Having initially thought there would only be half a dozen of us on the walk, the final number turned out to be 17! 16 of us met at the Downslink car park and we met up with Roger F by Lashmars. Thought it would take too long to get 17 of us over the stile on the intended route, so we trotted along the fishermen’s path to the river. We had seen a roe deer dashing along by a hedge along Stonepit Lane, and saw another by the river. Hazel gave us some background information on the monastery we could see from Stonepit Lane, and then some legends about Chanctonbury Ring.
Not too much to be seen along the river, though we heard a couple of Tawny Owls calling, but for the 2nd year in a row (and only the 3rd time ever since we started doing these walks) no Barn Owl appeared, even though we know there was a brood at Great Betley. A new (temporary?) stile had appeared near the weir , presumably to stop the cattle getting out of the field, but it was a bit wobbly. It hadn’t been there on Thursday. Also a surprise were two substantial metal kissing gates installed along the riverbank – permanent or temporary because of the cattle?
At Betley Bridge we stopped for a while and Roger’s bat detector picked up Common Pipistrelles, and Hazel told the group more about glowworms and the Perseid meteor shower. The sky was much cloudier than the forecast had suggested which looked like bad news for Perseids, but fingers crossed for glowworms. Heading south, we picked up the first one, shining brightly by the side of the track, then another 4, all on the west side, and all pretty impressive, shining bright green in the darkness.
The sky had cleared slightly when we arrived by the seat where there is a more open view, with some stars visible. A couple of smaller meteors were seen by some, then an extremely bright one shot across to the south, bringing gasps of astonishment from all except Frankie – she was slightly further ahead and her view was obscured by a large bush. There’s always next year, Frankie!