Blog

A selection of articles about aspects of life, nature and the landscape of the Western Weald.

Western Weald Revealed

Western Weald Revealed

Did you know that the South Downs is the UK’s longest National Park? The South Downs Way winds its way along the chalk ridge for 100 miles between Winchester and Eastbourne. However, even removing all the twists and turns, it is still 75 miles as the crow flies from...

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The Walker Beneath The Cap

The Walker Beneath The Cap

My name is Malinka and I am Rural Strides. If you are a Rural Strider, or perhaps follow me on social media, you will know that I rarely go out walking without my Silverback baseball cap. Delve deep into my psychology and there will be a link to me being an introvert:...

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West Is Best

West Is Best

The rolling, open, hills and large skies of the South Downs calm and captivate the senses. The gentle chalk landscape and images of a bucolic way of rural life, seems the very essence of Englishness. Little wonder the Downs were the backdrop of the war-time poster...

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A Woody Western Weald

A Woody Western Weald

Kipling, Blake, and Woolf all helped the Eastern Downs become known as the fairest and most famous landscape of Southern England. However, not everyone shared this view. Others complained about their bare, nakedness, and compared them to “the limbs and shoulders of...

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Very Little In Life Is Free

Very Little In Life Is Free

Very little in life is free...... As we contend with the rising cost of living and grasping tentacles of government, never has this statement felt more true. However, we should not forget that many simple pleasures in life have no price tag. Precious moments with...

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Why Use A Walking Guide?

Why Use A Walking Guide?

Holiday makers roughly split into one of two camps: those who prefer the ease of buying off the shelf and those who like to be more independent. Although I’d put myself in the latter camp, I am not wholly self-sufficient. Money saved on planning and booking my own...

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A Foraging We Will Go

A Foraging We Will Go

Back in May, The Guardian ran a headline that read “Excessive foraging for wild garlic and mushrooms in UK ‘a risk to wildlife’”. The article spoke about nature’s larder, a finite resource, being depleted by forager’s taking too much, selling the goods commercially...

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Down To Earth

Down To Earth

If you thought these articles were only of value to walkers, then think again. While researching this piece about geology it occurred to me that the subject might also be of interest to scrabble players. My companion on this walk and talk was local geologist Maurice...

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Deer Frontier

Deer Frontier

Out on a walk recently with my dog Ruby around the Mardens, at the west end of the South Downs, we stumbled across a shoot. Whilst their target was pheasant, the sound of gunshot, ringing around the densely wooded hillside, clearly had an unnerving effect on the other...

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Smile, It’s A Stile

Smile, It’s A Stile

Now, let’s be honest, if you are out walking and come across a stile, but spy either a squeezable gap alongside or an easier route through a nearby gate, how relieved do you feel? I’m guessing most of us would be glad not to have to perform a public agility test....

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Walk The Line

Walk The Line

The Downs are an imposing natural barrier to the south of our area, so it is no surprise that for centuries local people have preferred to travel and trade along the flat, sandy soils of the Rother, between Petersfield and Pulborough rather than up and over the steep,...

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Pond Life

Pond Life

While walking the South Downs Way last year, I came across the much-photographed pond near Ditchling Beacon. With its lone tree, almost symmetrical shape and expansive view from high on the ridge, I too was compelled to take its photo. However, I was also drawn to...

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The Imprint Of History

The Imprint Of History

The Trundle above Chichester does views. 365 views over the city, the coastal plain and its numerous channels, Goodwood and the Lavant valley, the South Downs, Kingley Vale and even as far afield as Blackdown. I’ve been up there a couple of times on clear days to...

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Walk & Talk with The Ambling Path

Walk & Talk with The Ambling Path

Parenting is a tricky and tiring business. In pursuit of much needed respite, many of us will have been guilty of choosing screen time indoors over quality time outdoors on more than one occasion. Alarmingly, this has resulted in a survey recording that 75% of...

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Taking Action In The Countryside

Taking Action In The Countryside

I have a question for you. You are out on a walk, and encounter a broken stile, gate, or perhaps path obstructed by nettles or a fallen tree….what do you do? Mutter expletives, find an alternative route, try to get past as best you can, or report it online to either...

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The Art of Natural Navigation

The Art of Natural Navigation

When my children were primary age, they had a unit of enquiry at school about learning styles to decipher whether they were audio, visual, reading/writing or kinesthetic learners. At the time this seemed rather sophisticated for 6-year-olds. However, the more I...

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Guarding The Trees

Guarding The Trees

Since deciding to organise the first Petersfield Walking Festival, I have increasingly found my eyes drawn to potential blots on the landscape. Naturally, I would like the town to be looking its best when visitors arrive to enjoy a walk around the Western Weald....

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