s like another world - just beautiful scenery everywhere you look, as you can see from the photos. It was quite a challenging ramble and the sun had baked the mud making it the soil very hard. We managed to find some shade to have our coffee break before proceeding to The Chattri, a memorial erected in memory of the Indian soldiers who were hospitalised in the Royal Pavilion in Brighton after the 1914-18 war. This lovely memorial was erected on the cremation site of these soldiers and the word “chattri” means “umbrella” in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu symbolising the protection offered in their memory, it is in a very peaceful and tranquil setting. This was our lunch stop, earlier than planned, but there was shade which was very precious so we made the most of it. On our way back up to the main track along the South Downs Way to get to Ditchling Beacon, we passed a tractor ploughing with flocks of seagulls, difficult to capture on a photo, but it gives an idea of the effect. We also saw hares, kestrels, lots of sheep and their new lambs around a dew pond, and highlight of the day for me and Sue G was a Yellowhammer just hopping about on the ground near some gorse bushes, really lovely. It is difficult to describe the beauty of this part of the South Downs but we want to go back and do it again this summer, it is a new route for us and the Ranger, Andy, who came with us is going to put work into motion to improve another track along the route so we can do another loop and so make another new ramble. A super day - so glad the mud dried up though! Thanks must go to Lucy for suggesting Jack & Jill to Ditchling Beacon which we were then able to enlarge to incorporate this beautiful route to The Chattri, and many thanks to all who came, and as ever the volunteers and walkers who help along the way. Val.

2018 Southwater Country Park to Chesworth Farm, Horsham

Southwater CP to Chesworth Farm - 17th April 2018 Well, this was “the ramble that wasn’t but became something else instead”. Lovely day again and we set off from Southwater CP to follow this nice ramble through the byways and paths around the market town of Horsham. Our route led us through a particularly lovely old wood with bluebells, forget me nots, milkmaids, carpets of white anemones, celandines and wild garlic all coming out and at the end of this wood was the path we needed but unfortunately, due to the heavy rain this had become so eroded that it was not possible to continue as it had become a deep chasm, so David - our Leader, devised a different approach and we all turned round and set off towards Chesworth Farm. Unhappily, this was not to be as one of our group had battery problems due to a charging mishap, so in the end we decided to go back to the Country Park and have lunch and then explore around the lake there which has swans and other waterfowl on it. Luckily, we had a spare loan scooter which came in useful for our member with the depleted battery. Due to David working with the Wardens at the CP a lot has been done to improve access through the park and we had a good wander round after a restful lunch at the cafe. Still a good day with lovely weather and thanks once more to David for leading, and our volunteers who worked so hard through the day with road crossings etc. and towing the trailer, we’d be lost without them. Val.

2018 Downs Link - Shoreham to Bramber

Shoreham to Bramber - 16th April 2018 Our first ramble of 2018 and we were so lucky that the weather for the whole week is forecast as being really spring-like and fine. Phew! We were pleased to welcome three new members and it was great to see Nomi out again after health problems over the last few years. Parking for this ramble is particularly difficult so we were lucky to get a whole layby allotted to us opposite the landing field of Shoreham Airport. We then progressed over the old Tollbridge, where there is a temporary memorial to those who perished in the terrible Hawker Hunter aircrash of 2015 a permanent and beautiful memorial is going to be erected in the near future. Rather alarmingly, workman had put barriers up as the centre of the bridge had subsided and left just enough room for us to pass through either side - they said the high tide had washed away the bank underneath leaving a huge and deep hole. The scenery on this ramble is very lovely and on our left as we went along the Downs Link path is the haunting and Gothic looking Lancing College which always looks very eerie especially if it’s misty. Also, there are farmsteads with the typical Sussex buildings and an old Norman church in the distance. All the Spring flowers are starting to come out, celandines, milkmaids, some bluebells starting to show and lots of lambs. Arriving at the pretty village of Bramber we had our lunch stop, and our first ice cream of the year! The ruin of Bramber Castle looks over the village but the hill up to the ruins is very steep and “camber-y” and not really easily accessible for our scooters, or only for the very brave, so we didn’t take the risk. After lunch - homeward bound on a slightly different route and along the banks of the River Adur, rather bumpy for those on the top path, moderately bumpy on the bottom path but with the risk of deep mud, luckily the wind and sun had dried it up very well. This ramble was almost 9 miles but is a really super route and one of my favourites, as well as not presenting too many difficulties and the scenery is just great. Thanks to all for coming, many thanks to David for leading, and here’s to a very successful season of Disabled Ramblers treks through the beautiful countryside of the UK. Val.

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