Sussex Exclusive Issue 1 2022

Bringing you the best of Sussex. From discovering West Sussex vineyards to exploring Rye, and enjoying some fine Sussex dining, experience and savour the many delights Sussex has on offer.

Bringing you the best of Sussex. From discovering West Sussex vineyards to exploring Rye, and enjoying some fine Sussex dining, experience and savour the many delights Sussex has on offer.


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<strong>Issue</strong> I <strong>2022</strong><br />

A Pocket Guide to Rye<br />

Meet the Steyning Artists<br />

Spotlight on:<br />

West <strong>Sussex</strong> Vineyards<br />

Mouth Watering<br />

Lamb Recipe<br />

Latest Spring Fashions<br />

Lazy <strong>Sussex</strong> Sundays



In Partnership with 2Covet<br />



Come and buy the very finest<br />

art and antiques at our eighth<br />

annual event of distinction<br />

13-15 MAY <strong>2022</strong><br />

Friday 11.00 - 18.00<br />

Saturday 10.30 - 18.00<br />

Sunday 10.30 - 17.00<br />

https://www.petworthparkfair.com/<br />


THE<br />



FAIR<br />


To request your<br />

complimentary invitation<br />

for three please email<br />

SE@adfl.co.uk<br />

01797 252030<br />

For updates please visit<br />

www.petworthparkfair.com<br />

Anderson Rowntree Solicitors<br />

BEAR Petworth<br />

Blackbrook Gallery<br />

J H Bourdon-Smith Ltd<br />

Augustus Brandt<br />

Brilliant Gin<br />

Mark Buckley Antiques<br />

Jenna Burlingham Gallery<br />

Burlington<br />

Cambridge Fine Art<br />

Lucy B Campbell Gallery<br />

Christopher Clarke Antiques<br />

Sarah Colegrave Fine Art<br />

William Cook<br />

Dansk Silver by Jane Burgett<br />

Diamonds4you<br />

Shaw Edwards Antiques<br />

Elford Fine Art<br />

Ellis Fine Art<br />

Justin Evershed-Martin<br />

Fileman Antiques<br />

Garret & Hurst Sculpture<br />

Granta Fine Art of Cambridge<br />

Greenstein Antiques<br />

Hatchwell Antiques<br />

Haynes Fine Art<br />

Hickmet Fine Arts<br />

Michael Hoppen Gallery<br />

The Hunt Gallery<br />

Jupiter Antiques<br />

Stephen Kalms Antiques<br />

Kirker Holidays<br />

L & V Art and Design<br />

Jeroen Markies Art Deco<br />

Markov<br />

Kaye Michie Fine Art<br />

Timothy Millett Limited<br />

Millington Adams<br />

M & D Moir<br />

Morgan Strickland Decorative Arts<br />

Olde Time<br />

Ottocento<br />

PAADA<br />

Richard Price<br />

Ptarmigan Antiques<br />

T Robert<br />

Tom Rooth Fine Art<br />

Rountree Tryon Galleries<br />

Rug Addiction<br />

Santos London<br />

Shapiro & Co<br />

Something Different<br />

Thomas Spencer Fine Art<br />

Michael St. John<br />

The Swan Gallery<br />

Karen Taylor Fine Art<br />

Timewise Vintage Watches<br />

Tribal Arts and Textiles<br />

Walton House Antiques<br />

Mark J West

A word<br />

from the editor<br />

Editor<br />

Lucy Pitts<br />

Lucy@lucyp@sussexexclusive.com<br />

Deputy Editor<br />

Janine Marsh<br />

Editorial Assistant and DDIP<br />

Aifric Peachey<br />

Design & Production<br />

Philippa French<br />

Sales<br />

sales@sussexexclusive.com<br />

Welcome to the first edition of <strong>Sussex</strong> <strong>Exclusive</strong> Magazine.<br />

It’s been a long time in the making and has risen like a<br />

phoenix from the ashes of Covid. Our mission is to share<br />

some of the many wonderful places, people and stories<br />

from across <strong>Sussex</strong> and to inspire you with reasons to<br />

visit, move to or staycation in this wonderful county.<br />

With wine steadily becoming a major part of our <strong>Sussex</strong> heritage, we can<br />

now enjoy top quality wine tours and tastings in a way that used to be<br />

reserved for visits to the vineyards of France. And with so many vineyards<br />

to choose from, in this edition we’ve shared the first of a three part series on<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong> wine.<br />

As the weather gradually improves, it’s a great time to start planning some<br />

places to explore, so we’ve been over to stunning and historic Rye in the east,<br />

to Pulborough nature reserve in the west and stopped off in Steyning to meet<br />

some of the fantastic artists who make up Steyning Arts in advance of their<br />

forthcoming Art Trail.<br />

Tim Canham shares why you might, or might not, want to take up running,<br />

and we’ve got details of a <strong>Sussex</strong> writing retreat, some suggestions for a<br />

fabulous Sunday lunch, the latest spring fashion trends and some dates for<br />

your diary. If that’s not enough, meet Mi and Monica from Brighton who are<br />

empowering the women of Uganda, enjoy some of our <strong>Sussex</strong> folklore and<br />

take a trip back in time with 120 years of Christ’s Hospital. And although<br />

we don’t want you to leave our county, we do have a late autumn holiday<br />

suggestion which involves drinking lots of Armagnac! As you do.<br />

That’s it for now, but you’ll find lots of <strong>Sussex</strong> soundbites on our website and<br />

social media and you may spot me out on the roads of <strong>Sussex</strong>, trying to sniff<br />

out some new treats.<br />

Lucy<br />

Lucy Pitts<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong> <strong>Exclusive</strong> Magazine<br />

www.sussexexclusive.com<br />

Front Cover<br />

Halnaker Windmill at sunrise with its views over<br />

the Tinwood Estate Vineyard.<br />


Contents<br />

8 Steyning Arts<br />

Meet some of the artists from this historic town<br />

who will be exhibiting at this summer’s Steyning<br />

Arts Trail<br />

8<br />

12 <strong>Sussex</strong> Folklore<br />

Tales of <strong>Sussex</strong> giants, dragons, cuckoos and<br />

green men, as well as the Devil himself and how<br />

they all form part of our heritage<br />

16 Mama Mzungo<br />

How two women from Brighton have been<br />

supporting and empowering a group of women<br />

with albinism in Uganda<br />

18 CGT on Grounds and Gardens<br />

Stuart Ritchie explains how properties with<br />

gardens and grounds may unwittingly fall liable<br />

to Capital Gains Tax on sale<br />

12<br />

20 Spring Style<br />

Step into spring with style and embrace these<br />

six fashion trends for the new season from floral<br />

prints to Austin Powers!<br />

16<br />

22 Sundays Are For<br />

Relax, and reconnect with these six wonderful<br />

ways to spend a perfect Sunday in <strong>Sussex</strong><br />

22<br />

26 The Dawn Chorus<br />

Anna Allum from RSPB Pulborough Brooks<br />

tempts us to start the day early with the<br />

charismatic call of our <strong>Sussex</strong> birdlife<br />

28<br />

28 A <strong>Sussex</strong> <strong>Exclusive</strong> Wine Tour<br />

Discover 12 West <strong>Sussex</strong> vineyards in the first of<br />

our Grand Tour of <strong>Sussex</strong> Vineyards series and<br />

dive into the <strong>Sussex</strong> wine scene<br />

4 | sussexexclusive.com

36 Mouth-Watering<br />

Easter Recipe<br />

Easy to cook and tantalisingly tasty, pomegranate<br />

glazed lamb with Moroccan spiced roasted<br />

vegetables and rice<br />

36<br />

38 Breaking the Law<br />

Tim Canham explains why your running habit<br />

might just have to be kept a secret but why you<br />

might want to grab your trainers anyway<br />

44<br />

44 <strong>Sussex</strong> Writing Retreats<br />

Unleash your inner author and get writing with<br />

help from talented local writers at this sublime<br />

local writing retreat<br />

46 Support St. Catherine’s<br />

Hospice<br />

Why the new premises of this local hospice are so<br />

vital in supporting our community and how they<br />

still need our help<br />

48<br />

52<br />

48 Christ’s Hospital Celebrates<br />

A look back on the incredible achievements of<br />

this unique school since its move to Horsham<br />

120 years ago<br />

56<br />

52 Rye’s Rich Heritage<br />

in a Nutshell<br />

Rediscover Rye Heritage Centre and their new<br />

Smugglers in the Attic, and enjoy our essential<br />

visitors guide to Rye<br />

56 In the Diary<br />

A diverse and at times eclectic selection of events<br />

to help fill your diary including theatre, foraging<br />

and cabaret<br />

58<br />

58 Flamme de l’Armagnac<br />

Travel to Gers in the South of France to<br />

experience the unique Alembic Dinner and enjoy<br />

a taste of Armagnac<br />


Just click here<br />

to subscribe<br />

It’s free to download, read and share<br />

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/f2l9n2<br />


Contributors<br />

Tim Canham<br />

Tim works in equipment leasing. It’s<br />

not as thrilling as it sounds but does<br />

finance the provision of technology<br />

and dubious fashion for teenage sons,<br />

just. He started running about 10 years<br />

ago and has completed half a dozen<br />

plus marathons, lots of half marathons<br />

and local triathlons. He enjoys the<br />

occasional pint of local ale (is there<br />

any other reason to exercise?) and is<br />

generally found most weekends trying<br />

to weave in a plod with Horsham<br />

Joggers between trips to football or<br />

rugby matches around <strong>Sussex</strong>.<br />

Vanessa Jamieson<br />

Vanessa is an enthusiastic, amateur<br />

cook who likes to provide her<br />

friends with tasty and welcoming<br />

food. No one ever leaves hungry<br />

that’s for sure! Working full time,<br />

Vanessa needs to squeeze in quick<br />

to prepare food, without losing any<br />

of the flavour, between switching<br />

off the work laptop at 5 and the first<br />

guest arriving at 7.30. She likes to<br />

experiment with different cuisines,<br />

which can take her to Morocco,<br />

Thailand, Japan and back to France,<br />

all in the space of one week!<br />

Peter Benner<br />

Retired solicitor and local historian,<br />

Peter Benner has lived in <strong>Sussex</strong><br />

for over 75 years. A member of<br />

the <strong>Sussex</strong> Archaeological Society<br />

since 1956, he has a lifelong interest<br />

in <strong>Sussex</strong> Wealden Iron as well as<br />

building a 400 strong collection<br />

of books about <strong>Sussex</strong> (some of<br />

which date back to the seventeenth<br />

century). His specialisms also include<br />

transport, and <strong>Sussex</strong> culture.<br />

Anna Allum<br />

Anna is the Visitor Experience<br />

Manager at RSPB Pulborough Brooks.<br />

She has been with the RSPB here in<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong> for over 15 years, initially as a<br />

volunteer. She loves all nature, except<br />

perhaps spiders, and enjoys sharing<br />

her enthusiasm for birds, butterflies,<br />

bats and beetles with visitors to the<br />

nature reserve.<br />

Donna Camera<br />

Donna has worked in fashion for over<br />

20 years and is founder and owner of<br />

La Vida Boutique in Horsham which<br />

specialises in affordable luxury in<br />

ladies’ fashion and accessories.<br />

Stuart Ritchie<br />

Expert Tax Advisor helping clients<br />

manage their wealth, minimise<br />

tax bills, and solve tax disputes &<br />

financial problems. Stuart specialises<br />

in private client taxation and has<br />

built up considerable experience<br />

and expertise in this field with an<br />

emphasis on agreeing complex<br />

taxation issues, both onshore and<br />

offshore, and helping clients achieve<br />

their financial objectives.<br />

6 | sussexexclusive.com

Walk This Way<br />

with Pied A Terre Adventures<br />

Pied A Terre Adventures is a family-run West <strong>Sussex</strong> company providing exclusive, tailored walking,<br />

outdoor, and adventurous experiences throughout Great Britain.<br />

Whether you are preparing for a personal walking route or company team building day, looking for<br />

a way to develop your orienteering and map reading skills, or simply want to get a taste of the great<br />

outdoors on a walking holiday, we can support you on your adventure.<br />

We pride ourselves on providing our guests with interesting locations to explore and offering a<br />

personal and high-quality service. All of our guides and instructors are experts in their field, endlessly<br />

enthusiastic, incredibly knowledgeable and highly qualified.<br />

Outdoor skills<br />

Our Skills Academy has been recognised as one<br />

of the leading providers in the area, and whatever<br />

your level of experience, we have a course for you.<br />

Self guided walks<br />

We also have a range of self-guided walking breaks.<br />

Each trip is meticulously tailored to those taking<br />

part, with a personalised itinerary and bag transfer.<br />

Virtual guides<br />

Every walker on our self-guided walks can have<br />

their own virtual guide with our brand-new mobile<br />

App which allows customers to access their own<br />

programme, trail notes and top sights.<br />

Expert, local guides<br />

For those who like to have someone lead the<br />

way, there are plenty of options to soak up the<br />

beauty of the great outdoors under the expert<br />

guidance of our local guides.<br />

Our qualifications include Nordic Walking instructor,<br />

Hill & Moorland Leader, National Navigation (NNAS)<br />

Tutor Award, Mountain Leader and International<br />

Mountain Leader. We hold this year’s Gold Trusted<br />

Service Award from Feefo for our consistently<br />

excellent customer service.<br />

“We are passionate about creating and providing<br />

inspirational, quality and sustainable walking<br />

adventures where our guests can escape and immerse<br />

themselves in the outdoors, have fun, learn, challenge<br />

themselves, and create lifelong memories”.<br />

For more information on Pied A Terre<br />

Adventures, please call 01403 788994<br />

or visit https://patadventures.com<br />


Steyning &<br />

Steyning Arts<br />

A creative epicentre and a chance to meet the artists<br />

8 | sussexexclusive.com<br />

Steyning is delightfully creative, as well as pretty, historic and always bustling. As a town, it dates<br />

back to Anglo Saxon times but these days, a quick stroll around the town still reveals some great<br />

place names; think, Mouse Lane, Sheep Pen Lane, Dog Lane, Pilgrim Cottage and Faggs Barn!<br />

There are some quirky boutiques, a couple of great coffee shops and masses of history, from the<br />

church and Commonwealth Graves to the little museum. Unbelievably, Steyning used to be<br />

a port but these days, the river and sea have receded and if you want to explore beyond the town, you<br />

must head instead to the South Downs that overlook the town.<br />

Perhaps, it’s this heady combination of history, beauty and nature that makes it such a creative place but<br />

whatever it is, the town enjoys a thriving arts scene.<br />

Steyning Arts<br />

Formed in in May 2011, Steyning Arts brings together some 80 local artists and craftspeople (both<br />

professionals and talented amateurs) with the aim of showcasing local talent and make art accessible to<br />

the wider public. They also aim to inspire budding artists and have built a community of creatives who<br />

nurture the creation and appreciation of art.<br />

Each year, Steyning Arts host a winter event and a summer Arts Trail providing visitors with a chance to<br />

see artists’ work in their homes and studios and showcasing a rich and eclectic mix of artwork and crafts.<br />

This years’ event will be on the Saturday 28 th to Sunday 29 th May and from Friday 3 rd to Sunday 5 th<br />

June. And over the course of the next few editions of <strong>Sussex</strong> <strong>Exclusive</strong> Magazine, we’ll be introducing<br />

some of the artists.

