We escape the city and visit Stanmer Park but this time we’re not just going for a walk; we’re going on a Bird Walk.

When the invitation came in to trial a Bird Walk, I immediately said I’d love to give it a go and was half-expecting some teasing from the others but actually it turned out almost everyone liked the idea. In the end three of us were lucky enough to be available on the date of the ‘walkshop’, yes that’s right we were going to join a Guided Bird Walkshop and walkshop might be my new favourite word.

I think the three of us had different reasons for wanting to go; Katie is always happy to try something new, Marta wanted to be able to join in when her husband and son spot birds out of the window and as for me; well I love any excuse for a walk and listening to birdsong is part of the reason why woodland walks are top of my list. On top of this we all love any excuse to visit Stanmer Park, a sanctuary of calm on the outskirts of the city.

The day we met was unfortunately a typical British day in that it was grey & drizzly, however while normally we might have been tempted to stay indoors, we had a Bird Walk to get to, so we donned our waterproofs and set off. Before the walk Charlie, the organiser, had sent through some example bird songs we should listen out for, but he explained this was only a small selection of the birds we would hopefully hear during the morning.

We headed off towards the woods and almost as soon as we reached the trees Charlie asked us to stop as he could already hear 2 or 3 different types of birds. Charlie explained what birds we were listening too and tried to find ways to helps us remember their different calls so we could identify them when we heard them again. And this was the format of the walkshop, we would stroll for a bit and then stop each time there were a few different birdsongs to try and name.

To be honest I still couldn’t tell you if the bird chirping outside my window was a Chaffinch or a Chiffchaff but then Charlie has been doing this for years not just a couple of hours so, please don’t let this put you off! I did still learn a lot on the day, for example I now know that not only is there a bird called a Treecreeper (image below), but it literally creeps up trees! We were lucky enough to see one and it is endearingly bizarre. I have also learnt a lot more bird names as we apparently heard 20 different birds, and I discovered that Stanmer Park is a particularly good place for bird-spotting (or listening) as the unique collection of trees are wonderful for encouraging biodiversity.

In addition to learning more about birds, the walk was a lovely escape from the everyday. It was great to shut down the laptop, take a break from the screen, forget about emails & phone calls and simply enjoy wandering around the woods. Spending time in nature is important for our mental wellbeing and by actively listening to our surroundings I feel it increased our engagement and connection with the woodland.

On top of all this the walk ended at the charming One Garden Brighton where we decided we deserved one of their delicious pastries, the only problem was deciding which one to go for.

🐦 Guided Bird ‘Walkshops’ take place about once a month, the next one is on 19th April and there will also be one on 18th May which appropriately falls within Mental Health Awareness Week and National Walking Month.

Getting There

Of course, there is no point in me telling you how lovely Stanmer Park is if I don’t tell you how to get there! You can either do as I did and get a train from Brighton to Falmer. There are four trains an hour and it’s a 10-minute journey, when you leave Falmer go through the underpass and head left to the park entrance, it’s about a 10-minue walk.

Alternatively, the 25 bus goes from the Old Steine and stops at the entrance to the park, there are buses every 10 minutes and the journey takes approximately 30 minutes. The number 23 also stops at the entrance to the park and runs from Brighton Marina, there are two buses an hour and takes about 40 minutes. The number 78 bus goes from the Old Steine into the park and on to Stanmer Village, there is one bus an hour and journey takes about 25 minutes. Or you could cycle as there are Beryl Bike bays across the city as well as at Stanmer Park.





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