Eight miles around Balcombe and Ardingly Reservoir

16th May is a while back now, but on that sunny day Steve and I caught a train to Balcombe to walk through some Wealden countryside, past a rocky outcrop, underneath a railway viaduct, alongside a big flooded valley reservoir and into Balcombe for a pint before training back to Brighton.

25 feet high outcrop, and fallen tree.

25 feet high outcrop, and fallen tree.

This fine rocky outcrop appeared in a wood, where a huge beech tree had fallen from its top.  Sometime later a chaffinch on a wire sang for us, then dropped to within 2 feet of the ground just in front of us, before soaring up onto a branch, where it posed for me to photograph.  As I pressed the shutter and thanked the bird it flew off – its daily kindness accomplished.

Posing chaffinch

Posing chaffinch

Soon the Balcombe viaduct appeared, complete with train.

What a glorious viaduct just south of Balcombe

What a glorious viaduct just south of Balcombe

After a long (too long) period of walking on a minor but very busy road – regularly leaping up onto a steep bank to avoid death – we found another path and this plastic tree (slightly obscured by a real one).

Mock conifer with some sort of white tube aerial near top

Mock conifer with some sort of white tube aerial near top

After a long walk around much of Ardingly reservoir we climbed a steep track and got into Balcombe village to find a polar dial in memory of a long-serving doctor, before getting a pint or two,

Polar dial in the middle of Balcombe, erected in memory of a local doctor.

Polar dial in the middle of Balcombe, erected in memory of a local doctor.

and struggling with delayed trains, getting back to Brighton by first taking a train north to Three Bridges where a better selection of Brighton trains is available (a young man heading for Haywards Heath told us of this unadvertised ruse, which got us home over an hour quicker than the advertised trains).

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