Meet The Artists<br />

Lisa Woolcott<br />

I was born and raised in <strong>Sussex</strong> and after a little shifting around, settled<br />

with my family in the heart of the South Downs. I am self-taught in my<br />

art, learning through research, study and experimentation. A life-changing<br />

personal event gave me the nudge I needed to take my creative passions more<br />

seriously.<br />

Drawn to felt artwork, I use merino wool, silks, bamboo threads and other<br />

embellishments in the wet felting process (where water and soap are used to<br />

bond the fibres) and needle felting process (using barbed needles and finger<br />

guards!) to ‘paint’ my pictures. Dyed wool is mainly used but I am lucky<br />

enough to have a relative living in Somerset who keeps a herd of rare breed<br />

sheep. Unspun curly locks straight from the farm often feature in my work,<br />

and I have been known to pull fleece locks from fences whilst out walking!<br />

Whenever I need space to think, I instinctively look to the landscape around<br />

me - a wild retreat that gives me a licence to be lost in my own self. My<br />

spiritual connection with the natural landscape around me impacts the way<br />

I feel, and in turn my own wellbeing influences how I see the world. The<br />

creative process of layering fibres helps me convey the story of a moment, a<br />

mood or a memory, reflecting in the textures and marks in my work. My<br />

art is greatly influenced by the sea in particular, finding as I do the sea to be<br />

exhilarating, energising, powerful, spiritually uplifting, and at the same time<br />

peaceful, grounding, and healing. My dog friend and I visit the coast and<br />

landscape around us whenever possible, returning to my studio to interpret<br />

and recreate the pictures from my mind, and often my camera.<br />

www.lisawoolcottfeltart.com<br />

Unspun curly<br />

locks straight<br />

from the farm<br />

often feature in<br />

my work, and<br />

I have been<br />

known to pull<br />

fleece locks<br />

from fences<br />

whilst out<br />

walking!<br />


Melissa Birch<br />

I trained as a Fine Artist during the 1990s at<br />

the Ruskin School, Oxford and Chelsea College<br />

of Art in London but it wasn’t until I took an<br />

evening course in Brighton that I discovered a<br />

process for making lino prints without a printing<br />

press. I became hooked and decided to specialise<br />

in this medium.<br />

I have focussed solely on lino printing now for<br />

over a decade and as a result tend to see the world<br />

in line, shape or blocks of colour! I still sketch,<br />

doodle and paint quite freely in order to work<br />

out a design, but the end result is then carved<br />

into a sheet of vinyl and printed in layers of two<br />

or three colours. It gives a simplified and iconic<br />

look to the image which I love. I also like the fact<br />

that a print can be repeated several times within<br />

an edition, making the artworks more affordable<br />

while still being uniquely handmade.<br />

Since moving to this beautiful area of West <strong>Sussex</strong><br />

I am inspired on an almost daily basis by the<br />

local flora, the birds and wildlife, the changing<br />

pattern of the seasons and remarkable way that<br />

nature responds and transforms as it works its<br />

way through the annual cycle. I love the striking<br />

silhouette of a seed head against an autumn<br />

sky, the bursts of colour coming from berries<br />

in winter and the new shapes formed by buds<br />

each spring. There is a constant story of promise<br />

unfolding around us and I feel compelled to<br />

celebrate it.<br />

www.melissabirch.co.uk<br />

Elizabeth Wilkinson<br />

I am a mainly self-taught artist, living in<br />

Steyning, West <strong>Sussex</strong>.My preferred style is<br />

acrylic paint on board. More recently I have<br />

been experimenting with linocut prints and<br />

monoprints.<br />

My inspiration comes from the people, animals<br />

and landscapes that are part of my day to day life<br />

in <strong>Sussex</strong>.<br />

www.elizabethwilkinson.com<br />

10 | sussexexclusive.com

y<br />

Elizabeth Wilkinson<br />

My studio is<br />

our converted<br />

garage and is<br />

affectionately<br />

known as the<br />

‘Bat Cave’.<br />

Kevin Meeten<br />

I consider myself to be an accidental artist. A few<br />

years ago, while recovering from a serious illness,<br />

I started to paint and took great pleasure in doing<br />

so. I was surprised by how many people liked<br />

my work and began to sell it quite successfully.<br />

I have no formal art training and my work is<br />

spontaneous and unrestrained by convention.<br />

I have exhibited with Steyning Arts, Horsham<br />

Artists, and at Gallery BN5, and also sell my<br />

work at local art markets. I have a full-time job,<br />

so painting and exhibiting time is limited by this.<br />

I like to paint with acrylic, but also include mixed<br />

media like metal, plastic, electrical components<br />

and watch parts, and anything else that will give<br />

the desired effect. It doesn’t need to be an art<br />

material. I sometimes add a touch of 3D relief to<br />

my paintings, and enjoy the interesting features<br />

and effects created by this, as well as the reaction<br />

that this causes when somebody notices an<br />

unexpected something coming out of the canvas.<br />

I have a lifelong passion for all things sci-fi and<br />

fantastic, and like to create stylised portraits and<br />

abstract, futuristic landscapes. When I was a<br />

schoolboy I loved to read classic fantastic fiction<br />

by the likes of E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith, Isaac Asimov et<br />

al, and still have a passion for all sci-fi literature,<br />

cinema, T.V. and comic books. Since the 1970s<br />

and the arrival of Star Wars, sci-fi has become<br />

a huge part of modern life, and the range of<br />

characters and situation from which I can draw<br />

inspiration has grown exponentially. My studio is<br />

our converted garage and is affectionately known<br />

as the ‘Bat Cave’.<br />

Facebook: artworksbykev<br />

by<br />

Kevin Meeten<br />


<strong>Sussex</strong><br />

Folklore<br />

Strange tales of the Devil,<br />

a few giants and some cuckoos<br />

12 | sussexexclusive.com

Folklore: the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community,<br />

passed through the generations by word of mouth<br />

St. Dunstan<br />

spotted a<br />

cloven hoof<br />

under the<br />

girl’s skirt and<br />

springing up,<br />

clamped the<br />

Devil’s nose<br />

with a pair of<br />

hot tongs.<br />

Mayfield images<br />

and the Devil<br />

Folklore and legends can take many shapes and in <strong>Sussex</strong>, we have strange tales, legends and<br />

beliefs in abundance. From dragons and serpents in the west of our county, to tales of giants<br />

and the Devil in the east, the folklore of <strong>Sussex</strong> lays the foundations for interesting place<br />

names, wonderful stories and unique local customs. And if you’re a local of <strong>Sussex</strong>, you may<br />

be surprised at how much of our folklore forms an integral part of your understanding and<br />

knowledge of our county.<br />

Mayfield and the Devil<br />

Beautiful Mayfield has a curious relationship<br />

with the Devil. Legend has it that St. Dunstan<br />

(an English Bishop who lived from 909 – 988),<br />

was working in Mayfield as a blacksmith when<br />

he met the Devil disguised as a beautiful girl.<br />

Wise to the Devil’s ways, St. Dunstan spotted a<br />

cloven hoof under the girl’s skirt and springing up,<br />

clamped the Devil’s nose with a pair of hot tongs.<br />

The Devil (understandably) screamed and fled to<br />

Tunbridge Wells where he plunged his nose into<br />

the town’s famous spring waters, thereby giving<br />

them their red colour and warmth. Apparently,<br />

the tongs can still be found in Mayfield.<br />

The Devil clearly took a dislike to Mayfield and<br />

when the convent was built, the Devil reappeared<br />

to St. Dunstan and threatened to knock down<br />

all the houses in the village. St. Dunstan sprang<br />

into action once more, negotiating a deal with<br />

the Devil to leave standing any houses that had<br />

a horseshoe outside. St. Dunstan then managed<br />

to nail a horseshoe to all the houses in the<br />

village, thereby saving them from destruction but<br />

infuriating the Devil to such an extent that he<br />

continued to try and get his revenge by moving<br />

the wooden church and hindering the building<br />

of a stone one. There are many iterations of these<br />

tales, but next time you visit Mayfield, you’ll be<br />

sure to be walking in the footsteps of the Devil<br />

himself!<br />


The Devil’s<br />

work started<br />

near Poynings<br />

and the earth<br />

he threw up<br />

as part of his<br />

digging is said<br />

to have formed<br />

Chanctonbury<br />

Ring, Cissbury<br />

Ring, Rackham<br />

Hill, and Mount<br />

Caburn<br />

The Devil and his Dyke<br />

When churches started springing up all over<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong>, unsurprisingly perhaps, the Devil got<br />

rather annoyed. So he went out one night<br />

and started digging a ditch through the South<br />

Downs in order to let in the sea and flood these<br />

houses of God. His work started near Poynings<br />

and the earth he threw up as part of his digging<br />

is said to have formed Chanctonbury Ring,<br />

Cissbury Ring, Rackham Hill, and Mount<br />

Caburn. Luckily, an old woman spotted the<br />

Devil at work and held a candle up to a sieve,<br />

thereby awaking the cockerel. Seeing the light<br />

and hearing the cockerel, the Devil fled, leaving<br />

his work incomplete and we were left with<br />

Devil’s Dyke. Some say, the Devil is buried<br />

there while others swear that if you run around<br />

the Devil’s grave (a mound of earth at the Dyke)<br />

12 times or around Chanctonbury Ring, the<br />

Devil himself will appear.<br />

The Wilmington and Firle Giants<br />

Who doesn’t love a giant tale and Wilmington<br />

(or more accurately Windover Hill) and Firle<br />

are home to two of our most famous <strong>Sussex</strong><br />

giants. The Wilmington Giant apparently<br />

fought to the death with the neighbouring<br />

Firle Beacon Giant and the Long Man at<br />

Wilmington is said to be an outline of where<br />

he fell and died. There is also told of a giant at<br />

nearby Mount Caburn called Gill and some<br />

say that Mount Caburn itself is in fact shaped<br />

like the head of a giant sleeping figure with the<br />

body extending to the north. Stories are also<br />

told that there might have originally been the<br />

outline of another female giant at Wilmington,<br />

long since lost and on top of all that there are<br />

rumours of buried treasure under the Long<br />

Man of Wilmington and at Mount Caburn.<br />

Heathfield Cuckoo Fair<br />

For many, many years Heathfield has held<br />

a spring fair in April known as the Cuckoo<br />

Fair. These days, there’s even a walking and<br />

cycling trail named after it too.<br />

Different stories attest to the naming of the<br />

fair, one being that cuckoos always sang for<br />

the first time in a new year on the day of the<br />

fair, and another story maintaining that a<br />

bad-tempered old woman kept the cuckoos<br />

captive all winter. She would only release<br />

them if she was in a good mood on the day<br />

of the fair.<br />

14 | sussexexclusive.com

One other<br />

splendid<br />

manifestation<br />

of a fearsome<br />

serpent is the<br />

Knucker who<br />

lived in the<br />

Knucker Hole<br />

near the church<br />

at Lyminster<br />

near Arundel, a<br />

deep spring fed<br />

pond.<br />

Green men and Jack of the Green<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong> has our fair share of Green Man traditions<br />

often represented in local pub signs. The Green<br />

Man was a spirit like figure who led revelry and<br />

never more so is this true than in Hastings where<br />

they still hold Jack in the Green celebrations<br />

on May Day. If you happen to be in those parts<br />

at the time, you’ll see houses decorated with<br />

tassels, Morris dancing and a bevy of green men.<br />

The origins of this tradition are murky and<br />

not unique to <strong>Sussex</strong>. Some suggest the Green<br />

Man may be a pre-Christian spirit connected<br />

to nature and fertility, others say he represents<br />

summer and a time of plenty but whatever his<br />

roots, he is generally tall, colourful and covered<br />

in greenery and flowers. In Hastings, he is also<br />

accompanied by attendants who are dressed in<br />

green rags, with face paint, and there is always<br />

music, singing and dance!<br />

St. Leonard’s Dragon<br />

The Knucker<br />

Jack of the Green<br />

May day in Hastings<br />

Dragons of St. Leonard’s Forest<br />

Residents of Horsham are familiar with tales of<br />

dragons in the nearby forest. St. Leonard of<br />

Noblac was a northern French hermit<br />

who settled in the wilds of the <strong>Sussex</strong><br />

Weald and set about tidying up the<br />

growing dragon population. This he<br />

did in the forest that now bears his name by<br />

engaging the fearsome beast in mortal conflict<br />

but not without loss of his own blood. Where<br />

the brave saint’s blood was spilt in the forest,<br />

lilies of the valley sprang up, and there are still<br />

“Lily beds” in this corner of <strong>Sussex</strong> where the<br />

flowers thrive and are preserved.<br />

Sadly, the efforts of the worthy saint did not<br />

apparently rid our county of dragons and<br />

in a well recorded incident in about 1614,<br />

the independent testimony of John Steele,<br />

Christopher Holder and a widow woman<br />

dwelling near Faygate (attested to by the carrier<br />

who plied between there and the White Horse in<br />

Southwark) reported “a serpent, reputed to be nine<br />

feet in length, shaped in the form of an axle-tree<br />

(e.g. thicker in the middle and tapering at the ends)<br />

with a neck and long, black, scales and a red belly,<br />

large feet and bunches that were expected to grown<br />

into wings, and giving forth a venom that had<br />

proved fatal to several people and animals.” He had<br />

been spied within a few miles of Horsham.<br />

Recent research has suggested that this dragon<br />

most closely resembled the Comodo dragons of<br />

Indonesia. Other appearances of what must have<br />

been a dragon were at Fittleworth, Offington and<br />

on Bignor Hill, but where he came from and how<br />

he survived, no one knows!<br />

The Knucker!<br />

One other splendid manifestation of a fearsome<br />

serpent is the Knucker who lived in the Knucker<br />

Hole near the church at Lyminster near Arundel,<br />

a deep spring fed pond. He preyed upon the<br />

population and had a particular taste for young<br />

maidens. He had indeed apparently clapt his eyes<br />

but not his jaws on the King’s daughter when the<br />

King offered her in marriage to a worthy knight<br />

who duly slayed the beast and carried off his bride.<br />

An alternative version of this legend features<br />

a young, local lad, Jim Pulk, who is supposed<br />

to have lured the Knucker with an enormous,<br />

poisoned pie so large that it took a horse and cart<br />

to carry it to his hole. But the beast responded<br />

by eating the pie, horse and cart. In yet another<br />

version, young Jim killed the Knucker with his<br />

pie but foolish lad having not washed his hands<br />

after leaving the kitchen, himself succumbed to<br />

the poison.<br />

So, wherever you may find yourself walking in the<br />

darker corners of <strong>Sussex</strong>, keep your wits about you<br />

and hot tongs close by, because who knows, there<br />

may be dragons, devils and serpents there.<br />

Lucy Pitts and Peter Benner<br />


Mama Mzungu<br />

Women empowering women with albinism<br />

16 | sussexexclusive.com<br />

Some things are so exceptional that you just have to pause and catch<br />

your breath. And that’s how I felt when I first saw a short video<br />

posted on YouTube by local businesswoman and video producer,<br />

Mi Elfverson about Mama Mzungu.<br />

I first met Mi some years back at a networking event. With 25 years’<br />

experience in the film and video industry, she founded her own business in<br />

Brighton, The Vlog Academy, back in 2014 which delivers video production<br />

and training services to businesses. I’d been following Mi with interest but I<br />

never thought for a moment this would lead to Uganda.<br />

From Brighton to Uganda<br />

Mi runs an initiative called Eye Storm, which amongst other things is about<br />

training businesswomen to promote themselves via video. It’s about women<br />

owning our strengths, stepping out of the shadows and positioning ourselves as<br />

leaders in our field. As experts. As inspirers. And this is why in 2019, Mi found<br />

herself with a lady called Monica Norley, in a remote corner of Uganda, with a<br />

group of women with Albinism.

