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Please don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against animals. “Pet hates” are simply things that I dislike intensely, things that drive me just short of mad because most of them are so utterly unnecessary.

Yesterday, 7 March 2017, was a beautiful day and – feeling like a change from cliff tops and water fronts – I set off for what turned out to be a very beautiful walk in Friston Forest, just opposite the fantastic nature reserve of Cuckmere Haven. Indeed, one of the best views I have ever had of that beautiful area was offered right at the beginning of my walk – having struggled up quite a steep and very muddy hill, I turned round to see the glorious sight of the river winding its way towards the sea.

The walk continued up yet another hill – well, that’s the South Downs for you! – before taking me into the village of West Dean and from there on a really enjoyable round walk through the woodlands.

At the end of my excursion, I spotted a picnic area, saw a table in the sun and thought that this was ideal for me to sit and enjoy my lunch – I did so in the end but not before I had to clear away a load of rubbish that some other people had just left there. To make matters worse, there was a rubbish bin some 10 steps or so away from where I was sitting.

I do not get people who do this – the countryside is there for everyone and we all want to enjoy it in its full glory, without having to tidy up after those who think that food packaging and plastic bottles should just be dumped wherever is convenient. There, I have had my moan – and that is just one of my “pet hates”.

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