- Date: 22 November 2023
- Distance: 9 miles
- Start: 10:00 at South Meadow CP GR: SU696164
- Leaders: Chris and Martin
Finally Petersfield Ramblers enjoy a dry walk in November
After weeks of wet, cancelled or squelchy walks 18 Ramblers at last gathered in Clanfield – with a dry (if cold) weather forecast – to enjoy a walk without rainwear and wet feet. Unusually the jaunt was led by Pickle – our 4-legged mascot – who executed his responsibilities with remarkable diligence!
It is always tricky to set a walking pace that suits everyone – some like slower, some like faster – but Pickle succeeded in maintaining a speed which satisfied everyone. Quite a notable achievement!
The first segment of the walk took us in a huge loop – across grass, round fields, through woods and along tracks – until we reached the Rising Sun Inn where we stopped for coffee. In truth no one took a great deal of notice of the route as this was our first opportunity in too long to have a good chat. Thankfully Pickle wasn’t side-tracked by all this conversation, staying focused on leading the group. Until that is, he heard pheasants in the undergrowth which proved a major distraction!
On leaving the pub we admired the impressive bells on St James church opposite. Passing Clanfield Junior School, the scout hut and a very striking olive tree outside someone’s house, two dog-themed signs made us chuckle:
The autumn colours were glorious – both in gardens and along the hedgerows – as we made our way through woodland to the South Downs Way. For the third time we passed tractors with massive cutters pruning back the hedgerows, the farmers politely halting operations until we had safely passed.
The views to our right – across the Downs behind Butser Hill – were lovely with rolling landscapes punctuated by stately oaks. Two eagle-eyed Ramblers spotted a caulifower fungi which they harvested for supper, assuring those of us less well informed that it was perfectly safe to eat. Too many of us have watched Midsomer Murders to feel quite so confident!
Stopping at the Sustainability Centre for lunch, we enjoyed slices of their delicious (reasonably priced) cakes, alongside lunches from our rucksacks. Revitalised we strolled through the tranquility of the South Downs Natural Burial Site, marvelling at the effort required to dig graves in solid chalk.
As we entered our tenth and final mile, some people were starting to tire. Pickle continued to take his duties seriously, looking behind to check whether walkers were keeping up and adjusting the pace accordingly!
Our thanks to Pickle – and Chris and Martin, of course – for such a lovely walk. We look forward to more.
Author and Photographer: Sandy Arpino