LOWDOWN Summer 2015 page 13
✏ BROADSTONE CAR PARK WALK☆ Ashdown Forest:
22nd February 2015 ✍ Tony Roberts
We arrived at the car park on a rather cold morning, with a soft, watery, spring sun filtering through the trees. Jean couldn’t make this outing as she was nursing Cass who was still recovering from his back injury.
The car park soon filled with twenty-four noisy hounds eager to set off on their walk. This involved descending a rather steep and rutted track which led to a small stream. This was easily traversed by the group. As we climbed up the track on the other side we came across other walkers who had heard the hounds and remarked upon their deep voices, which apparently had carried far across the Forest. One gentleman I met - tweeded, flat-capped, and red-faced - enquired as to what we were hunting.
He seemed quite crest-fallen when told of our lawful, benign purpose and he pointed out, almost by way of encouragement, where he had just spotted a grazing herd of deer. I said that I would keep an eye out for them, which seemed a suitably ambiguous reply in the circumstances.
Derek, with whom I walked for part of the climb, was still recovering from a bad chesty cold and so we took advantage of resting awhile on a handy bench when we reached the summit. From here we could wait for the slower pack members to make the climb as well as taking in some spectacular views of the Sussex Weald.
After everyone had a short rest, we continued, turning right and going through a small copse to make a further climb towards the distant car park.
I could see, even through my own asthmatic haze, that Derek was finding this all a bit hard going and I was mentally assessing, should he require it, just how we return him to the car park. I imagine that if we strapped him across the backs of a raft of eight Bassets, that would do the trick. Though, one would have to feel sorry for the poor hounds!
Luckily, this wasn’t required, and though looking a bit whacked, Derek and the rest of the party completed this walk back safely and I am sure felt all the better for it.