What most of us don’t know<br />

about albinism<br />

Albinism is an inherited condition and although<br />

we don’t necessarily encounter many people<br />

with albinism in the UK, it has a relatively high<br />

prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa. Accurate statistics<br />

aren’t easy to find but it’s estimated by the World<br />

Health Organization, that between “1 in 5,000 to 1<br />

in 15,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa” may have<br />

the condition. Bear in mind that 2017 statistics<br />

also suggest the Sub-Saharan Africa population is in<br />

the region of 1.06 billion, that means the number<br />

of people with albinism is significant. In fact, in<br />

Tanzania, it’s thought half the population may be<br />

related to someone with albinism.<br />

Myths surrounding albinism<br />

in Africa<br />

Whilst you may know that albinism is a<br />

condition caused by a lack of melanin in the<br />

skin, hair and eyes, in many parts of Africa the<br />

condition is shrouded in superstition, folklore<br />

and mystique. For example, it’s often believed<br />

that if you have sex with a girl with albinism<br />

who is a virgin it will bring you prosperity or<br />

cure HIV. It’s also considered lucky to have an<br />

albinism memento, such as hair or even body<br />

parts taken from someone with the condition.<br />

Some people also believe that children born<br />

with albinism whose mother doesn’t have the<br />

condition are a result of an affair with a white<br />

man and these women are often then ostracized<br />

by their community.<br />

As a result, people with albinism have been<br />

persecuted, punished, mutilated and even killed,<br />

and their life expectancy is low. As a woman<br />

or child with albinism, you are particularly<br />

vulnerable, and your life is often at risk.<br />

Mi, Monica and Mama Mzungu<br />

Against this background, cue stage left<br />

Monica Norley, an experienced International<br />

Development Consultant from Brighton<br />

whose work is focused on the economic<br />

empowerment of women. Following a<br />

crowdfunding initiative, in 2018, Monica<br />

flew to Uganda to do an initial soap making<br />

training using local products to enable a small<br />

group of women with albinism to start earning<br />

an income. Although there have been limited<br />

efforts to support these women by providing<br />

sunglasses, hats and sunscreen (very important<br />

due to the lack of melanin), nothing has been<br />

done until now, to help them become selfsufficient.<br />

After its initial success, Monica<br />

travelled back to Uganda in March 2019 for a<br />

more advanced soap making training.<br />

By a strange twist of fate, Mi was on a long car<br />

journey with her producer Georgia Rooney<br />

to a shoot and was told the story about the<br />

women and how Georgia was hoping to do a<br />

documentary about them. Mi instantly offered<br />

to fly out to Uganda with Monica, do a recce<br />

and capture some footage for it from the<br />

International Albinism Awareness Day. And<br />

so it was they found themselves in a corner of<br />

Uganda in the summer of 2019.<br />

A successful soap story<br />

After the soap making course, a number of<br />

the women stayed on and the seeds for Mama<br />

Mzungu were planted. There is now a small<br />

centre where women can live and where they<br />

have based their soap making business, Mama<br />

Mzungu. They produce beautiful, natural soaps<br />

and other handcrafted items.<br />

These Ugandan women clearly made an impact<br />

on Mi and she describes them as fun, resilient,<br />

talented, inspirational and determined. She<br />

explains, “I was just taken by the women and<br />

couldn’t stop working with them, so it’s grown<br />

to have quite an impact on my life. Working<br />

to support them aligns with my passion for<br />

helping women with the skills they need to<br />

take control of their future and promote their<br />

business with personal messages from the very<br />

heart of their company.”<br />

Supporting empowerment<br />

The progress the women of Mama Mzungu<br />

have made since 2019 has been incredible<br />

despite the inevitable challenges of the<br />

pandemic. There are now 13 women<br />

employed full time through Mama Mzungu<br />

and thanks to Monica’s hard work and<br />

determination they’ve recently secured an order<br />

with Traidcraft. But of course, there is still<br />

much to do.<br />

Most of these women have endured<br />

indescribable hardship or lived a life when<br />

they’re constantly in some sort of danger. They<br />

deserve so much more, yet they want so very<br />

little. Mama Mzungu is an example of how<br />

a handful of people can make a significant<br />

difference to the lives of others. It’s an<br />

inspirational story but one that still needs your<br />

support.<br />

You can support these women by becoming a<br />

patron for as little as £10 / month and a few<br />

clicks of a mouse: https://www.patreon.com/<br />


Alternatively, you can also order their products at:<br />

www.mamamzungu.co<br />

Mi Elfverson<br />


Don’t get stung<br />

Capital Gains Tax on Garden and Grounds<br />

18 | sussexexclusive.com<br />

When you sell your home, you might reasonably expect to pay no Capital Gains<br />

Tax (CGT) on the disposal, due to Principal Private Residence (PPR) Relief. For<br />

most homeowners selling their home, that may be right as the PPR relief will<br />

exempt any gain from CGT if:<br />

• the house has been your only or main residence throughout your period of ownership;<br />

• you have not been absent for more than an allowed period;<br />

• the garden or grounds are not greater than the permitted area; and<br />

• no part of your home has been used exclusively for business purposes.<br />

However, the third requirement relating to the garden or grounds has been in the spotlight as it<br />

is one of the methods by which HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can enhance tax revenues<br />

from higher value rural residential property.

How to determine whether your<br />

garden and grounds are greater<br />

than the permitted area?<br />

This brings into focus the procedure for<br />

determining your garden and grounds. There<br />

is a little known five step process whereby you<br />

should:<br />

• determine which buildings qualify as your<br />

main residence;<br />

• determine which land occupied with the<br />

buildings can be described as garden or<br />

grounds;<br />

• determine, if the garden or grounds are in<br />

excess of half a hectare, how much of the<br />

land is required for the reasonable enjoyment<br />

of the dwelling house as a residence;<br />

• determine which part of the garden or<br />

grounds would be the most suitable for<br />

occupation and enjoyment with the<br />

residence; and finally<br />

• apportion the proceeds of disposal and<br />

the acquisition cost between the part of<br />

the property qualifying for relief and the<br />

remainder.<br />

This five step process needs to be followed in<br />

strict order to avoid the natural process of going<br />

straight to step four and determining the location<br />

of the permitted area. Care should also be taken<br />

to avoid mixing up the requirement test in the<br />

third stage and the most suitable test in the<br />

fourth stage. Finally, it is also important to have<br />

addressed the first and second stages with larger<br />

properties or estates where there may be cottages,<br />

stables or outbuildings in addition to the main<br />

house which together may properly be regarded<br />

as the entity of the dwelling house.<br />

So what does that all mean?<br />

The basic position is that if the garden and<br />

grounds of the residence, including the site of the<br />

dwelling house, do not exceed 0.5 of a hectare<br />

(5,000 sq m or just under 1.25 acres), then relief<br />

is automatically due for the whole area.<br />

In some limited cases involving larger properties,<br />

if the site of the dwelling house exceeds 5,000<br />

sq m, then an area in excess of 5,000 sq m will<br />

qualify for PPR relief, being the site of the<br />

dwelling and its garden and grounds.<br />

If, as is more normally the case with larger<br />

properties, the garden and grounds of the<br />

residence exceed 0.5 of a hectare then relief may<br />

be available for a larger area if that larger area<br />

can fulfil the statutory test. Garden or grounds<br />

will include any enclosed land surrounding or<br />

attached to your dwelling house and serving<br />

chiefly for ornament or recreation.<br />

Not all land is entitled to relief<br />

However, not all land you hold with your<br />

dwelling house is treated as the garden or<br />

grounds of that residence. You are not entitled<br />

to relief for land let or used for a business, for<br />

example, surrounding farm land. Similarly, land<br />

which at the date of disposal has been fenced or<br />

divided off from your garden for development,<br />

or has been developed or is in the course of<br />

development (for example, excavations under<br />

way for foundations, roads, services, and so on)<br />

won’t qualify.<br />

Fencing off land for equestrian purposes<br />

may point to land unfenced scheduled for<br />

development being regarded as part of the<br />

permitted location and therefore exempt from<br />

CGT. This is but one of many opportunities to<br />

reduce the impact of CGT on your garden and<br />

grounds when you sell your main residence.<br />

The 60 day tax return<br />

A capital gain will arise from a disposal<br />

where the proceeds of sale exceed all relevant<br />

expenditure. For those with no other<br />

chargeable gains arising in the year, the annual<br />

exempt amount will be available to reduce<br />

the chargeable gain and therefore the tax<br />

liability arising.<br />

Presently, any CGT due is payable 60 days<br />

following the completion, and you should<br />

remember a disposal includes not only a sale to<br />

a third party but also exchanges of property and<br />

gifts of property within your family.<br />

If there is no gain due or the gain is exempt<br />

due to PPR, then there is no CGT due and<br />

there is no requirement to file a 60 day CGT<br />

tax return.<br />

Avoiding penalties and interest<br />

Where CGT is payable, you will need to be<br />

aware that the calculation for the gain will need<br />

to be completed either in the run up to the<br />

disposal or immediately after the sale, as late<br />

filing penalties and interest will apply in cases of<br />

not making the return or failing to pay within<br />

the 60 days allowed.<br />

Good records will need to be kept to calculate<br />

the gain, for example the purchase price,<br />

subsequent acquisitions, any improvement<br />

expenditure and incidental professional fees.<br />

It may also be necessary to instruct a valuer<br />

to assist in calculating the gain and any<br />

apportionment between permitted areas and<br />

non-permitted area.<br />

If you would like to discuss these elements of<br />

Capital Gains Tax, and how they may affect<br />

you, please get in touch.<br />

Stuart Ritchie is a<br />

chartered accountant<br />

and chartered tax<br />

adviser with over 30<br />

years’ experience. He<br />

is a tax partner with<br />

Ritchie Philips LLP<br />

based in Horsham<br />

and can be contacted<br />

on 020 3195 1300<br />

or stuart.ritchie@<br />

ritchiephillips.co.uk<br />

He has direct experience<br />

of securing CGT<br />

exemption for gardens<br />

sold for development,<br />

multiple buildings<br />

qualifying as a single<br />

dwelling for CGT<br />

purposes so that sale of<br />

subservient buildings<br />

are CGT exempt, and<br />

the sale of properties<br />

in excess of 10 acres all<br />

qualifying for CGT<br />

exemption.<br />


3<br />

1<br />

2<br />

Spring Style<br />

Donna Camera spills the beans on this season’s<br />

essentials from floral prints to chunky boots!<br />

6<br />

We’ve been buried in thick knits and woolly scarves for far too long and<br />

as the evenings get lighter and the weather gets warmer most of us are<br />

yearning to throw off the shackles of winter and embrace some lighter,<br />

brighter styles. We’ve got some great trends emerging this spring<br />

and here are six of my favourites.<br />

20 | sussexexclusive.com

4<br />

5<br />

1 Flower print<br />

It’s all gone a bit Austin Powers. Wear bold and<br />

bright. Following fashion’s love for maximalism<br />

again, retro prints are making a big statement in<br />

<strong>2022</strong>. 3D geometric shapes, bold flower and curvy<br />

asymmetrical lines will reign supreme this year.<br />

And it doesn’t get bolder and brighter than this<br />

gorgeous trouser / shirt combo from Hannah (£79<br />

each). Wear together or separately to create quite a<br />

stir. Groovy baby.<br />

2 Slogan T-shirts<br />

Slogan shirts are an absolute essential for any<br />

fashionista. Whether you want to wear a t-shirt<br />

supporting your favourite band or share a<br />

personalised message that speaks from your heart.<br />

I love this easy to wear ‘Peace, love and freedom’<br />

t-shirt from Globe (£35). Perfect for weekends<br />

and chilling with the kids.<br />

3 Tailoring<br />

Embrace tailoring this spring. Dress up your<br />

t-shirts and tops by throwing on a blazer and<br />

teaming it with wide legged trousers and a trainer<br />

for the day or killer heals for the night.<br />

This pale blouse blazer by Michelle is easy to wear,<br />

very flattering and just oozes spring (£38).<br />

4 Go green!<br />

Green is a big, big colour trend for spring. Not<br />

only inspired by the “Wordle” trend but green is<br />

the perfect colour to wear as spring is sprung.<br />

Isn’t this maxi dress gorgeous. Onjenu is one<br />

of my favourite brands and I love their bright<br />

colours, easy to wear and really flattering styles.<br />

You can literally roll this Onjenu Tilly maxi dress<br />

up in a suitcase and it will still be ready to wear<br />

when you unpack (£125).<br />

5 Romantic feminine<br />

Romantic floral prints are everywhere in pretty,<br />

pretty prints. But style your feminine floral print<br />

up a notch by teaming your dress with a more<br />

masculine biker jacket and chunky boot.<br />

Easy to wear, I love this Meadow dress (£69)<br />

because it’s another item you can wear on the<br />

beach, in the park, or at a smart restaurant.<br />

6 Spring boots<br />

Boot season used to be confined to the winter<br />

months, but not anymore. From cowboy boots at<br />

festivals to knee-highs worn with mini hemlines,<br />

fashion types have cemented boots as a year-round<br />

shoe staple. Of course, this isn’t news to Brit<br />

girls—our changeable weather (even in the height<br />

of summer) means that we keep our boots within<br />

arm’s reach at all times.<br />

One of my all time favourites, this soft cream,<br />

vegan leather chunky boot can be teamed with<br />

dresses or denims (£48).<br />

Donna<br />

https://lavidaboutique.co.uk/<br />

Donna Camera<br />

has worked in<br />

fashion for over<br />

20 years and<br />

is founder and<br />

owner of La<br />

Vida Boutique in<br />

Horsham which<br />

specialises<br />

in affordable<br />

luxury in ladies’<br />

fashion and<br />

accessories.<br />


22 | sussexexclusive.com<br />

Sundays<br />

are for…<br />

Life’s little luxuries<br />

and simple pleasures

Whether it’s Mother’s Day, Easter Day or just time spent with family or on your own, Sundays<br />

should be a time for relaxation, recovery and reconnecting with the things, people or places you<br />

love. And if you’re looking for inspiration, here are six different ways you can spend a wonderful<br />

few hours doing nothing very much.<br />

Afternoon tea at The Cooden<br />

Beach Hotel in Bexhill,<br />

East <strong>Sussex</strong>.<br />

Bexhill is often underrated as a great place for a<br />

Sunday walk and the Cooden Beach Hotel has a<br />

Brasserie on the Beach and Café Bar. Choose a<br />

simple cream tea, a full afternoon tea or go big<br />

and opt for a glass of Champagne with your cake.<br />

And why not.<br />

A long walk on the South Downs<br />

The South Downs never fails to disappoint and<br />

come sun, rain, hell or high water, it’s always<br />

a majestic experience. Ideally if you’re out for<br />

a long ramble, you want to finish somewhere<br />

with a good pub. Try parking at Wilmington<br />

(just outside Polegate) and walking up past the<br />

Long Man of Wilmington and Windover Hill.<br />

There are lots of stunning routes to explore here<br />

and then you can head to beautiful and historic<br />

Alfriston for a pub lunch.<br />

Foraging in antique shops<br />

and flea markets<br />

Head west to Petworth or Arundel for a<br />

wonderous choice of antique shops, flea markets<br />

and boutiques selling all sorts of curiosities. In<br />

Arundel, Spencer Swaffer Antiques is a labyrinth<br />

of finds and in Tarrant Street you’ll find Nineveh<br />

House with crafts and vintage. Meanwhile in<br />

Petworth, don’t miss the Petworth Antiques<br />

Market. If you want to go really eclectic, think<br />

Brighton and the North Laine district.<br />

A lingering lunch<br />

The pandemic was really hard for our <strong>Sussex</strong><br />

pubs and lots of them have been lost. So why not<br />

support the community and head to your local<br />

for a long and lingering Sunday lunch. Is there a<br />

mother out there who wouldn’t enjoy not cooking<br />

Sunday lunch and is there a better feeling on a<br />

Sunday afternoon than sleeping off a great meal?<br />

Particular favourites here at SE are The Red Lion<br />

at Handcross and The Chequers at Rowhook but<br />

we also love pushing the boat out at The Heritage<br />

in Slaugham.<br />

Rock pooling on the south coast<br />

A great one for those with little ones, why not<br />

head to Goring and Ferring for a beach walk.<br />

Check the tide times first because at low tide<br />

you have the great combination of sandy beaches<br />

and rock pools. The Bluebird Café at Ferring is<br />

dog friendly and if you walk from there back to<br />

Goring or Worthing, there’s a semi sunk boat that<br />

kids love to play in.<br />

Take a step back in time<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong> has a number of amazing Medieval castles.<br />

