Striding Out

Our journey starts at Litlington, a route that’s neatly mapped,
On paths and trails and bridleways by fields and rivers wrapped.
The distance is about four miles but maybe nearer five,
Taken at an easy pace where all the walkers thrive.

We drop behind the Plough and Harrow turning left in single file,
To find the path just by the bridge and over our first stile.
Up above the sun burns bright although there’s cloud around,
Beneath our feet the insects run and head for safer ground.

At High and Over below the hill carved into the chalk,
Trots a white horse going nowhere which dominates the talk.
So who could have dug it and what was their aim?
Apparently three men in the twenties who were looking for fame!

As we amble by the Cuckmere gently flowing to the sea,
A heron’s spotted in the reed bed fishing for his tea.
Further on four boys in kayaks float on swiftly by,
Their paddles skirting on the water like a dragonfly.

The halfway point hoves into view and soon a turning makes,
But first it’s tea at the Country Park accompanied some cakes.
Revived, refreshed then onward go along the wooded glade,
It’s cooler here, striding out, among the dappled shade.

By the clearing comes West Dean replete with village pond,
A lovely place with green phone box but we must go beyond.
So up and on through the forest along the South Downs Way,
Looking for the rough hewn steps cut in the chalk and clay.

Walking now beside the meadow sheltered from the wind,
Then stepping in to open grassland our shoulders back are pinned.
Dodging cowpats on the pathway ‘last one close the gate,’
Lambs are gambolling round their mothers’ unconscious of their fate.

Almost home we pass by farmland containing fields of wheat
That bow and bend on sun drenched breezes in the summer heat.
Down the hillside horses grazing, idly flicking tails,
There goes the farmer on his hayride making up the bales.

On the lane now to the car park, gravel crunching under feet,
Make a detour to the tea rooms to savour one last treat.
Sat around we smack our lips as tales are told in jest,
Waiting for the Sussex scones while we ramblers take our rest.

Roger Lee