|The SBP route|
|Parked up in Friday Street and ready to start|
|The Royal Oak|
|Ponds in adjacent field|
|Jazz struggles in vain to squeeze through a stile|
|Fylls Brook on Rusper Road|
|Derelict barn at Ridge Farm|
|Heading west towards the railway crossing|
|Waymarker on rotten fence post|
|Bonnetts Farm House|
|Looking north over the reed fringed pond|
|Contented heifers munch on their hay|
|Fir trees adjacent to Smugglers Lane (bridlepath)|
|The junction of Smugglers lane with Weare Street|
|Paynes Green cottages|
|Lunch spot in Rowland Wood|
|At the boundary with the A29|
|The bridleway leading west from the A29 crossing|
|Haybarn at Monks Farm|
|Forest management in the Honeywood Estate|
|No time to stop for a rest if we want to finish this walk in the daylight!|
|Part of Honeywood House|
|Reaching Rowhook Road, that completes SBP for today|
- The bridleway up Honey Lane was very wet – at one point we were confronted by a completely flooded gate, and the only option was to edge round the side, and climb through the fence. The picture does not show it, but nearer to the gate, the water appeared to be at least a foot deep.
|Flooded bridleway, Honey Lane|
- My route took me back to Monks Farm, visited on the outward route, but never quite converging with the SBP. I got my navigational knickers in a bit of a twist here and twice had to rely on GPS to stop me going the wrong way (rubbish map reading!).
|"Excuse me, can you direct me to the footpath?"|
- At Dawes Farm (I think) we were greeted by a couple of very large snarling dogs in a garden that didn’t appear to be fenced very adequately. I was also perturbed to see that the front gates were open, and felt sure that they would rush out and kill us all. However, I guessed (correctly) that they were wearing some kind of electric collar that zaps them if they cross their boundary, and indeed one of them got a bit close to the gateway and yelped loudly. I don’t have a photo of the slavering beasts due to my unease and wish to hurry past.
|Willow and pond at Dawes Farm (much more serene than the ferocious dogs!)|
- After crossing the A29, I had to get the dogs over a difficult stile from a verge about 1 foot wide. The evening rush hour had already started and the traffic was whizzing past my back at about 50 mph which was very scary and dangerous. Having negotiated the stile we had to cross a recently ploughed field. Fortunately the farmer had partially reinstated the path using his tractor, but it was still a bit tricky to walk on.
|Poppy contemplates the partially reinstated path across the plough|
- There then followed nearly 2 miles of road walking. From the map I had hoped the road would be quiet, but at 4.30pm there was a reasonable amount of fast moving traffic. I had to keep crossing from one side to the other, depending on the bend of the road, and/or the availability of a grass verge.
|The route along Marches Road goes on and on|
- Reaching the railway line east of Kingsfold, I was confronted with a very high stile, which Jazz could not squeeze through, however hard she tried. In the end I had no option but to practically lift her over, whilst standing astride it (Jazz is rubbish at climbing stiles). She weighs 35kg, and was also absolutely filthy due to the very muddy conditions underfoot, so it is not something I was overly keen to do! Poppy fortunately managed to squeeze between the slats, and both dogs managed to edge past the side of a duplicate stile on the other side of the tracks.
|The offending railway stile|
- Just when I thought I was home and dry, one of the last fields had been recently re-fenced, and the contractor had kindly replaced the stile with a smart new metal pedestrian gate. Unfortunately he had not fitted it very well, and however hard I pushed and pulled, I couldn’t open it! The gate itself was high, and the fences either side were topped with barbed wire – getting both dogs over was going to be virtually impossible. As a last resort I tried to work the catch whilst actually standing on the gate, and thankfully, this lowered it sufficiently to release it, although I had to swing the gate open before getting off it.
|Thank you, Tim Bennet for nearly ruining the end of my walk!|