Sun 15th May 2022
- Thu 19th May 2022
4 nights/3.5 days walks
This is a unique and very special spring trip at a time where birdsong can be heard from nightingales and turtledoves - known to be good for lifting the spirits. Madeline our guide and freelance ecologist will help you explore this fascinating part of England rich in bird song and wildlife. THIS HOLIDAY IS NOW FULLY BOOKED
Sussex Songbirds Walks – Nightingales & Turtle Doves
Dates: Sunday May 15th to Thursday May 19th – 4 nights/3.5 days walks
Guide: Madeline Holloway
Walking Grade: 1 Goat – walks are varied and at a very steady pace giving time to see birds and all the interesting nature around.
Base: The Roundabout Hotel,West Chiltington,West Sussex. Nearest station is Pulborough which is 8 minutes by taxi to the hotel or there is a bus. There is parking at the hotel.Nearest airport is Gatwick with a direct train to Pulborough taking approximately 45 minutes.
Price: £738 per person for the holiday inc.B+B,packed lunches on walking days + a two course dinner on the 1st night, expert guiding on walks and songbirds.
Not included:Travel to the hotel.Drinks.Entrance to RSPB nature reserve.
This trip is great for lovers of nature, wildlife and especially birds and their spring song. Madeline our guide and freelance ecologist will help you explore this fascinating part of England rich in bird song and wildlife.
Walks are 1 Goat with one day more of an ascent as we walk the Lewes Downs. All slow pace as we stop to experience the wildlife and nature.No walk is more than 5 miles.
Things may change depending on the weather. Our guides will always discuss the next day’s activities with the group the day before.
Sussex Songbirds Walks - Nightingales & Turtle Doves - Promotional Video
Day 1 – Knepp Estate https://knepp.co.uk/home
Distance: 5 miles maximum
Ascent/Descent: 10 metres – virtually flat with some muddy footpaths: one goat level
We spend our day in the heart of West Sussex exploring the Knepp Estate, a previously intensively farmed arable area that has been allowed to ‘re-wild’ over the past 20 years or so with a minimum of human intervention and with herds of free-roaming animals. An astonishing and spectacular array of natural habitats have established themselves across the Estate and these are now teaming with wildlife. We will pause frequently to enjoy the wildlife and listen out for, and even spot, melodious nightingales, soft purring turtle doves, breeding white stork and a whole host of other wildlife delights.
If you are interested in reading more about the estate click on the link above to find the book Wilding by Isabella Tree who is an author and lives and works on the Estate.
Day 2 – Amberley Wild Brooks
Distance: 5 miles maximum
Ascent/Descent: 20 metres – virtually flat with some muddy footpaths: one goat level
We walk northwards across Amberley Wild Brooks and on towards Waltham Brooks, two of just a few surviving areas of grazed marsh in West Sussex, which together support one of the most important breeding populations of redshank in the UK. Other fenland and woodland breeding birds we may encounter include snipe, reed and grasshopper warblers, yellowhammer, green woodpecker and the acrobatic aerial displays of lapwing to name but a few. This species-rich landscape also supports several plants which are rare in West Sussex, amidst which we will should spot the jewel-like colours of darting dragonflies and, perhaps, a hobby swooping in to catch one.
Day 3 – South Downs chalk grassland
Distance: 5 miles maximum
Ascent/Descent: 140 metres – hilly countryside with some muddy footpaths: one/two goat level
Today we spend our time walking across the Lewes Downs where significant areas of chalk grassland have somehow survived intact and avoided the fate of much of the South Downs which has been ploughed up for arable crops. In fact, there is so much diversity in a good patch of chalk grassland that we may find ourselves on our hands and knees to really appreciate the 20 or 30 different kinds of plants in just one square metre. Butterflies and moths also abound including, if we’re lucky and the sun is out, the Adonis blue and the scarce Forester Moth. A number of typical downland birds breed here including the kestrel, corn bunting, grasshopper warbler and meadow pipit. Finally, we end our walk in Glynde for cake and refreshments.
Day 4 – Half day at Pulborough Brooks nature reserve (RSPB – cost £7/person if not a member)
Distance: 3 miles maximum
Ascent/Descent: 25 metres – some slopes on muddy paths: one goat level
For our last morning we’ll follow a gentle 2-mile circular trail which explores the heart of this nature reserve. Here we’ll enjoy the ‘peewits’ of more tumbling and looping lapwing together with a whole range of warblers, thrushes and more nightingales. We may even spot rarer breeding birds such as garganey, yellow wagtail, grey partridge and skylark.
On one morning we’ll experience the magic of a dawn (or at least early morning!) chorus starring mellow blackbirds, thrushes and wrens and joined by warblers like blackcap, whitethroat and, perhaps, more nightingales.
On one evening we’ll go out to search the night sky for hunting barn owls, churring nightjars and flitting bats.