Tag Archives: sussex

Sussex Day 2012: Part 4 – Where I needed to be

21 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

Leaving the church I continued on west, parallel to the Downs themselves. The road continues for several miles along the foot of the Downs, creating a string of small villages.

The rest of Poynings passed quickly by, mostly houses and one pub, The Royal Oak, which looks a little too trendy for my liking.

Soon the houses lining the road ended, or at least became more isolated and the views to the South Downs really opened up, this was where I wanted to be.

The road rises and falls gently on its journey west, occasional footpaths shoot off southwards to begin their assent of the hills, all the time the range of hills stretching out ahead as far as the eye could see and the haze would permit.

This really was where I needed to be. For many months I have gazed longingly from a distance, now they were almost within touching distance, not long now and I would be upon the hills at last.

For the last couple of years I have wondered about the feasibility of an alternative South Downs walk, not on the top of the hill, but from the foot of the hills.

At the foot of the South Downs – Where I needed to be

Roads like this stretch many miles along the foot of the South Downs, unfortunately they don’t provide a complete link, and many of them are probably too busy to contemplate walking along now.

They may not offer such far-reaching views as can be found on the top of the hills, but with views like this the route would be by no means boring.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 3 – Church visiting

20 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

The footpath passed down the side of a school and emerged onto the road. Climbing slightly the road took me south to Poynings church, sitting at a junction of roads.

Poynings church has always seemed quite big to me, at least when seen from a distance, however up close it didn’t seem quite so big, although it has to be said that the square tower is quite impressive in size.

Having never been inside the church I thought I should take advantage of the opportunity and was surprised to find myself being congratulated by the vicar/rector for finding my way to the church.

She seemed a little surprised that I wasn’t there for the meeting or the florist come to set up for the wedding, but had just wandered in off the street, but was made welcome nevertheless. After a brief spell to admire the interior I took a stroll around the exterior.

The churchyard seemed quite small, smaller than I had expected. There were a few standing headstones, but try as I might I couldn’t remember anyone in my family tree who might be buried here, in fact I couldn’t remember any family connection with Poynings.

As unlikely as it seemed this little string of villages at the foot of the Downs seem to have been largely overlooked by my relatives, but then I suppose they were always more Wealdsmen than Downsmen.

Holy Trinity Church, Poynings, West Sussex

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 2 – Chasing butterflies

19 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

Across the road from the bus shelter the footpath leads across a wheat field, still green at the moment, but if the sun stays out long enough it will soon be turning golden-yellow.

The path follows a more or less straight path south towards the parish church at Poynings, but a little less than halfway it splits in two with one path continuing south and the other path heading west.

I followed the path west, this field was of grass, kept short by the sheep. A simple wooden bridge took me over a ditch, over a stile into a field of taller grass.

It was here that I spent a couple of minutes trying to capture an image of a little butterfly, a Common Blue I believe. It flitted here and there, almost getting trodden on once or twice and no sooner had it settled on a clover flower than it was off again.

Some of this was my fault and the approach of my camera, but some of this was also down to the wind which was buffeting everything in sight. Eventually I caught it.

Catching butterflies

Not far away to the south the huge bulk of South Downs dominated the skyline, but my attention had briefly been captured by this tiny little creature.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Sussex Day 2012: Part 1 – One of my favourite bus stops

18 Jun

Sussex Day 2012

I knew I had to take the opportunity presented by Sussex Day to get out onto the South Downs, but when I set off I hadn’t really decided where to go.

I was on the bus heading to Brighton, which narrowed down the range of options, but still with another bus and/or train ride I could pretty much be anywhere in Sussex. Not only that but if I got the right bus I could even be on top of the Downs with minimal effort, but what would be the fun in that.

The South Downs didn’t look terribly inviting it has to be said. The weather was overcast, it looked and felt like there could be rain any minute, even though the forecast said it would stay dry. I could see the odd break in the cloud, but even as we got nearer the Downs remained hazy and indistinct, not the crisp clearness that I had longed for.

As the bus headed towards Brighton I formulated a plan, I would get off before Brighton near the village of Poynings, by the roundabout, and make my way along the foot of the hills and then when the time was right I could ascend the hills and continue along the ridge.

This would not only give me a different view of the hills, getting up close to the northern face of the hills that I normally only see from a distance, but would also give me the opportunity to have a quick look around some of the villages that lay at the foot of the hills.

As I stepped off the packed bus at Poynings, leaving the shoppers to continue their journey to Brighton, I stood and admired the Downs. The bus stop is well within the boundaries of the South Downs National Park, and practically on the foot of the hills. It is the closeness to the hills that makes this one of my favourite bus stops.

One of my favourite bus stops

In the background of picture above is Newtimber Hill. To the left, albeit some way off, is my old favourite Wolstonbury Hill. To the right is Devil’s Dyke and the range of hills stretching all the way out to the west and Chanctonbury Hill with its distinctive crown of trees.

I will be the first to admit that the bus shelter may not be much to look at, but for me it represents an important gateway to the South Downs and the start of my Sussex Day walk.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Flying the flag for Sussex Day 2012

16 Jun

The Argus (Brighton’s local newspaper) was right when they said that Sussex Day had failed to capture the imagination.

It was also right about the lack of events taking place today to mark the occasion, but that is really nothing new. At the present rate it seems likely that the idea of Sussex Day will be all but forgotten in a couple of years time.

I marked Sussex Day in my usual way, by going for a walk. I had many options for where to walk, the weather wasn’t very promising and I am really out of practice for any long distance walking, but all in all it turned out to be a memorable walk, which I will tell you more about later.

Sussex Day wasn’t completely forgotten, it was good to see at least one village flying the flag for Sussex, although I suspect if they hadn’t already put up the flagpole for the Diamond Jubilee they wouldn’t have bothered.

Flying the Flag for Sussex Day 2012

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Photo Album: Unknown woman

15 Jun

It wasn’t just his own or contemporary photographs that survived in the collection of my 2x great-uncle Percy Ebenezer Trower, but older family photographs. This is one such carte de visite that survived, probably dating to a couple of generations before Percy’s.


Sadly unlike Percy’s own photographs there is no name or details on the back of this one, obviously certain clues to the age can be found in the dress, posture and photographer’s name, but that alone would probably not be enough to identify the subject.

There is probably going to be a connection with the Trower family although it might come from his wife’s side of the family. I doubt I will ever know for certain who this woman was.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Watching the Coronation – an extract from Percy’s diary

5 Jun

As we come to the end of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations I would like to share an entry from the diary of my 2x great-uncle Percy Ebenezer Trower.

Sunday June 7th 1953

The first week our holiday over, (which included Coronation Day) cold winds all the week but not much rain.

Went to Hastings & Chilgrove Mon afternoon 2.15 till 8.15, a pretty ride & generally bright, had tea at Petersfield.

Tuesday was Coronation Day & a dull & windy day too & wet at times especially in London. We saw it on Dolls television at H[aywards] Heath, came through very well.

This is a perfect example of what makes Percy’s diary so interesting, it includes comments on news and events as well as personal and family events and even what the weather was like.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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