These include Arundel Castle, Pevensey Castle,<br />

Bodiam Castle, Herstmonceux Castle, Rye Castle<br />

and Hastings Castle. A visit to most of these<br />

almost immediately brings alive the great history<br />

of <strong>Sussex</strong> as you lose yourself in the stories of<br />

those who walked here before us.<br />

Why not<br />

support the<br />

community and<br />

head to your<br />

local for a long<br />

and lingering<br />

Sunday lunch.<br />


Enjoying the<br />

outdoors &<br />

a touch of France<br />

At The Chequers at Rowhook<br />

24 | sussexexclusive.com

The Chequers at Rowhook offers a<br />

warm welcome for walkers, families<br />

and friends, so why not join us and<br />

enjoy French inspired cuisine made<br />

from the very best local and seasonal<br />

ingredients. With two terraces and a large garden,<br />

it’s the perfect place to soak up the warm early<br />

summer sunshine and celebrate Mother’s Day<br />

or Easter.<br />

Woodland walks and daffodils<br />

With a network of footpaths running straight<br />

to The Chequers’ front door, it’s easy to build<br />

up an appetite exploring the countryside, before<br />

sitting down for a wholesome lunch. From nearby<br />

Rudgwick, there’s a stunning woodland walk that<br />

brings you to Rowhook and you can also walk<br />

from nearby Warnham, Slinfold, Broadbridge<br />

Heath and even Horsham.<br />

Fresh local produce, French<br />

inspired cuisine<br />

At this time of year our menu includes fresh local<br />

lamb, samphire and morel mushrooms picked by<br />

us on the South Downs, combined with all our<br />

familiar favourites. Every dish is freshly-prepared<br />

in our country kitchen and we offer a fine dining<br />

menu as well as lighter dishes served in our bar area.<br />

We also offer a selection of our fantastic wines.<br />

Wines on our list suit every budget and they’re<br />

sourced from all over the globe, from vineyards in<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong> to France, Italy and the New World. In the<br />

bar, there’s also a diverse range of local ales.<br />

Creating memories<br />

As the weather turns finer, we throw open the<br />

patio doors so you can eat on our terrace outside<br />

and enjoy a chilled glass of wine in the sunshine.<br />

With homemade chocolates for Mother’s Day, and<br />

Easter just around the corner, our philosophy is<br />

simple: to provide you with an unforgettable pub<br />

dining experience that will ensure you return to<br />

the Chequers again and again!<br />

A unique <strong>Sussex</strong> pub<br />

Our pub welcomes dogs, and you’ll even find dog<br />

treats on the bar of our beautiful 15th century<br />

building. The Chequers is in the AA, Michelin and<br />

Master Chefs of Great Britain guides. We have two<br />

restaurants, plenty of seating and free parking.<br />

Call now to book:<br />

The Chequers Inn<br />

Rowhook Road, Horsham, RH12 3PY<br />

01403 790480<br />


Sounds of spring at RSPB<br />

Pulborough Brooks<br />

Anna Allum shares the secret of the dawn chorus and<br />

tempts us to watch the sun rise over this West <strong>Sussex</strong> nature reserve<br />

Song of a Nightingale<br />

© Gareth Hughes<br />

Arriving in the dark there are stars in the sky, a chill in the air and the only sound is the<br />

song of the nightingale. The yawns and heavy eyes of the early start are soon forgotten as<br />

you marvel at the rich melodious notes, piping calls and bizarre frog-like croaks of this<br />

most celebrated songster.<br />

As dawn breaks and the sun begins to rise other voices join in with the concert; the<br />

mellow tones of the blackbird, the wistful tune of the robin and the strident notes of the song thrush.<br />

The latter is fairly easy to pick out from the noise, offering up a string of different phrases, seemingly<br />

never able to settle on just one. The early-to-rise are eventually joined by others including the shouty<br />

wren, twittering finches, and those tricky warblers, otherwise known as “little brown jobs”!<br />

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Hollybush Hill<br />

© D Andrews<br />

Lapwing<br />

© Chris Prince<br />

The dawn<br />

chorus<br />

...This time of<br />

the day is ideal<br />

for birds trying<br />

to attract a<br />

mate as the<br />

cool dense air<br />

and lack of<br />

background<br />

noise means<br />

their song will<br />

carry 20 times<br />

further.<br />

The gift of the dawn chorus<br />

One of the greatest gifts the natural world gives us<br />

is the dawn chorus, that cacophony of birdsong<br />

that eases us from the depths of sleep and<br />

introduces a new day. This time of the day is ideal<br />

for birds trying to attract a mate as the cool dense<br />

air and lack of background noise means their song<br />

will carry 20 times further. It’s a declaration from<br />

the male birds: “I’m awake, I’m handsome, strong<br />

and I have this wonderful patch where we can nest<br />

and raise a family!”<br />

RSPB Pulborough Brooks nature reserve provides<br />

a home for over 2000 different species and is<br />

particularly good for spring songsters. They have<br />

moved in to enjoy the woodland, hedgerows<br />

and the dense pockets of bramble and spiky<br />

blackthorn that provide song perches, shelter<br />

for nests and plenty of food to feed the hungry<br />

mouths of their chicks.<br />

The secrets of sun rise<br />

As the sun begins to creep over the horizon and<br />

cast dappled light through the trees, the birdsong<br />

will dwindle as new priorities take over; hungry<br />

tummies must now be filled, both the birds and<br />

ours. I am glad that the café is open for breakfast!<br />

If you’ve never taken the time to properly listen<br />

to a dawn chorus, then I implore you to give it a<br />

go this year. If you would like to join us to enjoy<br />

this wonderful experience, take a look at our range<br />

of brilliant birdsong events this spring https://<br />

events.rspb.org.uk/pulboroughbrooks<br />

Re-fuelled, you can continue along the paths. The<br />

soft yellow of primroses liven up the trail-side<br />

banks, bright green leaves on the woodland floor<br />

promise a fine display of bluebells and the star-like<br />

flowers of greater stitchwort twinkle from the<br />

undergrowth.<br />

Down to the wetlands and scanning across the<br />

brooks you spot black and white birds tumbling<br />

in an aerial display. As you watch, a yodel-like tyulu-lu<br />

call carries across the grassland and, with a<br />

quiver of wings as it lands, a red-legged bird starts<br />

to patrol the edge of the pool. It is the time of year<br />

to enjoy our breeding wading birds.<br />

A <strong>Sussex</strong> display<br />

The redshank, with its long, slim orange bill<br />

and orange-red legs goes by another name –<br />

the ‘warden of the marsh’. Ever-alert, when<br />

not delicately probing the mud at the water’s<br />

edge for invertebrate prey, it may be perched<br />

on a fence post keeping a lookout for anyone<br />

or anything who might be a danger. If it spots<br />

something amiss its call escalates to a loud<br />

siren-like alarm. If we have a pair they’ll settle<br />

down to breed in the wet meadows, pulling<br />

across grass blades to form a protective canopy<br />

over their nest which is a shallow scrape on the<br />

ground.<br />

Although the redshank’s role as ‘warden of the<br />

marsh’ is helpful to any other breeding waders,<br />

they do get into occasional territorial squabbles<br />

with the lapwings. We have more ‘common’<br />

names for lapwings than any other British bird –<br />

flopwings, flapjacks & toppyups to name just a<br />

few. Perhaps it is their impressive feathery crest,<br />

or their acrobatic displays, or their distinctive<br />

call that sparks our imagination. Whichever, the<br />

wealth of names is an indication of how wellestablished<br />

the lapwing is in our culture – it<br />

truly is an iconic bird.<br />

Here in <strong>Sussex</strong>, it is probably best known as<br />

the peewit, a nod to the calls they make as they<br />

display in springtime. From a distance, lapwings<br />

appear to have black and white plumage, but a<br />

closer inspection reveals rich iridescent purples<br />

and bottle green.<br />

A visit to RSPB Pulborough Brooks at this time<br />

of year should reward you with this fabulous<br />

sight and sound.<br />


Our<br />

<strong>Exclusive</strong> <strong>Sussex</strong><br />

Wine Tour<br />

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Discover our <strong>Sussex</strong> wine heritage<br />

and explore these three wine epicentres of West <strong>Sussex</strong>

You can’t help but notice that the <strong>Sussex</strong> wine industry has grown dramatically over the last two<br />

decades. At the last count, <strong>Sussex</strong> had about 70 vineyards which account for about a quarter of the<br />

UK’s total wine production. <strong>Sussex</strong> has also built an increasingly impressive reputation for producing<br />

top quality sparkling wines that are rated amongst some of the best in the world, with many<br />

individual vineyards being award winning or multi award winning.<br />

A Grand Wine Tour of <strong>Sussex</strong><br />

With the above in mind, it<br />

feels only right to take a<br />

deeper dive into what is<br />

developing into a fantastic<br />

local heritage. But with so<br />

many great vineyards, a full and comprehensive<br />

tour taking in all 70 in one go, could be rather<br />

intensive for your liver. So we’ve divided our<br />

Great <strong>Sussex</strong> Wine Tour into three stages (which<br />

we’ll be sharing in this and the next two editions<br />

of <strong>Sussex</strong> <strong>Exclusive</strong> Magazine), namely West,<br />

Mid and East <strong>Sussex</strong>.<br />

Each stage will highlight some of the must visit<br />

vineyards or wines to try as well as including<br />

places to stay, and other points of interest, so that<br />

you can gently wash down plentiful amounts<br />

of local wine whilst taking in some of the many<br />

wonders of our county. But before we set sail,<br />

there’s just time to set the scene.<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong> wine making history<br />

Whilst wine was probably consumed in England<br />

during the Iron Age, it is believed that it was the<br />

Romans who introduced vines and cultivation<br />

to England and <strong>Sussex</strong>. After they left, wine<br />

making may have dwindled but with the arrival<br />

of the Normans, winemaking was back with a<br />

vengeance. There were 45 vineyards recorded<br />

in the Domesday Book, all in the south-east of<br />

England with most belonging to the Normans or<br />

the great abbeys (of which we had our fair share<br />

in <strong>Sussex</strong>).<br />

Wine making seems to have thrived in England<br />

until the 12 th and 13 th century, when the Crown<br />

acquired an area of France that provided a reliable<br />

source of wine, and the English climate began<br />

to worsen. By 1275, for example, the vineyard<br />

at Battle Abbey had ceased grape production<br />


But with so<br />

many great<br />

vineyards, a full<br />

and comprehensive<br />

tour taking<br />

in all 70 in one<br />

go, could be<br />

rather intensive<br />

for your liver.<br />

and although thereafter, wine making in <strong>Sussex</strong><br />

limped on, it wasn’t really until the mid-20 th<br />

century that it started to re-emerge as a viable<br />

concern.<br />

Bolney Wine Estate was established in West<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong> in 1972 and was one of the first new<br />

commercial vineyards in England. Breaky Bottom<br />

in East <strong>Sussex</strong> was another pioneering vineyard<br />

planted near Lewes in 1974. And with these two,<br />

the beginning of a new era was born.<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong> terroir<br />

To understand why <strong>Sussex</strong> is now proving to be<br />

such a successful wine producing region, you<br />

have to start by understanding just a little about<br />

the <strong>Sussex</strong> terroir, terroir being the environment<br />

in which wine is produced, including the soil,<br />

topography, and climate.<br />

Very broadly speaking, across the south, you have<br />

the chalky North and South Downs running<br />

more or less parallel. In between the two, you<br />

have an almost triangular shaped area known as<br />

The Weald which is a mixture of clay in the Low<br />

Weald area and sandstone in the High Weald.<br />

This mix of chalk and sandy soil is similar to that<br />

found in the Champagne region of France.<br />

Climate change (particularly over the last 10<br />

years) has also played its part in the <strong>Sussex</strong> wine<br />

revival, with the county enjoying increasingly dry,<br />

warm summers and cool winters, allowing the<br />

grapes to ripen slowly. The maritime influence<br />

helps too, ensuring the grapes develop high levels<br />

of natural acidity which is particularly important<br />

for sparkling wines. And our many southfacing<br />

slopes are ideal for grape varieties such<br />

as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier<br />

– or the sparkling wine magic three as they are<br />

sometimes known.<br />

Wine in <strong>Sussex</strong> today<br />

According to Wine GB South East, as of 2020,<br />

the three most popular varieties of grape in our<br />

region are indeed Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and<br />

Pinot Meunier primarily used for sparkling wine<br />

production and accounting for 75% of vines<br />

planted. But there are now also an increasing<br />

number of still wines being produced in <strong>Sussex</strong><br />

including some rosés and reds. Other grape<br />

varieties grown here include Dornfelder, Bacchus,<br />

Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.<br />

In 2016, a group of <strong>Sussex</strong> wineries applied for<br />

PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) – an<br />

official EU designation for quality products for<br />

the region. Defra approved the application and<br />

final sign off from the European Commission<br />

30 | sussexexclusive.com

is thought to be imminent. The impact of this<br />

will be that only wine produced from local<br />

grapes within the county borders can be called<br />

‘<strong>Sussex</strong> Wine’ much like the French ‘appellation<br />

controlee’.<br />

Our West <strong>Sussex</strong> Wine Tour<br />

The first of our three tours, takes you west via<br />

the historic towns of Horsham and Petworth,<br />

before you come almost full circle and finish in<br />

Pulborough.<br />

Horsham<br />

Historic Horsham has plenty on offer for the<br />

first stop of your tour. It has a central market<br />

square with a twice weekly market, a theatre, two<br />

cinemas and a music and comedy venue, as well<br />

as some exceptional restaurants like Restaurant<br />

Tristan, South Lodge, Interlude and The<br />

Chequers at Rowhook.<br />

For exploring and for local walks, escape to<br />

Leechpool and Owlbeech Wood, St. Leonard’s<br />

Forest, the Downs Link or Leonardslee Lakes and<br />

Gardens. For more cerebral pursuits, head down<br />

the historic Causeway to the town’s museum.<br />

Vineyards and wines<br />

Villa Elena is just south of Horsham and<br />

although small, they grow Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir,<br />

Bacchus and Seyval Blanc. They produce just one<br />

still wine at the moment, but you can visit the<br />

vineyard by arrangement, and they seem to have<br />

quite a unique and alternative vibe.<br />

Mannings Heath Golf & Wine Estate is part<br />

of the Benguela Collection, which consists of<br />

nearby Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens as well<br />

as Benguela Cove Wine Estate in South Africa.<br />

They have 30 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay<br />

and Pinot Meunier and hope to produce their<br />

first vintage of Estate English Sparkling wine in<br />

2023. They also have a new winery planned for<br />

<strong>2022</strong>. They offer vineyard tours by golf buggy<br />

and then wine tastings of Benguela Cove wines,<br />

all while overlooking the vines.<br />

Coolhurst Vineyard. Not far from Mannings<br />

Heath and Horsham, this family run vineyard<br />

is fast gaining a reputation for producing one of<br />

England’s finest sparkling rosé wines produced<br />

from 100% Pinot Noir and named Lady<br />

Elizabeth. They also produce an almost unique<br />

traditional method vintage rosé demi-sec;<br />

Pump Alley near<br />

Causeway in Horsham<br />


Petworth House and<br />

a Petworth cobbled<br />

street<br />

thought be the only one in the UK, also 100%<br />

Pinot Noir. They don’t offer tours yet but watch<br />

this space.<br />

House Coren. Very recently planted, House<br />

Coren at The Haven just west of Horsham<br />

produce an almost unique sparkling wine<br />

using the Charmat method, a technique where<br />

the wine undergoes secondary fermentation<br />

in sealed tanks rather than in the bottle. This<br />

vineyard is small but buzzing with energy and a<br />

stated intention to be accessible to nervous wine<br />

novices who want to visit. They are also in the<br />

process of building their own winery so again,<br />

watch this space.<br />

Places to stay in Horsham<br />

For top of the range places to stay, South<br />

Lodge and Leonardslee just to the<br />

east of the town are a must. The<br />

Windmill Inn is a 17 th century<br />

country pub with lots of period<br />

charm, great reviews and at a<br />

convenient spot just south<br />

of Horsham and not far<br />

from the Downs Link. For<br />

something a bit more off<br />

the beaten track, you could<br />

try the 16 th century country<br />

hotel Random Hall just<br />

outside Slinfold.<br />

You can find out more about<br />

Horsham on our website:<br />

Visit Horsham<br />

Petworth<br />

Petworth is a stunning market town which has<br />

so much to see and do. It has the fabulous and<br />

historic Petworth House and Park (a National<br />

Trust property), art galleries, antique shops and<br />

markets, a monthly farmers market, a number<br />

of heritage sites and, of course, beautiful<br />

architecture. If you’re spending anytime in<br />

Petworth, you should always take a little time<br />

to explore the South Downs or discover nearby<br />

Midhurst with its historic ruins, or Chichester<br />

just a little further south.<br />

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Petworth may not have a theatre, but they<br />

do have the oldest street fair in the south<br />

of England (in November), Petworth<br />

Festival (a music and arts extravaganza in the<br />

summer), a Literary Week (in October), an<br />

Antiques Fair (in May) and its own Petworth<br />

Fringe! Good watering holes are also in<br />

abundance and include E. Street Bar and<br />

Grill in Petworth, Farmer, Butcher, Chef at<br />

Goodwood Hotel and The Lickfold Inn in<br />

Lickfold.<br />

Vineyards and wines<br />

Roebuck Estates. Based in Tillington,<br />

just west of Petworth, Roebuck Estates<br />

first planted their Chardonnay, Pinot Noir<br />

and Pinot Meunier back in 2006 and now<br />

have vineyards across <strong>Sussex</strong> at Blackdown,<br />

Lurgashall, Slinfold, Bewl Water Reservoir<br />

and just east of Petworth at their Roman<br />

villa site. They are also a sustainable wine<br />

producer as certified by Sustainable Wines of<br />

Great Britain. Majoring on sparkling wine<br />

they are the proud recipients of a number<br />

of awards and although they don’t offer<br />

vineyard tours and tastings, you can buy their<br />

wines at the wine merchants in Petworth if<br />

you want a fully local experience.<br />

Upperton Vineyard. First planted in 2005,<br />

Upperton, also in Tillington, currently has<br />

6,000 vines producing between 6,000 and<br />

10,000 bottles per year. Again, they grow a<br />

mixture of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and<br />

Pinot Noir for their sparkling wine and they<br />

offer private vineyard tours and wine tasting<br />

which culminate on their rather gorgeous<br />

terrace with views across the South Downs.<br />

Blackdown Ridge. North west of Petworth<br />

and somewhat off the beaten track, the<br />

first vines were planted here in 2010 and<br />

these were used to create this vineyard’s first<br />

sparkling wine in 2015. Blackridge is already<br />

multi award winning and they have now also<br />

planted Bacchus, Triomphe and Sauvignon<br />

Blanc for their still wines. They offer tours<br />

of their vineyard and winery which end with<br />

a tasting session of their still and sparkling<br />

wines in this beautiful and very tranquil<br />

corner of West <strong>Sussex</strong>.<br />

Tinwood Estate. A 20-minute drive south<br />

west of Petworth, Tinwood Estate first<br />

planted their vines in 2007, and have since<br />

gained quite a reputation for their sparkling<br />

wines which include a rosé. They offer<br />

vineyard tours which conclude in their swank<br />

and stylish tasting rooms with its glasscovered<br />

veranda and fabulous views. They<br />

also do afternoon teas.<br />


Places to stay in Petworth<br />

For this leg of your tour, you could stay at the<br />

Tinwood Estate in one of their luxury vineyard<br />

lodges, with views over the vines and the setting<br />

sun or you could opt for nearby Goodwood<br />

Hotel. Just outside Petworth is the delightful<br />

Old Railway Station where you can stay in a<br />

beautifully refurbished railway carriage or stay in<br />

the town itself in the historic Angel Inn.<br />

You can find out more about Petworth on our<br />

website: Visit Petworth<br />

Pulborough<br />

On the last leg of your West <strong>Sussex</strong> wine tour,<br />

Pulborough is a bit of a must because it has<br />

such a cluster of vineyards. In the surrounding<br />

area you also have the West <strong>Sussex</strong> Golf Club,<br />

Pulborough Brooks RSPB nature reserve,<br />

Bignor Roman Villa and of course nearby<br />

Arundel with its magnificent castle, cathedral<br />

and quirky historic town. If you have time, you<br />

should also visit Amberley Museum and have<br />

one last ramble along the South Downs.<br />

For fine dining The Parsons Table in Arundel<br />

and Amberley Castle’s restaurant are both<br />

outstanding. Or head to The White Hart right<br />

next to Stopham Bridge which is a beautiful<br />

Grade I listed building and a Scheduled<br />

Monument believed to date back to 1422-3.<br />

If it’s entertainment you’re after, try and coincide<br />

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your visit with one of the events held at<br />

Kinsbrook Vineyard. They have live music<br />

every Sunday from the spring onwards as well<br />

as hosting various other events.<br />

Stopham Vineyard. The first vineyard you<br />

come to as you travel from Petworth, Stopham<br />

was first planted in 2007 and they produce<br />

still and sparkling white wines from their<br />

Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Bacchus,<br />

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties.<br />

They have their own winery in a converted<br />

Grade II listed Victorian barn, and offer<br />

vineyard, winery and wine tasting tours. Their<br />

particular claim to fame is having been chosen<br />

for the Queen’s party on the Royal Barge at her<br />

Diamond Jubilee celebrations.<br />

Kinsbrook Vineyard. On a sunny day,<br />

Kinsbrook has a distinctly French vibe and<br />

you can grab a coffee and enjoy it in the<br />

vineyard itself. They first planted in 2017 as<br />

an extension of the family farm and now have<br />

over 45,000 vines. They have their own Pinot<br />

Gris and Bacchus, and a Vintage Cuvée made<br />

from Hampshire grapes. They offer tastings<br />

and tours and have a KIN Bubble in one of<br />

the fields where there is an informal café and<br />

wine bar as well as a horse box café. There<br />

are also plans afoot for a new farm shop and<br />

eatery.<br />

Nutbourne Vineyard. On the edge of the<br />

West <strong>Sussex</strong> Literary Trail, Nutbourne describe<br />

themselves as a boutique family vineyard who<br />

produce still and sparkling wine. They first<br />

planted as long ago as 1979 and have 26 acres<br />

under vine, planted with Bacchus, Huxelrebe<br />

and Reichensteiner, as well as Pinot Noir,<br />

Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and<br />

Pinot Blanc. They even have the remains of an<br />

old windmill! They do vineyards trails, tours<br />

and tastings which include vineyards picnics<br />

with seasonal <strong>Sussex</strong> produce from the farm<br />

and kitchens.<br />

Nyetimber. One of our <strong>Sussex</strong> big guns, and<br />

right next door to Nutbourne, Nyetimber<br />

claim to be able to trace their wine making<br />

heritage back to the Domesday Book. More<br />

recently, the current Nyetimber enterprise<br />

planted their first Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and<br />

Pinot Meunier vines in 1988 and have gone<br />

on to win lots of awards for their sparkling<br />

wine. Throughout the year they have specific<br />

open days when you can enjoy a wine tour<br />

followed by tasting in their 15 th century barn.<br />

You can find out more about Arundel at<br />

https://sussexexclusive.com/10-things-to-doin-arundel-west-sussex/<br />


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Easter Lunch Lamb<br />

Vanessa Jamieson rustles up mouth-watering pomegranate<br />

glazed lamb with Moroccan spiced roasted vegetables and rice<br />

What’s not to<br />

like about this<br />

easy to prepare<br />

lamb dish? It<br />

feeds 8 people<br />

so is a great<br />

supper dish for<br />

when you want<br />

to entertain a<br />

crowd. It looks<br />

impressive<br />

but is very<br />

straightforward.<br />

Pomegranate glazed lamb<br />

Ingredients:<br />

Whole shoulder of bone in lamb<br />

4 tsp minced garlic<br />

(I use lazy garlic to save on time)<br />

4 tsp ground cinnamon<br />

4 tsp ground cumin<br />

2 tbsp dried oregano<br />

Lemon<br />

3 large red onions – cut into large chunks<br />

1 lt carton pomegranate juice<br />

3 tbsp clear honey<br />

100 g pomegranate seeds<br />

Handful of mint leaves, chopped<br />

Method:<br />

You will need to start this 24 hours before.<br />

Mix together the garlic, cinnamon, cumin oregano<br />

and lemon juice. Put the lamb into a large roasting<br />

tin and massage the marinade thoroughly all over.<br />

Put it in the fridge for 24 hours.<br />

Remove the lamb 1 hour before cooking. Heat<br />

the oven to 170c/150c fan /gas 3. Put the onion<br />

wedges in the bottom then places the lamb on<br />

top. Pour over the pomegranate juice and cover<br />

tightly with foil. Cook for 4 hours.<br />

Remove the foil and pour the juices into a large<br />

pan. If some of the onions fall in as well it is<br />

fine! Re-cover the lamb and cook for a further 30<br />

mins. Meanwhile add the honey to the juices and<br />

then boil until reduced to a thick syrup.<br />

Pour the sticky glaze over the lamb and onions<br />

and return to the oven uncovered, until the glaze<br />

is bubbling and starting to char. Shred the lamb<br />

and stir in with the onions. Scatter over the<br />

pomegranate seeds and chopped mint leaves.<br />

Moroccan spiced roasted<br />

vegetables and rice<br />

Ingredients:<br />

800g carrots, cut into chunks<br />

2 tbsp olive oil<br />

2 large red onions cut into wedges<br />

2 tbsp Moroccan spice mix<br />

1 large cauliflower separated into florets<br />

3 x 250g microwaveable rice – I used garlic<br />

flavoured which worked well<br />

3 tbsp pomegranate molasses<br />

Large handful of chopped green herbs – I used<br />

coriander, mint and dill<br />

125g pomegranate seeds<br />

Zest and juice of one lemon<br />

150g natural yoghurt<br />

Method:<br />

Heat the oven to 200c/180c fan/gas 6. Put the<br />

carrots and red onion in a roasting tin and coat<br />

with the olive oil, salt and pepper and stir in the<br />

Moroccan spice mix. Roast for 20 mins then add<br />

the cauliflower and roast for a further 25 mins.<br />

Add the cold rice to the dish, stir through with<br />

the pomegranate molasses and put back in oven,<br />

covered with foil for a further 20 mins.<br />

Scatter over the herbs, lemon zest/juice and<br />

pomegranate seeds. Add several dollops of<br />

yoghurt on top.<br />


Breaking the Law<br />

To run, or not to run?<br />

Tim Canham explains Philip’s Law and the art and joy of running in secret<br />

What is this exercise thing all about?<br />

Why do people bother to pull on shorts and trainers and put themselves through discomfort<br />

and pain, with the bonus of blisters, strains, torn muscles, and painful backs?<br />

Not to mention the smirking strangers, as you plod down the street or slip out of the<br />

