Monday, 1 April 2013

An Easter Break in West Sussex

Happy Easter

Back in January we were planning our time off work for the year and decided it was about time for another trip to West Sussex as it's been a couple of years since our last visit.  So we checked out the prices for Travelodge and decided to book a stay in Horsham for Easter from Weds-Sun.  We'd enjoyed our stay there before as the rooms are large and modern, the location is central to the places we want to visit and not as expensive as the coastal Travelodges.  Also there's free overnight parking only a short walk away (as long as you are out before 8am).

All the plans were in place and Easter was getting closer but then our daughter came down with shingles a few days before and our yellow lab Whisper got an eye ulcer and was having to have medication 3 times a day - so it started to not look very hopeful for our trip to go ahead and we decided maybe it was best to cancel.  After a few days our daughter was starting to feel much better and right up to Wednesday tea-time we were unsure whether to go ahead but our son was at home and he insisted we go promising to ring us straight away if we needed to come home and that he'd medicate Whisper and sister as required (hmm in a bit of a hurry to get rid of us, very suspicious!)  So after tea on Wednesday night we headed down to Horsham, arriving at our room around 11pm.
What are those strange yellow symbols for?

The forecast for Easter was for freezing cold temperatures but dry and some sunny spells.  Well it certainly was cold, up on the more exposed areas on the South Downs the wind was bitterly cold but the sun did put in an appearance a couple of times and we were treated to a couple of very nice sun rises and sunsets.
Sunset on Shoreham Beach
During our 4 day break we found many great caches and passed our 13,000th milestone!

13,000th Cache!
Here are the main series that we did:-

Wiston Wobble -

A series of 68 caches on approx 12 mile walk.  A really enjoyable walk, all caches were easy to find with good hints, the only downside of the series was a short section did involve walking along a very busy road but luckily this was only for part of the series and on the whole it was set on good paths and only quiet roads.

Sullington Heights -

A circular walk of just over 3 miles with 18 caches plus a bonus.  Quite a steep climb up to the top of Sullington Hill and then back down again.  Fab views to be had from the top, we can imagine they'd be even better on a clear day.

Findon Sheep Fair -

A 40 cache (plus a few others) circular walk of approx 10 miles which includes the Winsome Church Hill Series.  Another great walk on good paths, some road walking but all were quiet roads.  All caches were really straightforward with good hints.

Winsome Church Hill -

We did this one with the Findon Sheep Fair series so we did it as part of a 10 mile walk.

13 caches plus a couple of others.  On our way round the walk we met a man that was looking for his dog, he looked quite upset, we're not sure how long he'd been searching but he looked exhausted.  We kept our eye out on the rest of the walk for the brown spaniel but didn't see it.  A while later we'd repositioned the car a couple of miles away to do the series in Clapham Woods and when we returned to the car a woman called over to us asking if we'd lost our dog, she was holding a brown spaniel on a lead - she was waiting for someone to come and collect it as she'd found it!! We were so pleased to hear the dog had been found as it had been playing on my mind after we'd met the man - I know only too well that feeling when your dogs run off and you can't find it anywhere!  Not nice!  .... Anyway, we really enjoyed the walk, all on good paths with caches easy to find.

Clapham Woods -

18 caches plus a couple of others on a circular walk of approx. 3 miles. A pleasant walk, all caches were easy to find apart from #1 which seems to be missing and all paths were good and well marked.

Crazy Crossings around Crossbush -

We realised we'd found 84 caches today so another 16 would make a nice round 100 before tea.  Spotted this series of 16 and thought it looked ideal.  It was a bit further than we'd estimated by looking at memory map, we made it to be 4.3 miles but all caches were easy to find.  An enjoyable walk in the evening sunshine

This blue sky has not been photo-shopped!

D2D -

A series of 48 caches plus others on the way - set on a 10 mile circular walk.
The cache is there somewhere!

This one was probably our favourite of the trip, mainly for the views and places of interest along the way.  Although as we set off across the South Downs in the bleak cold wind we wondered if we'd made the right decision.  All the caches were easy to find and the paths were all good.

Henfield Hike -

A 16 caches series set on approx 4 miles.  An enjoyable walk in lovely countryside which involved walking through a deer park.  Unfortunately the series isn't very well maintained and we didn't realise until we'd set off that quite a few of the caches had had DNFs and nearly all the log books were in need of replacing as they were soaking wet.  A funny story......
When we got back to the car I took off my gaiters and walking boots and got into the car to change out of my muddy trousers before heading off to find somewhere to eat for tea. Guess what?  About two miles down the road I realised that I had left my boots, socks and gaiters in the car park! Luckily, they were still there when we got back Well... it's easily done: it must be; it's not the first time this has happened.... Unfortunately it's not the second time either.............

Walliswood Wander -

This was our last walk of our break and weather-wise was probably the best day.  Finally it felt like Spring.  A very pleasant walk through pretty woodland.  All caches were easy to find with good hints, apart from a couple of tricky ones along the way but that just helped keep things interesting.  Don't be put off by the cows they were safely behind a fence.  All the paths were good and well marked.

The area really is fabulous for caching.  All the walks we did were on good paths, none of them involved trudging through cowfields and any livestock we did come across was suitably fenced in.  A few of the paths we walked on were designated bridleways so were a little hard-going in places but nothing too serious, the scenery and views in the area are just stunning!  There are many Church Micro caches and we managed to find 12, lots of great old churches to visit in the area.

Buncton Chapel
Our favourite of the Church Micros we did was All Saints Church at Buncton.  A delightful little chapel that was accessed only by foot via a winding wooded path up a hill to a secluded building.

The only way you knew it was there was by the small sign on the roadside.

Shoreham beach at dusk

On the Thurs and Fri evenings, after tea, we went down to Shoreham and Lancing to do some of the excellent seafront caches along the promenade.  Really enjoyable walks along the promenade but at one point we realised we'd walked 2 miles in one direction so had a 2 mile walk back to the car!

My only complaint is that the time went too fast and before we knew it we were heading back home.......... hmm, hope everything is still in one piece.

STOP PRESS:  Daughter well on the mend now and Whisper has been back to the vets this morning and the vet is very pleased with her progress.... and house all in one piece!

Whisper on the mend

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