LOWDOWN Summer 2017 page 28
✏ JEAN & DUSTY’S WALK & PICNIC
BUTCHERSHOLE CAR PARK ☆ FRISTON FOREST
21st May 2017
This venue is just a few minutes from our home, so is a frequent walk for Pablo and Nico - who know the route through the beech wood and the open gallop areas like the back of their paws.
We had been a little anxious in the days before the walk that rain may interfere with the planned picnic, but it turned out to be wonderfully sunny and warm.
Unfortunately poor Jean was not quite fit enough to join us, but she was certainly in our thoughts and with us in spirit.
Elaine and Chris, and Sue and Terry, arrived in their mobile homes (the Sampsons with their lovely, brand-new vehicle) and had spent the previous night at Birling Gap, just a couple of miles from the venue. We commandeered the picnic area with camping chairs and, when everyone was thought to have arrived, we started the walk proper.
This involved a steady climb through the trees which leads to a vast open area known as ‘The Gallops’. At the nearby village of Jevington there are several racehorse stables and it is here that they get exercised, normally very early each morning.
(Incidentally, Jevington is the birthplace of the pudding Banoffee Pie which was devised at the restaurant of the now defunct Hungry Monk.)
As we left the shade of the trees it was soon evident just how hot the day was; and we took advantage of taking a short rest when we reached the highest part of ‘The Gallops’.
The Downland landscape from this vantage point looked fantastic in the sunlight. We crossed along the top of the area before re-entering the cool of the wood. Most of the rest of walk was through treelined pathways and was taken at a relatively sedate pace. Later, only the prospect of getting closer to the car park and lunch quickened us. Upon our return, Jill began setting out a lovely selection of food which made up this communal picnic. For the next hour or so we sat around in the clearing enjoying lunch and the great company.