Last weekend i managed to get out for a overnighter down on Ashdown forest. I arrived in the small village of Ashurst at midday and picked up the wealdway trail out of the village.Within minutes i was sitting down enjoying the wonderful sunshine and watching a Buzzard perform a mating flight over a strip of woodland.It seems that the Buzzard is making a come back in the south east,for years none have been seen but i’ve now seen buzzards 2 years in a row and i was to see more later in the day.Daffodils were out every where nodding there heads in the gentle breeze.I soon dropped into the Medway valley and followed the river for a few miles.There has been a lot of conservation work done in this area to regenerate the medway river’s flood plain and to encourage otters make to the south east.A new flood plain woodland had been planted with Black alder,willow,bird cherry and has been left to allow wildlife to repopulate it.I think sometime soon ill be walking the length of the river medway.Anyway from the medway valley i turned south and started to climb out of the valley towards Ashdown forest.Whilst crossing over the flood plain towards the village of Withyham i saw two more Buzzards as well a small group of greylag geese,Geese use the medway river valley to refuel on the there migration route.I stopped for a quick pint in the small village of Withyham and then had a slow wander to meet my friend who was traveling down from London.We had arranged to meet in the Half moon pub on the edge of the forest.Another pint was had and then we headed up on to the forest to set up camp for the night.There were so many deer about has we headed towards out favorite camp spot.A great night was had under the tarps and the next day dawned cloudy but after a leisurely breakfast the sun was breaking through and i decided to walk back to East Grinstead whilst my friend returned to London by car[he had hurt his back during the week].
I’am going to break from the trip to talk kit for a bit.I was using the Bushbudy Ultra for the first time and found it to be perfect for the way i camp.I did carry a back up stove,the white box alcohol stove.It was great to wake in the morning and spark up the bushbuddy and get a pot of water boiling and then just leave it on the stove so that we could have as many cups of coffee has we liked with out having to worry about fuel.I think the pocket rocket is well and truely retired now and the bushbuddy will be my stove of choice for many years to come.I was also using a icebreaker atlas 150g short sleeve base layer top which perfect.i think ill look at getting another merino wool top.I had also done a bit of work on my tibetan 900 pot.For ages now i have wanted to try out hanging a pot over a small fire so with a bit of wire i had rigged up a handle for my pot and with a small well looked after fire i managed to rig up a Ray Mears style pot hanger over the fire.
Anway back to the walk.Sunday like i said turned into a great day so i parted company with Andy and headed for Hartfield and back over the Medway river.A quick stop for eleven’s by the river and then i was back walking through the wonderful sussex farmland surrounded by daffodils,wood anemone and the sound of birdsong
I was back in East Grinstead by 2pm and stopped in to see my parents.All in all a great weekend out walking,bring on the next one.
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