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Published: January 4th 2020
Welcome to 2020, happy New Year and back out into the wild for us!
This time it’s a journey out in the Bongo into the South Downs and to Wakehurst, the sister gardens of Kew Gardens in London which we went to last year and really enjoyed, well recommended if you’ve not been.
What and where is Wakehurst Place..? It’s in West Sussex and is a nice drive from Shoreham by Sea, about 30 minutes through lots of small villages such as Ditchling which has a great pub/restaurant called the Bull, well worth a visit with great food and an open fire.
Just past the Bluebell railway, we arrive at Wakehurst Place and get parked up and into our walking boots, apparently, it’s dirt tracks and woodland marshes…
On getting our tickets, we are told that it's free to get in for National Trust members, sweet, just have to pay for the parking, great start to the day!
On entering, there are lots of tracks and
paths available, right is the Millennium Seed bank and left is towards the woods. We take the wide route to the left, leaving the Millennium Seed bank till last and getting coffee'd up at the café!
We head on out towards the Himalayan Glade for some ideas for our garden, it’s probably a bit too large and established for our garden at home… maybe if we win the lottery.
It’s a bit of a walk and we take a few turns left and right before getting to the rock wall, it's a bit like the Lickey Hills around here, lots of ferns and huge rocks, broken up by small streams intersecting through-out, it's like been back home in the Midlands but you have to pay to get in!
Next we make our way into Horsebridge Wood, full of North American trees and plants and huge redwoods down by the bottom of the 500 acre estate, really beautiful and no one around at this side of the park. It's a crisp wintery day and the sun is low in the sky, creating light traps through the canopy.
There's a brook running through this part of the estate and it's clearly been overflowing with all the rainfall in December and into 2020.
Horsebridge wood becomes Coates woodland, this time it’s tree and plants from Australasia and South America, surprisingly piney but smaller pines than the European trees.
A few random turns we arrive at the Westwood Valley and the Wetlands, walking over boardwalks and what looks like what I imagine Canada to look like with maple trees and huge pines. On the Canada note, we come across a path with totem poles with bears, racoons and crocodiles on them, very cool!
It's onto Pinetum woods is a beautiful, if a bit boggy underfoot, woodland on the return leg of the brown trail heading towards the millennium seed bank. We see lots of pheasants and birds around this area, it's very slippy as it gets steeper around this bit!
The Millennium bank is an impressive research endeavour as well as a store for seeds at risk from disease, changing climate and human overdevelopment. The site is 100% self-powered and carbon neutral,
Pretty shattered as a big walk, we head back to the bongo to flip shoes and head on home before we lose the light.
A great day out and we’ll be back as we didn’t manage to do the house or some of the other walks on site.
Steps: 20’000, 9 miles-ish!
Tot: 1.849s; Tpl: 0.045s; cc: 15; qc: 59; dbt: 0.0321s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb