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I have lived in or near the South Downs of West Sussex for more than sixty years during which time I have ridden or walked along their many paths and tracks as well as those of the surrounding countryside. Recently, I decided that I would combine my interest and concern for the local wildlife and my love of the area with my ability to draw and paint, together with my other passions for riding and walking and produce a book illustrated with my own pictures as a monthly record of the local countryside at the beginning of the twenty-first century. I have seen many changes in these years. When I was a child the Downs were almost deserted, apart from the people who worked on them. I used to know the local farmers, and had many friends among the shepherds, pig-men, tractor-drivers and gamekeepers, and would stop to chat to them as I rode by. I would rarely meet other walkers or riders and for many years have escaped from the humdrum of modem life by taking my horse or dogs up the hill and through the woods and on the rolling downlands. However, things change and now many people enjoy this area in lots of different ways. I hope that by reading my notes and seeing my pictures they will regard some of the humbler species in a different light and see beauty in the wayside even on the very bleakest days. I hope to describe the flora and fauna that they might well see on a walk, ride on a horse, a bicycle or even from a car.

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