Sunshine and wildlife on the SDW

Sunshine and wildlife. SDW walk and Bivi 7th, 8th. July


We walked through clouds of white butterflies which fluttered around us in their thousands, animating the still, hot, air.

Gaining height from the Amberley water meadows was one of those walks where proper hydration was vital.

For some in the group, it was a first time doing a walk and bivi so carrying enough water for two days was hard work. But it was a short walk and we arrived at the bivi site, a small deciduous wood, by mid-afternoon.

We quickly set up camp and relaxed and began to tune into our new environment. Large, brown, butterflies danced through the trees and as they passed through leaf-filtered sunshine they burst into colour. On the other side of the fence, thirsty sheep drank from a water trough.

I had been watching the weather forecast for days and felt safe to dispense with my tarp, which meant I could gaze up through the canopy at the bright sky.

In the stillness, I watched a fox walk by.

I had intended looking at the night sky from the comfort of my hammock but the gentle swaying rocked me to sleep well before it got dark.

We wanted an early start to be able to walk before it got too hot but we all slept too well..

Two of our group had been visited by a small deer during the night – a surprise for both parties.  

The second day seemed to pass quickly as we walked through the cool of woodlands. At Graffham Down we encountered a group of butterfly watchers and a large variety of the object of their attention.

All too soon our walk from Amberley to Cocking was over. A bus journey took us through lovely villages to Chichester station and the train back to Brighton.

I am looking forward to the next walk which will see us finish the South Downs Way.