Henfield to Partridge Green along the Downs Link

The 10am bus to Henfield and a walk through and out of the town to a very still and misty river valley.  Wide fields filled with still, smooth water which looked higher than the Adur, roiling and swirling at every bend.  One of the drier fields had a mass of geese all nibbling at the grass and seemingly all walking in planned and purposeful southerly direction.  Every few seconds one would stop and look up, stretching its neck for a better view of the neighbourhood.  At those moments I stayed still beside the hole in the hedge where I was watching – the last thing I wanted to do was be responsible for sending several hundred geese into an unnecessary panic flight, the guilt would have spoilt my lunch.

Beyond the geese, beside another flooded field I heard curlews.  Just the right sound for a still, calm and misty day.

After the river there is an open field to cross, and I was passed by well over 50 swallows flying alternately low over the pasture and higher over my head, constantly flitting off to one side or another to snatch an insect.

As I left the old railway and joined the road into Partridge Green I caught the scent of the Dark Star brewery either sparging or boiling its wort – delicious, and the pub only 100 yards away.  Enjoyed Darkness, a black fully flavoured beer off low alcohol content (3.5%) and Hylder Blonde, a very pale beer, not very hoppy but having a floral hint of elderflower (4.2%).  After Graham had gone for his homeward bus I had just enough time for a half of Green Hopped IPA, a very hoppy strong pale ale made with those perfumed US hops, then boosted with fresh green hops whilst conditioning in cask, for that extra hoppiness Dark Star favour.

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