swimming pool in a pair of Speedos.<br />

Philip’s<br />

second law<br />

of exercise is<br />

“Participants<br />

in all forms<br />

of exercise<br />

should never<br />

speak of<br />

it in polite<br />

company.<br />

Nobody is<br />

interested. It’s<br />

Wordle for<br />

legs.<br />

Here we go<br />

I do a bit of exercise and sport. So, when it was<br />

suggested I might like to write a little about this<br />

I wondered, well panicked really. How do I start?<br />

How can I explain why I do it, why I like it?<br />

I reached for my phone and rang one of my oldest<br />

friends for help. A problem shared and all that. I<br />

was looking for advice about beginning to explain<br />

why and how this exercise thing was a good idea,<br />

and why exercise plays a part in my life. I was a bit<br />

taken back by his response.<br />

‘I hate exercising. And most people who see<br />

anything written about exercise and sport will<br />

immediately move on to the next page.’<br />

It was at this point that “Philip’s Law” smacked<br />

me around the face like a wet fish.<br />

We all remember a few laws from school. “For<br />

every action there is an equal and opposite<br />

reaction” our own Sir Isaac. ‘Doing the same thing<br />

over and over and expecting a different outcome.’<br />

Thank you, Albert (probably).<br />

Now we can add Philip’s Law to the collection.<br />

Allow me to define it.<br />

Philip’s first law says, “All exercise is pants and I<br />

hate it: it is probably a waste of time. Diet has<br />

more impact on health.”<br />

Philip’s second law of exercise is, “Participants in all<br />

forms of exercise should never speak of it in polite<br />

company. Nobody is interested. It’s Wordle for legs.”<br />

So, not a great start to my entrée into sport<br />

evangelisation. I wanted to talk about running not<br />

Fight Club. A tough gig.<br />

In other words. The choir ain’t listening Tim. Stay<br />

on the couch, eat another Bourbon and watch<br />

Homes under the Hammer.<br />

This wasn’t a great start. Jog on in fact. But not in<br />

the sense of a Park Run or Couch to Five. More<br />

in the way my kids would suggest to me when I<br />

ask for help with the dishwasher. This wasn’t the<br />

inspiration I was looking for.<br />

Luckily, he is rather a fine bloke. And like an old<br />

friend does, he didn’t feign an important meeting<br />

to get me off the phone. No, he counselled wisely.<br />

He suggested another angle. The non-sporty but<br />

good and uplifting things that you can accrue from a<br />

bit of exercise. That had a better chance to resonate.<br />

The penny was beginning to drop<br />

Talking about exercise or sport is a bit like<br />

banging on about your kids to other people or<br />

showing off your brilliant collection of (used) beer<br />

mats. That fabulous two weeks in Tuscany you had<br />

last Summer (do you want to see the family film?).<br />

No, I guessed not. You see even your good friends<br />

don’t want to listen to you bang on about your<br />

best 5k in the rain.<br />

The mechanics of exercise and health are a taboo.<br />

Nobody cares. I could begin to see his point.<br />

So here I must share my first confession. I do like<br />

to chatter about exercise. And this is of course a<br />

direct breach of Philip’s second Law.<br />

Blimey. Help!<br />

But I have gained some emotional intelligence<br />

along the way that it’s only possible to whisper<br />

about exercise in a safe place. Never on a work<br />

Teams call or with your kids. In fact, never ever<br />

with your children, and probably your partner too.<br />

Any talk of exercise and my family immediately<br />

and ruthlessly burst my balloon of smug selfcongratulation<br />

self-indulgence after a plod.<br />

Recent bouts of familial encouragement include<br />

‘why do you bother’ and ‘please don’t wear those<br />

shorts when my mates are here’.<br />

Random van drivers also shout encouragement,<br />

‘speed up you fat b*stard’ was particularly<br />

inspiring one lunchtime run.<br />

38 | sussexexclusive.com

So why do I bother?<br />

This brings me back to Philip’s Law. How to<br />

suggest that this exercise thing might just be<br />

pleasurably. And even worthwhile.<br />

The secret sauce of exercise, for me, is that there<br />

are many benefits beyond getting fit.<br />

Any form of exercise does something positive for<br />

my well-being. (And this was happening long<br />

before I knew it was called well-being.)<br />

My head was clearer, the low-level pounding<br />

headache receded without Ibuprofen or a dark room.<br />

It helped me engage, I was able to run the line at my<br />

son’s Saturday morning football without collapsing.<br />

These are the minor improvements and wins that<br />

make a difference to me. Nobody else need ever<br />

know, and certainly never care. Philip’s second law<br />

is at work here.<br />

There’s more. For me it’s mainly about getting<br />

outside. <strong>Sussex</strong> is a stunning place. Countryside,<br />

parks, coastline. Quiet places, but busy town<br />

centres too. Genuinely breath-taking views across<br />

the Downs.<br />

My main form of encouraging<br />

sweatiness is running<br />

But it was a bit of a fluke how this happened, it<br />

was all a bit unplanned.<br />

I had dabbled with different types of exercise,<br />

usually without any consistency or purpose. The<br />

odd gym circuit class that I almost enjoyed, but<br />

nothing really stuck.<br />

As with many things I tripped into running, I<br />

had always hated it. The grim memory of the<br />

school cross-country and the gentle humiliation<br />

of the ‘good at everything’ kids cruising by on the<br />

running track.<br />

Over the years I had played a bit of squash, always a<br />

poor intermediate. The odd inter-club game which<br />

I invariable lost. (During one break, as I stood<br />

gasping for breath, my opponent tucked into a large<br />

slice of Lemon Drizzle cake. In my thirties, I lost<br />

to a 12-year-old. Ok, he cried when he lost a point<br />

but even so, I could see where this was going).<br />

Then I damaged my back, and that was the<br />

beginning of the end for my sub optimal games of<br />

squash.<br />

The acceleration of the end of my squash career<br />

happened one evening while playing a game with<br />

another of my close pals who happens to be a GP.<br />

I felt an odd sensation in my back. Not to worry he<br />

said, get yourself home, have a pint and a couple of<br />

Ibuprofen and you will be fine. Good advice?<br />

Hmmm. Sadly, a scan showed prolapsed discs.<br />

Wear and tear, time, age.<br />

I still wanted to do something and running seemed<br />

to be an option.<br />

Also, you can do it secretly, without drawing<br />

attention to yourself. A bit of a hobby you can get<br />

on with surreptitiously. Like stamp collecting or<br />

brass rubbing is unfashionable, but unfashionable<br />

in nylon shorts.<br />

What surprised me as I began to huff and puff<br />

around the village was that even getting a kilometre<br />

without collapsing was hard. Wasn’t I quite fit?<br />

Maybe not.<br />

I found keeping a secret diary of each 20 minutes<br />

of torture helped.<br />

Why? Because the entries began to add up, and as<br />

I was slogging over the same route my time seemed<br />

to slowly improve. It was progress, and it was also<br />

good for self-belief.<br />

And then came one of the transformational things<br />

that can sometimes happen. From running the<br />

same road route, I wondered about running across<br />

a few paths I knew.<br />

This was quite a breakthrough and, what’s this,<br />

it was occasionally enjoyable, albeit in a weird<br />

and painful way. The views and shuffling through<br />

a favourite wood were occasionally magical.<br />

Surprising a family of deer, the call of the red kite.<br />

It’s not expensive. I have enjoyed top end gyms<br />

with steam rooms and buff changing areas over the<br />

years. But walking or running is about as cheap as<br />

it can get. Hurrah!<br />

The running coincided with work getting tougher<br />

and this was a brilliant release. The stress and<br />

tension did seem to diminish.<br />

A friend suggested something called Park Run.<br />

This was not racing but was a collective thing. And<br />

everyone was friendly and supportive. It is uplifting<br />

and inclusive and it’s all over <strong>Sussex</strong>.<br />

Before I knew it, I had entered an actual race.<br />

Who cared where I finished as simply finishing<br />

was winning. I never imagined I would ever have a<br />

race number. Or a cheap medal. Or to have met so<br />

many friendly people.<br />

And then there is social media. To be honest I<br />

mostly hate it but let me introduce you to Strava.<br />

It is social media, but nice.<br />

People don’t get angry, it’s supportive and<br />

inspiring. It’s perhaps how social media should be.<br />

OK. I have trampled all over Philip’s Law. I have<br />

broken the taboo.<br />

Sport and exercise are for me beyond the running<br />

or the swimming. It balances my life and improves<br />

my outlook.<br />

There are lots of ways you can start, it could do the<br />

same for you, too.<br />


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• Our diverse membership includes<br />

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• We have a structured education programme,<br />

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• The Club meets twice a month. Your first<br />

meeting is free, and you don’t have to<br />

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• Guests are always welcome.<br />

Why not join us for a meeting and see what we do.<br />

Contact us for more details and to arrange a visit!<br />

www.horshamspeakers.org.uk<br />

40 | sussexexclusive.com<br />


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Ha’nacker mill<br />

A West <strong>Sussex</strong> landmark that inspired a poet and still inspires walkers today<br />

42 | sussexexclusive.com

Ha’nacker mill (1923)<br />

Hilaire Belloc<br />

In 1920, the well-known Franco-<strong>Sussex</strong><br />

writer, historian and poet, Hilaire Belloc,<br />

came across Halnaker windmill. It had<br />

been struck by lightening in 1905 and<br />

was derelict and the haunting ruins that<br />

remained inspired one of his most famous poems.<br />

Travelling from Chichester to Petworth (or the<br />

other way around), today you can see Halnaker<br />

windmill standing proud on the hill. It’s become<br />

an iconic destination and landmark, and during<br />

lockdown, Instagram and Facebook were flooded<br />

with photos of the tunnel of trees that lead to the<br />

Halnaker summit.<br />

Halnaker Windmill<br />

The windmill is believed to date back to 1780<br />

and was a working windmill until 1905. It was<br />

restored by West <strong>Sussex</strong> County Council in 2019<br />

and is a Grade II listed building although the<br />

sails were recently removed for repairs. The top<br />

of Halnaker Hill is also a Scheduled Ancient<br />

Monument as it is the location of Neolithic<br />

earthworks and a WW2 radio direction-finding<br />

structure.<br />

The 360 views at the top of Halnaker Hill are<br />

worth every step of the climb and there’s lots<br />

of wildlife to look out for, such as wild orchids,<br />

butterflies, Yellowhammer, Skylarks and Buzzards.<br />

It’s a straight out and back walk to the windmill,<br />

but when you arrive back at the road (and the<br />

small car park) cross over and follow the Windmill<br />

Trail signs to Boxgrove Priory.<br />

Boxgrove Priory<br />

The trail takes you around the edges of the<br />

Tinwood vineyards. On a sunny day, it has a<br />

European feel to it, as you see the church and<br />

priory in the distance ahead of you with the<br />

distinctly French influence in the architecture and<br />

the growing vines.<br />

Boxgrove Priory was a small Benedictine priory<br />

founded in the 12th century although the site<br />

has been associated with the church since before<br />

the Norman invasion. The land was gifted to<br />

the Abbey of Lessay in Normandy in 1105 and<br />

the remains that you can see are of the guest<br />

house. The adjacent church also dates from the<br />

early 12th. Both the church and the priory are<br />

charismatic and compelling in equal measure.<br />

You can retrace your steps back to the car park at<br />

the bottom of Halnaker Hill by following the trail<br />

signs and the entire walk is about 7 km.<br />

Sally is gone that was so kindly,<br />

Sally is gone from Ha’nacker Hill.<br />

And the Briar grows ever since then so blindly<br />

And ever since then the clapper is still,<br />

And the sweeps have fallen from Ha’nacker Mill.<br />

Ha’nacker Hill is in Desolation:<br />

Ruin a-top and a field unploughed.<br />

And Spirits that call on a fallen nation<br />

Spirits that loved her calling aloud:<br />

Spirits abroad in a windy cloud.<br />

Spirits that call and no one answers;<br />

Ha’nacker’s down and England’s done.<br />

Wind and Thistle for pipe and dancers<br />

And never a ploughman under the Sun.<br />

Never a ploughman. Never a one.<br />


<strong>Sussex</strong> Writing<br />

Retreats<br />

Unleash your inner wordsmith and get creative<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong> has long since bred or nurtured<br />

