Saturday, 26 April 2008

Romney Marsh and Southdown

Romney Marsh and Southdown are breeds of sheep, so it's no surprise that on a return trip to Sussex via the Marsh and the South Downs I saw many sheep and lambs. They (and the North Downs of course) are the loveliest places when the spring sun shines, as it did today.On the walk over the marsh, Reed Warblers called from the dykes, Wheatears and Skylarks hopped over the turf, Swallows and House Martins hawked insects overhead and Whimbrels flew to their beach roost. At Castle Water hide, Common Terns were flying over the lake while Sedge Warblers called in the nearby bushes. Note - that wouldn't be an Arctic Tern would it, or is it just a trick of the light?

A lovely walk beneath the heights of Beachy Head to Cow Gap showed, alas, no butterflies or orchids yet, but when I got to the most exposed cliff-edge I sat to enjoy the presence of a female Wheatear. I looked down and saw the tiny early buds of Milkwort........and later glimpsed a mauve variant of the plant.

First sight of Birds-Foot Trefoil.

There are so many Cowslips now, both on the downs and at the road-sides. It's good to see the recovery of this once-declining species, but it's been achieved by man, by improving farming practices and by sowing seeds.
Common Whitethroat, quickly a common sight and sound in the hedgerows after a week's arrivals.

Back over the Marsh, I found the solitary Fairfield Church, in the middle of nowhere, with only sheep, swans and skylarks for a congregation.
The interior looks simple, with unusual painted pews, and marvellous roof beams.

Mint sauce!


Steve said...

Great post steve - really interesting and some nice pictures

Mary said...

What a very "English" post today with the castle, the church, and the sheep and lambs :-) Lovely all of it and it would be wonderful to be walking there. The wildflowers are beautiful and the lambs too cute to be thinking about mint sauce! What castle is that?

Kingsdowner said...

Thanks for the comments.
Mary, Rye is a lovely town - very English.
The castle is Camber, built by Henry VIII but now just a pile of rubble. The old adage about building on rock, not sand, comes to mind!