Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex, January 2023
A lot of rain has fallen in Britain in January. One way I like to gauge just how much, is to visit the wetlands around Pulborough and Amberley in West Sussex.
In the winter months, roads are routinely closed as the Arun breaks its banks, doing what it used to without much issue. On the morning of Friday 13th January, the green fields of the Arun valley were a deep, oceanic blue.
It’s rare in England that you get to see nature’s raw, awesome power. When you do, it’s not always a good thing. Seeing water flooding the landscape as it should, where it won’t destroy homes, is easier to enjoy.
Towards Pulborough, the flooded fields were speckled with hundreds of ducks: mallard, shoveler, widgeon. The buildings of Pulborough town looked ready to slip down into the deep blue sea.
On the human-made islands lapwings contended with ducks for a spot on the bank. Elsewhere I overheard a man point out a snipe tucked away between rushes – ‘you can see it with the naked eye,’ he said.
Sure enough, there it was but 25ft away inside the fenced wetland. I wonder what it must have made of its small, safe spot, out there among the winter floodwaters.
Thanks for reading.