Having been cursed with atrocious weather every time we’ve attempted a Clarion trip recently, we are trying again on March 10th, by when we hope conditions will be Spring like. Catching the 10.15am FCC from Btn & reaching Hassocks at 10.24, we hope to make a prompt start for Woods Mill Nature Reserve, where we stop for refreshment in their picnic area. Woods Mill does not provide any refreshment itself, so we shall have to bring our own, but they do offer all manner of Springtime nature; – water shrew, snipe, green sandpipers, little egrets, barn owls, toads, wrens bistorts, carp, great crested newts water rails [?] Last Monday we saw butterflies & heard glorious bird-song. There is a short little paved walk we can do or merely rest in the relative tranquillity & green shade.
We have to backtrack a mile or so after this to reach Blackstone Lane but Woods Mill is worth the trip [I think], being the HQ of Sussex Wildlife Trusts. Saw lovely little miniature pony in Blackstone Lane & even Mick let me stop & photograph it. Unfortunately I didn’t have any food for it, in spite of it begging fetchingly, so will try to remember an apple this time. After the long lane we come to Fulking & are near the Shepherd & Dog but, since it is Mothers Day they won’t have room for us till 2.30pm so we will progress a little further to The Royal Oak which will take us at 2pm in their new upstairs dining room. They are recommended in the Les Routiers Guide & do super food. Soup is a bit dear at £6 but it is worth it, as a real treat & there are sharing plates & loads of interesting & delicious food on offer. Please let us know if you want to come on the ride as Mothers Day is one of the busiest of the year & the pub needs to know ASAP. 694484.
Next highlight is Newtimber Place where we can have a peep at the house & grounds. It has an Open Garden on April 10th, but there is a Clarion Ride to Chichester then, so you won’t be able to go then. After the house we cross into a wood which was filled with snowdrops when we went & hope it still is. If we need any more refreshment after that we can stop at Washbrook Farm for tea & cake, chickens, geese & golden grouse.
Trains back at 16.06, 16.15, 16.34 & 16.45, which seems very good for Hassocks on a Sunday. I’ll put my photos of the snowdrop wood & Woods Mill on Flickr site. Click here for the Royal Oak site.
Meet at 10 00 for 10 15 at Brighton station or at 10 24 at Hassocks station. Trains for return at 16 06, 16 15, 16 34, 16 45.