A Sussex Summer Weekend

I spent some time in the Sussex country village of Lindfield this weekend a short car’s journey away from my home town of Lewes, the country town for East Sussex. This beautiful village with its Lime Tree lined High Street, with its Eleventh Century church and many Medieval and Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century houses was looking perfect in the late July sunshine.

There were ducks swimming nonchalantly in the afternoon heat….

…obviously happy in this natural pond which has been fed by a local stream for millenia.

There was cricket on the green…Lindfield Common….where the game has been played regularly since 1747.

At nearby Chailly Common, a stretch of heathland between the chalk downlands to the South and the the Ashdown Forrest to the North, English wild flowers are having the high season.

That harbinger of summer, the colourful Rosebay Willowherb is now out in profusion swaying neurotically in the slightest breeze…..

The blackberries are in blossom, their prickly brambles winding their way through the unraveling bracken…….

…next to their equally prickly thistle neighbours which are every bit as much of an English heritage as their much lauded Scottish relations.

In the jungle of wild flowers there is also a bed of what I have always called Queen Anne’ lace which others call Cowparsnip and others confuse with Giant Hogweed…..I never knew which is which even though one is a harmless relative of our domesticated root vegetables, others are poisonous and another one has a deadly sting.

Whichever this is, its white umbels look fine against the drifting clouds as does the Large Bindweed or Convolvulus, England’s largest wild flower, a pest in the garden but magnificent in its natural setting.

Far away from its original home but now an honorary long term resident here in England is the Oxford Ragwort, or Senecio squalides, which, at Chailly, is growing around the car park and off along the footpaths indicating it preferred method of travel.

It was introduced as an elegant and exotic rarety into the Oxford Botanic Garden some time between 1700 and 1719 and is said to have demonstrated relatively quickly that is was no shrinking violet. Its seeds flew over the wall and travelled down the roads of England until the invention of the railway which then aided its spread across the nation. It is very welcome here with its optimistic golden petals announcing the dog days of the English summer.

There was time, after all that idling, to stop off at Lindfield’s very own The White Horse inn for an excellent and welcome pint of Lewes’ own beer, Harvey’s, of course.

Then home to the seclusion of my garden in the shade of the umbrella…..

where it is perfect to enjoy the sun without the sun enjoying me.

July here means that my roses are beginning the mid-season break and making room for….

the cooler blues, purples, magenta and mauves of my different varieties of clematis which have now scrambled to prominence in this small, typical Lewes-sized town garden.

These small star shaped flowers send out their fragrant and refreshing aniseed perfume which attract just enough bees and damsel flies to keep a lazy sense of motion on this perfect Summer’s day.

Wake me up if I am dreaming but it might just be possible that England really is having a glorious Summer after all. Even my vegetables are hinting that harvest time is not going to be as disappointing as I expected and that it may not be that far away either.

I hope the weekend was as good for the rest of you wherever you live.


  1. Love the images of Lindfield as my late Mothers side of the family lived in what was Beckworth lodge which formed part of the Beckworth estate,the lodge was home to my great grandparents
    the Townshends.
    Got a shock on Google earth to see that Beckworth house has long gone I last saw the house boarded up in 1998. Last used as a school

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