A November Walk In Northiam, East Sussex, Featuring Bats!

On Tuesday evening we went for a short drive, with the intention of taking a walk in a nature area we’d visited earlier this year. When we got there however, we found it to be VERY muddy, so we decided to try somewhere else instead. We ended up in the village of Northiam (which we’ve only ever passed through before, never stopped in), and I’m so glad we did, as it turned out to be a perfect place for exploring on a late afternoon in November!

A November Walk In Northiam, East Sussex, Featuring Bats! #Sussex #Autumn #Bats #ExploringNature #FamilyWalks sensationallearningwithpenguin.com

It was only a short walk, starting off by the village green, up a slight hill to where the church is, a couple of laps around the graveyard, and then back down to the village green again. We arrived as the sun was setting and left before it got properly dark. Short but sweet, and it gave us the ‘getting out fix’ we needed.

The first thing that caught our eye, at the start of our walk, was the old village pump seen below.

The pump didn’t seem to be still in working order, but is a lovely feature nonetheless.

Details of the pump, with a plaque that reads:

MAY. 1907.

On our approach to the church, it was lovely to see that a lot of flowers, such as Cosmos and Mexican fleabane, were still in bloom, despite it being November.

The church is called St Mary’s Church, and its oldest parts (the lower part of the tower and part of the nave by the base of it) are from Norman times (c.12th Century). The rather unusual stone spire was added around 1500, and other parts have later been added, extended and renovated over the centuries.

As the church is currently closed due to covid restrictions, we could only admire it from the outside, but Penguin was happy to mull around in the graveyard, and sit down on a bench for a while to take it in.

On our second lap around the church, we spotted bats darting around above our heads! We watched them for a while at the back of the church, and then as we made our way towards the front again we realised that they were flying in and out of the belfry. All the pictures we managed to get are quite blurry, but I think you can still make out the distinct shape of these fascinating creatures.

To see a short film clip of the bats, swipe through to the end of this instagram post:

After having read up more about bats in Sussex, I think it’s likely that these are Serotine bats. They often fly early in the evening, at around the height of the tree-tops, and they like to use old buildings such as belfries to live in. They are a little bigger than the Pipistrelles which is the most commonly seen type of bat here.

There was a hazy blue over the hills around the village as we made our way back down to the village green. In the photo below, there’s something looking like a large bush to the left in the picture. Since we visited Northiam on Tuesday, I’ve learnt that it’s actually the ivy-covered trunk of a very old oak tree, and not any old oak tree either, but ‘Queen Elizabeth’s oak’. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth I stopped briefly in Northiam on 11 August 1573 (while on a journey to Rye), and sat under this oak tree eating a meal! Before she left, she changed her footwear, and left he green silk shoes she’d been wearing as a thank you gift to the her hosts in the village. The shoes still exist and are in the ownership of the locally influential Ferwen family.

Also by the village green, is the war memorial. As this was just after Remembrance Sunday, there were freshly laid poppy wreaths at the base on the memorial monument. The fading light and the signs of autumn, with the ground covered in fallen leaves, added to the atmosphere of remembering those fallen in wars. As did the bench of course, with its motif of soldier silhouettes. “We will remember them…”

The following day was Remembrance Day, so seeing the memorial in Northiam was very timely, and something Penguin and I could look back on as we shared a moment of remembrance together.

We’ve also learnt more about bats this week, and incorporated some basic literacy learning into that theme as well. I love it when we can base our home learning around things we’ve recently experienced in real life.

And all this from an afternoon walk that almost didn’t happen!

Linking up with:

Country Kids linky
The Helpful Hiker
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

31 thoughts on “A November Walk In Northiam, East Sussex, Featuring Bats!

  1. What a lovely place to visit for a walk and how fascinating to see the bats flying around the church. I loved watching the clip of them. Interesting to learn a bit about Northiam’s history too, especially the story about Queen Elizabeth I having a meal under the oak tree and leaving her shoes behind. #CountryKids

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely walk, sometimes the short, spontaneous variety are the best! It’s so important to keep getting outside at this time of year and your photos remind me why I love autumn. So lucky to see bats too, we sometimes have them swooping in the garden and we all rush out to see them. Thanks for sharing #AdventureCalling

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lauren! You’re right, short walks can often be really rewarding, and in this case we certainly were rewarded, especially with the bats surprising us! Lovely that you get them in your garden 🙂
      I’m really happy to hear that my photos bring you a good autumn feel, I too love autumn x


  3. What a lovely walk and how interesting to hear of Queen Elizabeth I enjoying a meal under the lovely Oak tree. I love bats and we were so lucky this summer to watch many bats zooming around the garden last summer on most evenings x “Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS.”

    Liked by 1 person

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