Stanmer Park provides a vast varied space for kids and dogs and sports to play outside. It’s also easy to escape the weekend hordes for a quieter stride to bottoms and brows. Meandering through Millbank Wood passes a dew pond filled with sky and trees form gold grounded tunnels while other amber leaves resist the rage of autumn storms so far.
Out on open fields, we wend a way to where walkers string along the South Downs Way, and ruminate with cows. In the park for cars, the optimistic ice cream van sits stubbornly, enjoying the view – whatever the weather.
Turning east along the ridge, a faint growl rises from a groaning A27, connecting what look like model villages below. At Streat Hill Farm we track back towards the distant sea, serenaded by the sound of shooters. Shielded in a hillside copse – stags, hens and other parties pay to gun down (clay) pigeons and, apparently, throw axes. The sharp shot sounds fade, replaced by crying crows, as we dip back down beneath the trees to face the last blast of early afternoon sun.