Wander round Steyning and you’ll find some lovely street names
Dog Lane, Mouse Lane and Sheep Pen Lane are among my favourites
Mouse Lane is just round the corner from Rosebud Cottage and goes to Wiston House and the South Downs. You’ll find a footpath on the left which can take you up to Chanctonbury Ring 3 miles away. It’s a steepish climb.
Sheep Pen Lane is just past the White Horse Inn and Dog Lane is a little further away – both are just off the High Street.
Dog Lane – in my photo – dates back to the time when dogs pulled carts.. Now what are those cats doing there??
St Cuthman was an 8th century Saxon saint who settled in Steyning, and founded the first church. He is said to have been wheeling his invalid mother in a handcart when it broke. This was seen to be a sign from god that he should establish a church close by.
St Cuthman is depicted in three stained glass windows in St Andrew’s and St Cuthmans’s Church in Steyning, West Sussex. You can see him as a shepherd, as a builder and in the one in the photo with his mother in a handcart
You can also see a modern sculpture of St Cuthman’s was made to commemorate the millennium: he is looking across the road at his church.
The church built by the Normans in the late eleven hundreds was nearly twice the size of the present building. It had transepts and a much longer chancel than the present 19th century one, as well as two extra bays at the west end of the nave, where the 16th century flint chequer work tower now stands.
The earliest part that remains is that which now forms the chancel arch. The surviving bays of the nave arcade, built around 1170-1180, have truly wonderful carving on most of the arches and capitals, each one different, with no shortage of the customary zigzags and scallops as well as many less conventional motifs and designs.
The setting is lovely: You look up to the slope of the South Downs on the east side. The River Arun and the wild brooks are on the on the south and west sides.
The village has its own castle – in use as a hotel and wedding venue. Even if you are not staying at the hotel you can walk around the back of the building on your way into the wild brooks.
The Wild Brooks
Whilst you are in the area do visit the Pulborough Brooks. This is an Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) site – open throughout the year and a haven for birds. This area often floods in the winter.
Amberley Working Museum
Another place to see is the Working Museum. This is an interesting use of an old chalk pit above the railway station which is now home to old agricultural and industrial machinery, nearly all of it still functioning.
Many of the houses round here are truly beautiful, with thatched roofs and plenty of lovely old brick and tile work. You can see a couple in my photo below.
Don’t miss a chance to visit this market town. You’ll see medieval streets, old English churches and tiny twittens (a Sussex word for alleyway) . Although surrounded by chalk cliffs, the town is dominated by the remains of a Norman castle (seen in my photo) and is also home to the townhouse of Anne of Cleves (fourth wife of King Henry Vlll). Lewes also has many contemporary art galleries and historic & special interest sites including the Priory of St. Pancras – a former monastery.
Lewes has numerous small, specialist, independent retailers and a local brewery. I recommend visiting Cliffe High Street. Bookshops, boutiques and antique shops are there as well as individual craft workshops. You’ll also find restaurants, cafes, and pubs offering tasty choices all year round with an emphasis on local produce.
I recommend spending time there and visiting the house and gardens at 15th century St Mary’s. This timber framed building was constructed around 1470 by the bishop of Winchester. At that time pilgrims used the house as an inn on their way to the tomb of St Thomas of Canterbury.
The house is open from the end of April to 28 Sept 2017 on Sundays, Thursdays and Bank Holiday Mondays (& Wednesdays in August) from 2 – 6 p.m. (last entry at 5 p.m.)
Entry costs: Adults £10; Concessions £9; Children £5
There are also some lovely cottage style tea rooms.
Sussex in southern England has the same chalky subsoil found in the Champagne region of France. The sunny, dry climate means that, as well as award-winning reds, whites and rosés, East & West Sussex vineyards produce sparkling wines that regularly beat French Champagnes in international competitions and blind taste tests!
One of the best known vineyards is at Nyetimber just outside Brighton. I recommend their Open Day: You can join them for an exclusive tour of the Nyetimber Estate, followed by a Masterclass tasting of their award-winning sparkling wines, led by their head winemaker.
Dates: 10th and 11th June / 1st and 2nd July 2017
Times: 10.00am, 12.00pm, 2.00pm and 4.00pm across both weekends