Much of the English countryside is crisscrossed by a seemingly endless network of walking paths and bridleways that weave through public and private land. Our area of the Sussex Weald is particularly rich in these footpaths and offers some wonderful, typically English countryside with rolling green hills, picturesque copses, farm ponds, Norman churches, streams and brooks, and country pubs and inns. Sheep and cattle graze on the hillsides, a broad range of wildflowers grow in abundance in the nearby lanes and the ambient peace and stillness is broken only by the occasional birdsong solo.
With forced housing quotas from Brussels and a succession of recent governments being aggressively unsympathetic toward landowners and country communities, many English quite rightly lament the decline of this national treasure. However, we have found there is still a great wealth of uniquely British, unspoilt natural beauty to cherish in much of the south, and as the weather continues to improve, we’ve been able to spend a little more time out walking, often with the camera.
Above is a snap of what has become ‘our tree’, an ancient oak tree reaching the end of its time, standing leafless in the middle of the neighbouring pasture, very distinct against the surrounding deep greens and azure sky.
Hillside fields that are not used as grazing pastures are overgrown with hip length grass and offer the perfect opportunity to become Julie Andrews and the von Trapps (or, occasionally, the little one who goes ankle over head during the opening credits of Little House on the Prairie) and run free.