great literary talent. Just think: Rudyard<br />

Kipling, Henry Kames, AA Milne,<br />

Virginia Woolf, Arthur Conan Doyle,<br />

Joseph Conrad, Hilaire Belloc, HG<br />

Wells and Kate Mosse. So you know that if you’re<br />

a writer or would-be writer in <strong>Sussex</strong>, then you’re<br />

walking in the footsteps of literary giants.<br />

Perhaps it’s the south coast seas, the clean air of<br />

the rolling Downs or maybe inspiration comes<br />

from the many cobbled streets and ghost stories<br />

of our Medieval towns, but it’s high time we<br />

celebrated and cultivated this urge to combine a<br />

jumble of words and ideas and started to create<br />

the great reads of the future. And with that in<br />

mind, I set off to find a field in rural <strong>Sussex</strong><br />

where word had it, there was something literary<br />

going on.<br />

Green <strong>Sussex</strong> fading into blue<br />

The site for <strong>Sussex</strong> Writing Retreats is idyllic, if<br />

a little hard to find, down a narrow, well-hidden<br />

track. Not far from the Knepp Estate near<br />

Horsham, it has green fields, a small pond and<br />

tranquillity. There’s a marquee, outdoor seating in<br />

the shade of an oak tree, birdsong and places to<br />

wander off to find your muse. Your hosts Daisy<br />

and Lisa are also lovers of the nice things in life<br />

so there are cream teas, daily treats, optional yoga<br />

and stretch classes, time out to spend by yourself<br />

(or with others, as you wish), oh and a great<br />

local pub. Happy days. I’m beginning to think<br />

I wouldn’t mind hanging out here without any<br />

intention of writing.<br />

But what of our hosts?<br />

Lisa Brace is a journalist, author and award-<br />

44 | sussexexclusive.com

The site for<br />

<strong>Sussex</strong> Writing<br />

Retreats is<br />

idyllic, if a little<br />

hard to find,<br />

down a narrow,<br />

well-hidden<br />

track. Not far<br />

from the Knepp<br />

Estate near<br />

Horsham, it has<br />

green fields, a<br />

small pond and<br />

tranquillity.<br />

winning senior communications professional with<br />

a background in PR and events and was recently<br />

signed by A For Authors for her debut novel.<br />

Lisa explains her father worked for the Evening<br />

Argus in Brighton, so she grew up in the<br />

environment of a 1980s newspaper with the smell<br />

of print and the threat of deadlines. She tells me<br />

she only ever wanted to write and has worked<br />

for a number of local papers. She also co-wrote<br />

the show Tom Foolery which toured in 2015 and<br />

wrote her first book in 2018.<br />

Daisy White is a former air hostess who took up<br />

writing to ease the boredom of long-haul flights.<br />

We’re lucky she did because she unleashed a gift<br />

and to date, she’s published eight crime novels, a<br />

mystery series and two psychological thrillers as<br />

well as writing a short film, Ripe Tomatoes. She<br />

has her own publisher.<br />

How did that happen?<br />

This duo met when Lisa interviewed Daisy for<br />

a local project and an instant friendship was<br />

formed. The instinctive creative connection<br />

between them is obvious as they bounce ideas<br />

around. There’s a lot of laughter and clearly<br />

some mutual understanding. They are the first to<br />

admit that writing can be a lonely place, and the<br />

constant rejection can be tough, so they are keen<br />

to explain that they want to create a retreat that is<br />

both supportive and inclusive.<br />

A dog nuzzles my leg and I’m half expecting a<br />

chicken to put in an appearance, as they go on<br />

to explain that this retreat is not about teaching<br />

others how to write. And they stress, that<br />

although these retreats are suitable for any stage<br />

of the writing journey, it is important to have at<br />

least a nugget of an idea to get the most out of<br />

time spent here.<br />

“It’s a beautiful space and there’s always a real<br />

creative buzz, although it can also be quite<br />

emotionally intense. We’re not in the business of<br />

lecturing people. Our workshops are hands on,<br />

practical and as interactive as possible. We get to<br />

know you, you get to know us and we’re very aware<br />

that you will not be your creative best if you don’t<br />

feel relaxed and comfortable. There are no bad ideas,<br />

just ideas although we may set you some homework.<br />

And we definitely share our own stories and<br />

experiences, warts and all! Because apart from being<br />

a creative place, we also want to provide you with<br />

really practical advice about things like how to<br />

pitch, how to publish, how to promote yourself…you<br />

know all the less glamourous stuff that goes hand in<br />

hand with being a successful author.”<br />

A raft of exceptional talent<br />

Having launched in 2020, this year there are<br />

three <strong>Sussex</strong> Writing Retreats and I’m just a tiny<br />

bit intimidated by the stellar line up of guest<br />

speakers. This is serious stuff.<br />

Literary Agent Assistant at The Kate Nash<br />

Literary Agency, Saskia Leach, will be giving her<br />

personal perspective on the publishing industry,<br />

and letting you practice your pitch, while<br />

screenwriters Hayley November and Debbie<br />

Moon, and executive producer, Steve November<br />

(who all have a huge amount of industry<br />

experience, BAFTAs and well-known shows<br />

between them) share their knowledge and advice.<br />

BBC News Correspondent Alastair Fee will be<br />

running interactive workshops and sessions.<br />

Last but by no means least, crime author Casey<br />

Kelleher (who has sold over half a million books<br />

worldwide) and children’s author Sue Wickstead<br />

(who writes a variety of picture books and has<br />

successfully self-published) will be there. Just pick<br />

the workshop to suite your specific inclinations.<br />

“And don’t worry”, Daisy explains, “they’re really<br />

nice, down to earth and enthusiastic about helping<br />

others and sharing their expertise. Between us, we’ll<br />

help you find direction, and tell you all those things<br />

we wished we’d known when we started out.”.<br />

The first daffodils have just pushed their heads<br />

up and I feel inspired already. I’ve got a couple<br />

of ideas which have been floating around my<br />

head for a long time, but I’ve never really known<br />

where to start. I’m beginning to think this might<br />

just be what I need, and who knows, maybe, just<br />

maybe, one day I could actually add my name<br />

to the long list of literary heroes of <strong>Sussex</strong>. Well,<br />

a girl can dream. And in the meantime, I might<br />

just have another slice of cake.<br />

You can find out more about <strong>Sussex</strong> Writing<br />

Retreats at: https://daisywhiteauthor.co.uk/<br />

sussex-writing-retreats/<br />


Building begins<br />

on the new<br />

St Catherine’s Hospice<br />

Building work has finally begun on a larger St Catherine’s Hospice<br />

at Pease Pottage in West <strong>Sussex</strong> which will provide<br />

more care for people in our community.<br />

Barnes Construction have started work<br />

on the local charity’s new hospice<br />

which will provide more space to<br />

develop essential hospice services and<br />

allow hospice teams to respond to the<br />

increasing need for hospice care.<br />

The time for a new hospice is now<br />

St Catherine’s was first founded in 1983 by a<br />

group of pioneers in the local community who<br />

recognised end of life care needed to be better<br />

for local people. Since then, St Catherine’s has<br />

provided care and support to thousands of local<br />

families, but with no room to grow at their<br />

current hospice in Malthouse Road, Crawley, the<br />

hospice needs to expand to provide more care to<br />

more people now and in the future.<br />

Hospice care has never been more<br />

needed<br />

Research has shown demand for hospice services<br />

will rapidly increase with an ageing population.<br />

Current trends suggest that there could be twice<br />

as many deaths in hospices, care homes, and<br />

private homes in 20 years’ time 1 . Coronavirus<br />

has also caused devastating disruption to people’s<br />

health. During the pandemic there were 50,000<br />

late-stage diagnoses for cancer (Macmillan Cancer<br />

Support, 2021) and significant worsening of<br />

symptoms amongst people living with dementia<br />

(Alzheimer’s Society 2020).<br />

1 Journal of Medicine, 2017<br />

46 | sussexexclusive.com

Bereavement is also now a<br />

national crisis<br />

Early data from Cardiff University’s Marie<br />

Curie Palliative Care Research Centre and the<br />

University of Bristol found many bereaved people<br />

are experiencing severe vulnerability in their<br />

grief. They’re facing long waiting lists or being<br />

told they’re ineligible for help. St Catherine’s can<br />

provide specialist bereavement support to help<br />

local people to navigate their loss.<br />

Giles Tomsett, Chief Executive at St Catherine’s<br />

said, “Despite the excellent work of the NHS, too<br />

many people have experienced tragic deaths during<br />

the pandemic. People have died alone without<br />

family or friends by their side or experienced<br />

uncertainty or delay to their treatments. Others<br />

have felt terrible guilt because they were unable to<br />

fulfil a loved one’s last wishes or say goodbye in a<br />

meaningful way.<br />

So many people didn’t have the death they deserved<br />

or wanted. So many others had to cope with<br />

bereavement isolated and alone. With your help,<br />

we need to make sure that people in our local<br />

community don’t ever have to cope alone again.<br />

That’s why we’re thrilled to share that work on<br />

our new hospice has begun. We’re currently setting<br />

the foundations ready for our new building’s steel<br />

framework to be assembled this summer. Following<br />

this we hope to have our first rooms complete by<br />

around August 2023 and will be welcoming people<br />

to our new hospice in Autumn next year.”<br />

The new hospice will provide<br />

more care to more of our<br />

community<br />

It will allow St Catherine’s to expand its expert<br />

community services so more families can have<br />

support in the comfort of their own home. It<br />

will also allow the charity to increase wellbeing,<br />

emotional care and bereavement support by<br />

offering private counselling rooms, a reflective<br />

courtyard and spiritual space.<br />

But it has all only been made possible thanks<br />

to the generosity of local people. This includes<br />

Bill Bridges, a landowner who donated land at<br />

Pease Pottage in memory of his mother who<br />

received hospice care and John Shelmeld who<br />

left a significant gift to the local charity in his<br />

will in 2014.<br />

A new hospice will transform<br />

patient and families’ experience<br />

of hospice care<br />

There will be 24 beds, an increase from 18<br />

beds in the current hospice, and all rooms<br />

will offer people a peaceful private garden and<br />

ensuite bathroom. 12 rooms have adjoining<br />

sitting rooms for families to stay overnight.<br />

Four rooms have been especially designed to<br />

meet the needs of people with dementia and<br />

all rooms have bedroom hoists for safe and<br />

dignified movement. Additionally, four rooms<br />

have bathroom hoists for people who need this<br />

extra support. St Catherine’s currently lacks<br />

space to have difficult and private conversations<br />

with family members, so their new building<br />

has dedicated space to allow greater dignity<br />

and comfort. There are also family spaces for<br />

relatives on each ward to prepare food, relax and<br />

take a moment.<br />

The difference a new hospice<br />

will make<br />

• An additional 250 people will receive care<br />

as outpatients and 110 extra patients will be<br />

cared for on the hospice wards each year<br />

• New step-down care will be offered for<br />

people coming out of hospital who are not<br />

quite ready to return home<br />

• Respite care will be reintroduced on the<br />

hospice wards, giving carers a much needed<br />

break from caring for someone they love at<br />

home<br />

• Enhanced wellbeing groups such as breathe<br />

easy clinics, emotional support groups, and<br />

physiotherapist led exercise classes will help<br />

people to live as well as they can for as long<br />

as they can<br />

• To help people cope with loss and<br />

bereavement, there will be private rooms to<br />

speak with family members and dedicated<br />

spaces for remembrance and contemplation.<br />

St Catherine’s is so near to<br />

completing their new hospice,<br />

but the local charity has a final<br />

£800,000 to raise<br />

Now they are calling on the community to<br />

help more people have the end of life care they<br />

deserve. “Together we have a unique chance to<br />

provide better end of life care and to help more<br />

families through bereavement. With your help we<br />

need one final push to finish our new hospice. I hope<br />

you will join us,” said Giles.<br />

To donate towards<br />

your new local<br />

hospice please visit:<br />

www.stch.org.<br />

uk/newhospice<br />

or call the<br />

St Catherine’s<br />

Fundraising Team<br />

on 01293 447361.<br />

Collectively, your<br />

generosity and the<br />

generosity of others<br />

will complete<br />

St Catherine’s new<br />

hospice home –<br />

thank you!<br />


48 | sussexexclusive.com

Christ’s Hospital<br />

celebrates<br />

120 years in Horsham<br />

A remarkable school still making a unique contribution to society<br />

Construction of water<br />

tower<br />

Presentation of the<br />

Loyal Address on the<br />

Queen’s first entry to<br />

the City of London,<br />

1953 St. Paul’s<br />

On the 29 th May 1902, 660 pupils<br />

arrived by train at Christ’s Hospital<br />

station for the first day of term in<br />

what was a brand new, unrivalled<br />

and purpose built school building.<br />

Today, the school is home to 900 pupils (an equal<br />

mix of boys and girls) and continues to enjoy state<br />

of the art facilities and provide children from all<br />

backgrounds with an outstanding education that<br />

would otherwise be beyond their means.<br />

Founded in 1552 with just 380 children, the<br />

school’s purpose from the outset was to address<br />

the needs of the poor but that provision quickly<br />

grew to include providing children with an<br />

education. In its nearly 500-year history since,<br />

Christ’s Hospital has survived the Great Plague<br />

and the Great Fire of London, produced a list of<br />

notable Old Blues (former pupils) that runs into<br />

hundreds and has seen the likes of Samuel Pepys<br />

as a governor, Coleridge, Lamb and Leigh Hunt<br />

as pupils, and enjoyed visits from Queen Victoria,<br />

the Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth II.<br />

A bold vision for a dairy farm<br />

It’s perhaps hard to imagine now what a<br />

momentous occasion it must have been<br />

when pupils marched up the hill to the new<br />

school building for the first time. The idea of<br />

moving the school out of London had been a<br />

bone of contention for those involved in the<br />

school’s governance for decades and when the<br />

1,100-acre site at Horsham was eventually<br />

purchased in 1892 from a dairy farm, the<br />

project wasn’t without serious criticism and<br />

concern.<br />

Construction of the magnificent, Tudor<br />

style building took 5 ½ years to complete,<br />

requiring 200 million red bricks, 100 miles<br />

of electric wiring, 40 miles of heating<br />

pipe and the construction of a system of<br />

underground tunnels (which still exist), a<br />

new railway siding and station, a water tower<br />

and a 300,000 gallon reservoir on top of<br />

Sharpenhurst Hill.<br />


Founded in<br />

1552 with just<br />

380 children,<br />

the school’s<br />

purpose from<br />

the outset was<br />

to address<br />

the needs of<br />

the poor but<br />

that provision<br />

quickly grew<br />

to include<br />

providing<br />

children with<br />

an education.<br />

The beginning of a new era<br />

of excellence<br />

The school’s move to Horsham undoubtedly<br />

marked the beginning of a new era. At the time,<br />

the school was split, with dwindling numbers<br />

of girls housed at a site in Hertfordshire and the<br />

boys housed in London. Despite a number of<br />

refurbishment programmes since the Great Fire<br />

of the 17 th century, two hundred years on and<br />

the old school buildings in London must have<br />

felt a lifetime away from the state-of-the-art new<br />

facilities set in the heart of the <strong>Sussex</strong> countryside.<br />

Inevitably, the school’s journey to the present day<br />

hasn’t been without its own challenges. In 1914<br />

the school was briefly requisitioned as a Prisoner<br />

of War campsite, whilst some 400 Old Blues were<br />

lost in WWI with another 200 lost in WWII. A<br />

flying bomb was shot down close to the infirmary<br />

in 1944, the school succumbed to a flu epidemic<br />

in the 1950s and (of course a pandemic in 2020)<br />

and in the 1980s, a series of freak weather events<br />

battered the site including the great storm of 1987<br />

which decimated many of the school’s trees.<br />

An innate ability to innovate<br />

and improve<br />

But Christ’s Hospital appears to have an innate<br />

ability to innovate and improve in the face of<br />

adversity. Maths, science and the arts have always<br />

been important at Christ’s Hospital and for over<br />

100 years sport has been an integral part of life at<br />

the school. Since the school’s move to Horsham,<br />

improvements have included a new Science<br />

School, a Scout Hut, improvements to the library,<br />

a new Theatre and Arts Centre and a refurbished<br />

Music Centre. And of course, in 1985, 280 girls<br />

came from the school’s Hertford site to finally<br />

unite the school under one roof.<br />

Pursuant to a Master Plan for the Development<br />

of the School in 1999, this century has already<br />

seen a new Sports Centre, new sixth form<br />

accommodation and a refurbishment of the<br />

award-winning theatre.<br />

A school without parallel<br />

In 1846, the school was described as “a<br />

remarkable school” and “…a thing without<br />

parallel in this country”. And the same could still<br />

be said today.<br />

The school’s mission is to challenge inequality by<br />

providing a nurturing, transformative education<br />

for young people from all backgrounds. At<br />

present, of the 900 pupils, over two thirds receive<br />

a substantially reduced place and 11% receive a<br />

place for free. The facilities and opportunities the<br />

school provides remain second to none, and the<br />

sporting and academic achievements continue to<br />

be outstanding.<br />

A pivotal moment to reflect on a<br />

remarkable legacy<br />

Speech Day is one of the pivotal moments of the<br />

school’s annual calendar and a tradition that dates<br />

back hundreds of years. Held in the summer<br />

term and always attended by the Lord Mayor and<br />

Sheriffs of the City of London, it’s an opportunity<br />

to celebrate achievement with prize giving and<br />

awards and includes a traditional “March Past” by<br />

the school’s famous band when the drum majors<br />

lead a salute to the Lord Mayor.<br />

The highlight of the event is when a Senior<br />

Grecian (Head Pupil) gives an “oration” (speech)<br />

without notes, to which the Lord Mayor responds<br />

with his own speech. And there can be few more<br />

fitting a moment in this Jubilee Year than to mark<br />

and celebrate the many achievements of Christ’s<br />

Hospital, its staff and its pupils since those first<br />

tentative steps from the station 120 years ago.<br />

For more information, please visit:<br />

https://www.christs-hospital.org.uk/<br />

50 | sussexexclusive.com

The greatest way to start your day !<br />

Rye Heritage Centre is home to the famous “Story of Rye” - a 20 minute sound<br />

and light experience showcasing the incredible Rye Town Model<br />

Hear about 750 years of history, murder, ghosts and mayhem !<br />

Step back to the early 1900s and play<br />

the collection of working Penny Arcade<br />

machines, giggle along to the Laughing<br />

Sailor and find out for yourself -<br />

“What the Butler Saw” !<br />

Immerse yourself in our heritage displays<br />

and find out what else to see and do during<br />

your visit to Rye<br />


“The Smuggler’s Attic”<br />

A new walk through<br />

interactive<br />

audio visual experience<br />

Visit our website for opening times and how to find us<br />

www.ryeheritage.co.uk Email info@ryeheritage.co.uk Call 01797 226696<br />


The model village at<br />

Rye Herigage Centre<br />

Middle two images<br />

© www.corinography.co.uk<br />

52 | sussexexclusive.com

Saving Rye’s<br />

Rich Heritage<br />

Rye Heritage Centre … a story, within a story!<br />

Thanks to the<br />

hard work<br />

of a handful<br />

of dedicated<br />

enthusiasts,<br />

Rye Heritage<br />

Centre is<br />

playing its part<br />

in this. And if<br />

you’re planning<br />

a visit to Rye,<br />

there are few<br />

better places<br />

to start.<br />

You only have to mention Rye, and the<br />

response you get is almost universally<br />

“Oh, I love Rye.” And why wouldn’t<br />

it be. Rye is a stunning <strong>Sussex</strong> town<br />

with Mermaid Street being one of<br />

the most Instagram-able spots in the country.<br />

Whether you have an interest in Medieval history,<br />

smuggling, ghosts, literature, nature or local beer,<br />

you are almost certain to find something to whet<br />

your appetite in Rye’s rich heritage.<br />

Housed in the suitably atmospheric Old Sail<br />

Loft in Strand Quay, Rye Heritage Centre is an<br />

obvious starting point for any journey of Rye<br />

discovery, but it’s also woven its own unique<br />

narrative into the history of the town.<br />

The model town<br />

In the early 1970s (and inspired by something<br />

they’d seen on a trip to Belgium) a couple from<br />

Rye designed and made a 1:100 scale model of<br />

the town as it was in the 1800s, complete with<br />

electrics, sound and light displays. It took them<br />

three years, measures approximately 15 x 10 foot<br />

and in an interactive way that was pioneering<br />

in the 1970s, tells the story of 750 years of Rye<br />

history. Three years ago, at nearly 50 years old<br />

(and so a piece of Rye history in itself), the model<br />

was all set to be packed away in a box as running<br />

expenses of the Rye Heritage Centre where it<br />

lived seemed set to force its closure.<br />

Cue the incredible people of Rye<br />

Determined not to lose their model, which is<br />

thought to be the only one of its kind in the<br />

country, or their heritage and centre, in 2019, a<br />

group of local volunteers asked the council to give<br />

them the opportunity to run the centre, forming<br />

a charity, taking on the lease and putting together<br />

a plan to show they could make it a success. The<br />

council agreed and a new era in the Rye Heritage<br />

Centre story was due to commence on the<br />

1 st April …2020. And we all know what<br />

happened just before that date.<br />

We wunt be druv<br />

In the words of our county’s unofficial motto, the<br />

people behind the new charity are not quitters<br />

and won’t easily be forced to do what they don’t<br />

want to do. And with an incredible display of<br />

resourcefulness, the charity has ensured that Rye<br />

Heritage Centre has survived the Covid pandemic.<br />

In fact, with the help of a small grant from the<br />

Culture Recovery Fund, it appears to be going<br />

from strength to strength despite the fact that they<br />

did not qualify for any other Government support<br />

and have been forced to close for long periods of<br />

the last two years.<br />

Under the management of Simon Parsons,<br />

the centre has successfully applied for grants,<br />

innovated and improved. They have a new<br />

website, have improved the model town<br />

experience including projection style images,<br />

and have a Victorian pier experience with Penny<br />

Arcade slot machines from the early 1990s set<br />

amidst scenes of <strong>Sussex</strong>.<br />

They also have ambitions to host rotating<br />

exhibitions showcasing the likes of Medieval<br />

ships and Vikings, although the first exhibition<br />

on the list is going to be a smugglers experience.<br />

And as luck would have it, as you can see from<br />

the photo, there just so happens to be a band<br />

of smugglers operating in the Rye area who<br />

are willing to lend a hand. It should be quite a<br />

show and the organisers plan to include a march<br />

through the streets of Rye as part of the launch.<br />

Watch this space.<br />

Anyone with even a passing interest in <strong>Sussex</strong>,<br />

history and heritage knows that centres such<br />

as these are vital custodians of both told and<br />

previously untold stories, ensuring they are<br />

preserved and passed on for the benefit of future<br />

generations. Thanks to the hard work of a<br />

handful of dedicated enthusiasts, Rye Heritage<br />

Centre is playing its part in this. And if you’re<br />

planning a visit to Rye, there are few better<br />

places to start.<br />


When in Rye<br />

Smugglers, ghosts, writers, strange tales and cobbled streets, Rye has it all.<br />

... see if you<br />

can find Spike<br />

Milligan’s<br />

gravestone<br />

which reads,<br />

“I told you I<br />

was ill”.<br />

You don’t need a reason to visit Rye.<br />

It’s just one of those lovely places to<br />

spend time. But if you are visiting,<br />

whether that’s for a whistlestop tour<br />

or a staycation, here’s our “Rye in a<br />

Nutshell” guide.<br />

Mermaid Street and Instagram<br />

You have to take a photo of Mermaid Street right<br />

in the middle of the town. No Instagram page<br />

is complete without one, but it does get busy, so<br />

make it your first stop of the day! In fact, if you<br />

can, head out at sunrise or at the very least, before<br />

breakfast. And don’t forget, it has its own hashtag<br />

#mermaidstreet!<br />

Ghosts and smugglers<br />

Grab a coffee at the Mermaid Inn or the head to<br />

the Rye Heritage Centre (or both) and learn about<br />

the town’s smugglers, ghost stories and grizzly<br />

tales. There are also some great guided tours which<br />

reveal some of its darker secrets.<br />

A writer’s tale<br />

Great writers have always loved Rye and Lamb<br />

House in the middle of the town is probably the<br />

epicentre of Rye’s literary scene. It’s a National<br />

Trust property and is run as a writer’s house<br />

museum. It was the home of Henry James from<br />

1897 to 1914, and later of E.F. Benson.<br />

Medieval castle and a Cinque Port<br />

If you love history (and frankly, why would you<br />

be in Rye if you didn’t), head to the Rye Castle<br />

Museum and the Ypres Tower. Rye was of course<br />

one of the Cinque Ports and the Tower has got<br />

great views across to the sea, cannons and lots of<br />

artefacts and interesting information.<br />

Nurture yourself with nature<br />

Head out to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve for<br />

a great walk. There’s also another Instagram<br />

opportunity here with a well-known but very<br />

quaint fishermen’s hut. And there’s a new<br />

visitor centre.<br />

Set sail in a windmill<br />

Want somewhere unusual to stay? What about<br />

in a windmill. Yes, right on the edge of the<br />

town, you can stay in a white smock, Grade<br />

II listed windmill on the banks of the River<br />

Tillingham.<br />

Winchelsea and Spike Milligan<br />

If you have time, hire a bike and cycle to<br />

Winchelsea (you can hire bikes on the road to<br />

Rye Harbour). You do want to be sure that the<br />

ground has dried out but there is a relatively<br />

easy 15 km circular route. It starts via the<br />

Royal Military Canal Path, passes through<br />

the Castle Water Nature Reserve and past<br />

Camber Castle. Winchelsea is stunning and so<br />

evocative and while you’re here, see if you can<br />

find Spike Milligan’s gravestone which reads,<br />

“I told you I was ill”. Then cycle back to Rye<br />

via the 1066 Country Walk.<br />

Ringing the dinner bell<br />

There are plenty of great places to eat but what<br />

about The Old Bell which dates back to the<br />

15 th century, right in the heart of the town.<br />

It’s got olde worlde charm in abundance and<br />

a magnificent 80-year-old wisteria tree. You’ll<br />

find it in the wonderfully named Mint and<br />

in addition to a great pub menu it also has its<br />

own tales of the infamous Hawkhurst Gang.<br />

54 | sussexexclusive.com

Searching for<br />

something<br />

different?<br />

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some years ago, it would give me such peace of mind from<br />

helping others.<br />

As a British PLC founded 25 years ago, Utility Warehouse is<br />

the UK’s only genuine multiservice provider and has been<br />

Which? Recommended for over ten years running.<br />

Joining UW meant I could build my own business alongside<br />

my professional teaching career. It’s since funded so many<br />

of my family’s costs, from school fees, university, holidays<br />

and much more.<br />

I love helping others so I now mentor a growing team<br />

of Utility Warehouse Partners across the UK. It’s a very<br />

rewarding journey and you’re invited to join me.<br />

Curious?<br />

Get in touch to find out more -<br />

07703 162722<br />

sarah.riley@uwclub.net<br />

uw.partners/sarah.riley<br />


In the<br />

Diary<br />

As life slowly tries to get back to normal,<br />

we’ve got some diverse and at times eclectic<br />

events to help fill your diary<br />

Marilyn Stafford:<br />

A Life in Photography<br />

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery,<br />

22 February - 8 May<br />

For anyone who loves photography, social history,<br />

fashion or life itself! This retrospective exhibition<br />

of US born <strong>Sussex</strong> based photographer, Marilyn<br />

Stafford includes international archive spanning<br />

four decades and celebrity portraits (Édith Piaf,<br />

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mulk Raj Anand, Indira<br />

