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A winter walk around Lancing Ring; 10th February 2012
"The lost leaves measure our years; they are gone as the days are gone, and the bare branches silently speak of a new year, slowly advancing to its buds, its foliage, and fruit. Deciduous trees associate with human life as this yew never can. Clothed in its yellowish-green needles, its tarnished green, it knows no hope or sorrow; it is indifferent to winter, and does not look forward to summer. With their annual loss of leaves, and renewal, oak and elm and ash and beech seem to stand by us and to share our thoughts. There is no wind at the edge of the wood, and the few flakes of snow that fall from the overcast sky flutter as they drop, now one side higher and then the other, as the leaves did in the still hours of autumn .... " from January in the Sussex Woods, by Richard Jefferies more
The quotation above from Richard's brilliant writing is just about my favourite "nature writing"

I had then very much in mind as I set off this morning just before eight o'clock to take the short walk from my home to Lancing Ring.

Snow had begun falling the night before and although the gardens and roads locally only had a dusting, I knew that The Ring would have much more

The familiar view that the locals know so well becomes very special in the cold light of a winter morning.

Here we are looking east towards Brighton and East Sussex. The shafts of light from the low sun just about picks out the chimney at the Southwick power station

Back in the 1980's one of the routes chosen to be used for the A27 by-pass would have come up this valley and entered a cutting or a tunnel just to the left of the picture

A place beloved of local youngsters and youngsters who have grown old, this is the top of the "Chalk Pit"

In the days of yore there was no fencing but of course in our PC/H & S world we now have to have barriers to stop walkers falling down into the pit

That said there is quite a drop down!

The dewpond to the east of Lancing Ring

Wikipedia tells us that

"A dew pond is an artificial pond usually sited on the top of a hill, intended for watering livestock. Dew ponds are used in areas where a natural supply of surface water may not be readily available. The name dew pond (sometimes cloud pond or mist pond) is first found in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society in 1865. Despite the name, their primary source of water is believed to be rainfall rather than dew or mist.

This dewpond was created by locals back in the 1990's and looks rather lovely in its winter coat

The dewpond is thick with ice this morning

I was tempted to climb over the fence to test how thick the ice was but decided not to, footsteps in the snow there and broken ice would have spoiled the scene for other walkers

The pathway to the north of The Ring

Steepdown in the distant centre and Chanctonbury a very distant far right

A couple of hundred yards away from this spot lies the site of a Roman Temple

How cold those Roman celebrants would have felt on cold mornings such as this one!


On the western slopes of The Ring

Beneath the shelter of the hill is Hillbarn Estate in Sompting and further southwards the sea and Worthing


"Some flakes of snow have remained on this bough of spruce, pure white on dull green. Sparingly dispersed, the snow can be seen falling far ahead between the trunks; indeed, the white dots appear to increase the distance the eye can penetrate; it sees farther because there is something to catch the glance. Nothing seems left for food in the woods for bird or animal. Some ivy berries and black privet berries remain, a few haws may be found; for the rest, it is gone .. "   from January in the Sussex Woods, by Richard Jefferies more
The mist clears and the sky frames the beautiful Lancing Ring




Walter Besant wrote of his reaction on first reading Jefferies: "Why, we must have been blind all our lives; here were the most wonderful things possible going on under our very noses, but we saw them not."

More about Richard Jefferies
The Friends of Lancing Ring
page created 10/02/12