We have had a huge amount of rain here in Sussex – and across the UK – recently, and my house is thankfully situated on higher ground so I am not in immediate danger of inundation, although my garden does get standing water in the sunken section, much to the ducks’ delight:

Further down the lane, the road had been completely overtaken by the Cuckmere River, and the track by the farm where I walk my dog had become a large body of water with water flowing over the tractor bridge:

The beehives at the School Apiary are situated on a floodplain which holds the water from the Polegate bypass and surrounding industrial estates, and I was concerned that the water levels had risen and perhaps inundated the hives. I knew the bees had the option of migrating up in to the top of the Warré but the top bar is quite low, so I wanted to go and at the very least eyeball them even if I couldn’t go and check them. I took my binoculars and headed down to the Marsh.

I have not been involved with the Marsh site for long enough to know if this is how high the water goes, but it took some careful route-picking to navigate the best way to avoid wet feet. I was very conscious of the canal to one side, especially when a sheep jumped in to swim across to her friends – she had a short fleece so didn’t get waterlogged and that side of the canal slopes less steeply so climbed up and joined the others, to my palpable relief.

As we reached the gates near the Reptile Zone, I realised I wasn’t going to be able to get to the apiary as the water was too high, and the nearby water buffalo too intrigued. However, through my binoculars I could see that although the spare Warré was leaning at rather a rakish angle, the occupied Warré was standing tall and I could make out the top bar over the other side of the apiary which was still there at least. I couldn’t see our tarpaulin but then again I wasn’t near enough to see that low on the ground.

Not an entirely reassuring visit but all I could achieve in the circumstances. We walked back to the car and watched snipe, geese, gulls of many species flying around and above us, and listened to the whistling call of the many widgeon that enjoy the main lake on the site. Lots of little shells were washed up on the grassy areas: ramshorn snails and the more common pond snail, as well as numerous bivalves.

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