Gandhi, Albert Finney, Twiggy and Joanna<br />

Lumley), fashion shoots, street photography,<br />

humanitarian stories and newspaper reportage.<br />

The Taxidermist’s Daughter<br />

Chichester Festival Theatre, 8 - 30 April<br />

Adapted for the stage by <strong>Sussex</strong> based Kate<br />

Mosse, and based on her novel, it doesn’t<br />

get much more “<strong>Sussex</strong>” than this. A story<br />

of retribution and justice, The Taxidermist’s<br />

Daughter is a thrilling Gothic mystery set in and<br />

around historic Chichester. If you’re a fan of Kate<br />

Mosse, this is definitely one for you.<br />

56 | sussexexclusive.com<br />

An Evening of Burlesque<br />

in Hastings<br />

St Mary in the Castle, Hastings, 2 April<br />

The Hundred Watt Club returns to Hastings for<br />

a vintage inspired, champagne popping evening<br />

of burlesque, vaudeville, comedy and cabaret!<br />

Enjoy a good old fashioned glittering line-up of<br />

showgirls, circus, drag and comedy, all wrapped<br />

up with a feisty, tongue-in-cheek ribbon!<br />

Spring foraging workshop with<br />

Sophie Cropley<br />

Furzefield Campsite, Angmering, 9 April<br />

Hosted by Worthing based The Wellderness<br />

CIC, you’ll start this workshop with a guided<br />

forage in the fields, forests and tracks on the<br />

edge of the South Downs National Park.<br />

Sophie is a qualified forager and loves to cook<br />

up seasonal recipes using natures ingredients<br />

for her family. She will teach you to find<br />

delicious wild ingredients to make your own<br />

seasonal dishes.<br />

Page 56 top:<br />

The Taxidermist’s<br />

Daughter<br />

Left:<br />

Spring foraging<br />

workshop<br />

Right:<br />

Tulip Festival<br />

Page 57 top:<br />

An Evening of<br />

Burlesque<br />

© ‘V’s Anchor Studio<br />

Tulip Festival<br />

Benedict<br />

Cumberbatch,<br />

The Waste Land<br />

The Floral Fringe Fair

Clive Anderson: Me, Macbeth and I<br />

Regis Centre & Alexandra Theatre, Bognor Regis, 2 April<br />

The host of Whose Line Is It Anyway, Loose Ends and Talks Back takes to<br />

the road with his much-anticipated first ever solo tour, in a one-man show<br />

guaranteed to be funnier than Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy.<br />

Tulip Festival<br />

Arundel Castle, mid April (precise date depends on mother nature)<br />

Set in the grounds of the Medieval castle, there is nothing not to love about<br />

this colourful and floral extravaganza. With over 1.2 million tulip bulbs and<br />

over 130 varieties of tulip, the grounds of the castle literally burst into life<br />

with the cathedral and castle in the back ground and the gentle sound of<br />

water in The Collector Earl’s Garden.<br />

Source to Sauce Cookery<br />

Webbe’s Rock-a-Nore, Hastings, 17 May<br />

One for the foodies and fish lovers. Webbe’s restaurants and cookery schools<br />

are a unique experience and were born out of Paul and Rebecca Webbe’s<br />

passion for the “wonderful, wild and natural” ingredients of Rye and<br />

Hastings. This cookery class involves a visit to the local fish market, followed<br />

by learning to prepare and cook your catch with chef Paul Webbe. You finish<br />

with a lunch prepared for you.<br />

The Waste Land<br />

Charleston, Firle, near Lewes, 19 May<br />

100 years after it was published, award-winning actor Benedict Cumberbatch<br />

breathes new life into one of the greatest works of modernist literature, T. S.<br />

Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land.’ In 1978, Anthony Burgess, best known for writing<br />

‘A Clockwork Orange’, set the poem to music. Bringing this score alive in<br />

an extraordinary performance are Britten Sinfonia, one of the world’s most<br />

celebrated ensembles, and soprano Anna Dennis.<br />

The Floral Fringe Fair<br />

Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens, Horsham, 4 - 5 June<br />

The return of a quirky, family-friendly event with a vintage twist which<br />

includes an eclectic and friendly fair, over one hundred stalls from artists,<br />

makers, vintage stalls, food, street dining, a beer tent and plant nurseries. It<br />

also includes classic cars, music and dancing, Steampunk and vintage. It is<br />

dog-friendly too!<br />


Flamme de l’Armagnac<br />

From the footsteps of the three musketeers to dancing into<br />

the night in the grounds of a French chateau, Gers in the<br />

south of France makes a compelling autumn break<br />

Larressingle, the<br />

‘Little Carcassone<br />

of the Gers’, listed<br />

as one of the most<br />

beautiful villages<br />

of France with its<br />

Medieval Gascon<br />

château<br />

In a small corner of the south of France, not far<br />

from Toulouse, strange and wonderful things start<br />

to take place in late November and December.<br />

Gers is an area that many of us think of as<br />

Gascony, but Gascony is in fact the old name for<br />

a region in between Bordeaux and Toulouse.<br />

Gers is a department of what is now known as<br />

Occitanie (a merger of the Midi-Pyrénées and<br />

Languedoc-Roussillon regions) and has views to<br />

the south of the Pyrénées, rolling countryside<br />

and a myriad of little bastide towns and villages.<br />

It’s sometimes called Little Tuscany in reference<br />

to its summer fields of sunflowers, vineyards and<br />

Cyprus trees.<br />

But Gers is perhaps most famous for being the<br />

land of d’Artagnan, who inspired Alexandre<br />

Dumas’s character d’Artagnan in The Three<br />

Musketeers, as well as being the land<br />

of Cyrano de Bergerac. It’s also just as famous<br />

for its Armagnac, a wine-based brandy and a<br />

very good reason to head to Gers at the end of<br />

the year.<br />

The gateway to Armagnac<br />

country<br />

About an hour west of Toulouse is Auch, Gers’<br />

only city and one that dates back 4,000 years<br />

to the first settlers of the Bronze and Iron<br />

Ages. Auch is dripping with a sense of its own<br />

history. Quite apart from the fact that it has<br />

two big traditional markets every week full of<br />

local produce and dozens of restaurants and<br />

cafés, even a whistle stop tour gives you a taste<br />

of everything this beautiful region has to offer.<br />

58 | sussexexclusive.com

Auch has held importance since the Gallo Roman<br />

times and by the Medieval period it was a centre<br />

of religious and civil authority and a place for<br />

pilgrims. In the heart of this small city, is Sainte<br />

Marie’s Cathedral built between 1489 and 1680<br />

in a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and classic<br />

style. It’s famous for its stained-glass windows<br />

(dating to the 16 th century) and its oak choir<br />

stalls (also dating to the 16 th century) and is on<br />

the UNESCO World Heritage routes of Santiago<br />

de Compostela.<br />

Using the cathedral as a starting point, explore<br />

the narrow back streets and enjoy ancient<br />

buildings, such as the half-timbered 15 th century<br />

tradesman house that hangs over the entrance to<br />

Dessoles Street (you’ll see it to your right as you<br />

leave the cathedral). Dessoles Street used to be<br />

the main Medieval street and is now lined with<br />

18 th century mansions. From here you can reach<br />

the 6 th century Pénitents-Bleus Tower, the herb<br />

market and the old grain market.<br />

Double back to the other side of the cathedral for<br />

the 14 th century Armagnac Tower (and former<br />

prison) and the famous staircase (with 374 steps)<br />

that divides the higher and lower parts of the<br />

town where you can enjoy views across the Gers<br />

Valley and meet d’Artagnan (or at least a statute<br />

of him).<br />

From this part of town, don’t miss the five steep<br />

Medieval streets of the Pousterle. These streets<br />

used to link the river to the fortified gates of the<br />

city and from here you can also explore the 14 th<br />

century Arton Gate at one end and the beautiful<br />

house where Henri IV stayed with Queen Margot<br />

and Catherine de Medici in 1578.<br />

A step back in time<br />

Leaving Auch behind you, head north west<br />

to Eauze. On a crisp, late autumn morning,<br />

you’re enveloped in gentle mists that hover<br />

over rolling hills and the last of the autumn<br />

colours. It is effortlessly charismatic here and<br />

you feel a long way off the beaten track. Eauze<br />

is also a great base from which to explore some<br />

of the surrounding villages and is also is at the<br />

very heart of Armagnac production. The town<br />

is achingly historic, and you’ll find Medieval<br />

houses clustering around the main square. The<br />

18 th century church stands on the remains of the<br />

former 15 th century cathedral with the cloisters<br />

still visible opposite.<br />

Fourcès and Larressingle<br />

Whilst you may be keen to get on with the<br />

business of drinking Armagnac, you cannot visit<br />

this region without first exploring some of the<br />

outstandingly beautiful villages. About half an<br />

hour drive from Eauze, Fourcès is one of what is<br />

The statue of<br />

D’Artagnan made by<br />

Firmin Michelet in 1931<br />


Auch Cathedral,<br />

Cathédrale Sainte-<br />

Marie is a Roman<br />

Catholic church<br />

located in the town<br />

of Auch<br />

The Alembic dinner<br />

Fourcès, another<br />

village listed as one of<br />

the most beautiful in<br />

France<br />

classified as “the most beautiful villages of France”<br />

and one of the only places to have a round central<br />

square.<br />

You enter via a stone bridge over the river to a<br />

circle of half-timbered Medieval houses mixed<br />

with 17 th and 18 th century buildings hanging<br />

over covered arcades. Time really has stood still<br />

here and as you walk across the square, you come<br />

to the 13 th century clock tower and views of the<br />

castle (now a hotel). There’s not a lot to do here<br />

but breathe in the past and enjoy a place that in<br />

late autumn feels quite like another time.<br />

A further 10 minutes’ drive and you come to<br />

Larressingle, which hovers in the mist on the<br />

horizon. This feels like yet another forgotten<br />

town, surrounded by heavily fortified walls dating<br />

from the 13 th century.<br />

In the Medieval period, Larressingle was home to<br />

the bishops from Condom but now is quite an<br />

extraordinary village, being the smallest fortified<br />

village in France at just 300 metres in diameter<br />

and a completely contained microcosm in<br />

amongst the vineyards. At one point, the village<br />

was almost abandoned, but is now inhabited and<br />

home to Medieval towers, a church, a well, a café<br />

and shops.<br />

A celebration of distillation<br />

Traditionally and as part of the Armagnac<br />

distillation process, once the harvest was safely<br />

gathered in, travelling Alembics would arrive at<br />

the Armagnac producing farms and vineyards.<br />

These large copper stills would be lit in the barn<br />

with the waste wood from the vineyards and<br />

the distillation process would begin whilst farm<br />

labourers and the like would gather together for<br />

a meal.<br />

This “Alembic dinner” has become a unique<br />

event and ritual, and for a couple of nights<br />

each year, those in the know travel across the<br />

south of France to remote vineyards such as<br />

Chateau Millet not far from Eauze. As the sun<br />

sets, their large barn is filled with a gentle buzz.<br />

The Alembic is lit and starts its work and guests<br />

are seated at long wooden benches and trestle<br />

tables to enjoy a five course meal prepared by the<br />

chateau owners.<br />

60 | sussexexclusive.com

As the evening wears on, the celebrations get<br />

underway, with live music, dancing on the tables,<br />

tasting from the Alembic and then the highlight<br />

of the evening: a large vat of Armagnac spirit is<br />

lit with a cheer and party goers are invited to stir<br />

the burning liquid. The partying goes on well<br />

into the night and when you eventually turn your<br />

sights back to your hotel, you must watch out for<br />

wild boar and deer as you drive home through<br />

the remote forests and vineyards!<br />

Before heading home<br />

Before heading home there are plenty of other<br />

places you should visit. Condom is the site of<br />

two 13 th century castles, dozens of historical<br />

monuments and a museum about Armagnac.<br />

The village of Lavardens is another of “France’s<br />

most beautiful villages” and is built on a rocky<br />

outcrop. It has its own Château de Lavardens<br />

that dates back to the 12 th century (although it was<br />

substantially rebuilt in the 17 th century).<br />

The castle hosts a number of exhibitions, and if<br />

you’re visiting in the autumn, this includes a rather<br />

extraordinary exhibition “The Art of Santon”<br />

whereby twelve rooms of the castle are taken<br />

over by 20,000 santons (little figurines) collected<br />

from 15 santon makers from Marseille, Aubagne,<br />

Aix-en-Provence, Avignon and Bagnols-sur-Cèze.<br />

The views from the castle are also fantastic and the<br />

shop offers a chance to pick up a bottle (or two) of<br />

Pousse Rapière, a local aperitif and orange “liqueur<br />

à l’Armagnac” before it’s time to head home.<br />

For more information about Gers visit:<br />

https://holidays-gers.com/ and for details of the<br />

Flamme de l’Armagnac celebrations at Chateau<br />

Millat visit: http://chateaudemillet.com/english.php<br />

Live band in the<br />

barn with the<br />

Armagnac still<br />

The Auch Tower<br />

Beautiful Fourcès,<br />


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A<br />

Look<br />

Back<br />

The last word of this edition goes to<br />

Peter Benner, local historian<br />

and <strong>Sussex</strong> resident of over 75 years<br />

I<br />

was taking the train to school from Balcombe during the very severe<br />

weather of 1947. My parents couldn’t understand my unprecedented<br />

eagerness to leave early for the station. The footpath that led to the<br />

station had a grass bank and the path was packed with ice making it<br />

like glass. As a result, the bowler-hatted and pinstriped gents going to<br />

the city frequently “went a purler”. I had discovered that when they did so,<br />

their small change often left their pockets to roll into the snow on the bank. I<br />

hastened down to pick up what I could find – in real terms, I have never been<br />

as well off as I was that year!<br />

Talking of commuting, the last word has to go to the station master at<br />

Balcombe a few years later and those that commuted to London via a change<br />

at Haywards Heath.<br />

The station master would ring us all up if the “Down” train was going to<br />

be late to tell us we could either run for the slow “Up” train or have a more<br />

leisurely breakfast and catch the fast “Up” later on. He would then appear on<br />

whichever of the two platforms we were on with our newspapers from the<br />

local newsagents.<br />

Now that’s what I call a great <strong>Sussex</strong> service!

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