Carry On Grazing
Many people in Sussex would agree that last summer was cool and wet. It was certainly wet, but 'cool' was only applicable to the coast. Inland parts of Sussex enjoyed much higher temperatures, reaching the high 20s and early 30s on several days. Mosquitoes and midges thrived in the warm, humid conditions. Ferns grew to tropical proportions — I am 6'3" and the ferns growing along Crawley Lane stood at twice my height. Sussex is a county of varied micro-climates; the sea and the South Downs keeps Brighton and Hove much cooler than Crawley, some 20 miles inland. Indeed, when I visited the Sussex/Surrey border on Thursday evening, the mercury rose to 21°C, a full 7 degrees warmer than in Brighton. If you like heat (I absolutely love it), don't head to Brighton beach. Pack your picnic basket and go inland, where you could enjoy temperatures hotter than an average summer day in New York City.
Inland is where I headed on Tuesday. After a long and miserable winter, it was joyful to feel the warm air on my face, even after sunset, as I sat outside the Half Moon Inn, Balcombe, with a pint of Harveys Sussex Best Bitter. Bluebells are just starting to flower in nearby woodland. Earlier, a sizeable herd of Fallow deer appeared out of nowhere. Sadly, they were too quick for me — a dozen pairs of ears and eyes is more than enough to detect the presence of even the most seasoned of wildlife photographers. I had much greater success with the Roe deer, which, unlike Fallow, look first and run second, giving me enough time to fire off several shots. The deer were so relaxed on Thursday, that they simply looked up briefly and carried on grazing. I thoroughly enjoyed my trips to the Sussex Weald. Next up are the bluebells and I'll be spending a whole week photographing the burgeoning colour during early May.