Hellingly

I went for a walk last week. Ever since I took early retirement from work last year it has been my intention to get fitter. For someone who spends at least four hours a day looking after our assorted animals, it may not make much sense, but although the work we do is tiring, it’s only good for wearing out knees and creating bad backs. Anyway, I need to get out of the house more and with my new lens to play with, I had a good excuse.

I’ve been collecting short circular walks for the past few weeks and squirreling them away in OneNote. It seemed wise to start with a few short walks of two or three miles and then build up gradually. There is one based around Winnie the Pooh that I am keen to do. It visits Pooh Bridge, explores the Hundred Acre Wood and even shows you Eeyore’s Gloomy Place. Unfortunately the walk is nearly six miles and it may have to wait until the autumn at least. With a fixed ankle, I don’t do too badly, but I need to take my time and joining a rambler’s club is out of the question. Even though my first walk around the little village of Hellingly was only marked as two miles, it took me over three and a half hours to get back to the car.

It all started so well. I parked up and the directions seemed clear. The first half couldn’t have been easier as it used the Cuckoo Trail, a fourteen mile footpath and cycleway which follows the route of a disused railway line. The path was well-managed and for once I found myself stepping out briskly. The thought crossed my mind that I would be finished and back home in no time at all. Although it was a pleasant stretch, there were no views as the path was lower than the surrounding countryside. Once I reached the half-way point, I took a stile across several fields, which almost doubled back on the way I had come. There was more air, which was good because the sun had decided to put in an appearance and I was starting to get hot and bothered. The lumpy fields didn’t help either, so I was pleased when I came across a long hedge that was covered in an assortment of butterflies.

Out came my new lens and I must have spent the next half hour flitting up and down after them. My favourite photograph was of a beautiful orange and brown Comma, which can be seen as the featured image above. I’ve never seen one before and it was a treat to get up so close. Time was getting on though, so I packed up and continued past some farm buildings and back into the village.

Not far from the end of the walk, I spotted a small field, hidden from the road and full of thistles. Even though I was totally exhausted, I couldn’t resist following the narrow footpath to look for more butterflies and I wasn’t disappointed. In the end I spent over an hour there, but I found some friendly Small Tortoiseshells and bees that can be seen below.

Small Tortoiseshell2

Small Tortoiseshell3

Bee on Thistle

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