Within minutes of starting this walk at North Chailey I was at St George’s an attractive red-brick building which once housed the Chailey Heritage Crafts School but has since been converted into residential accommodation.
Next to it sits Chailey Windmill. I learned from my guide notes that there has been a mill located here since 1595 and the yew tree, which stands at its side, is said to mark the centre of the historic county of Sussex.
The views from up here are stunning, particularly on such a clear day as this. It was very peaceful – hard to believe that there were so many thousands of people living within just a few miles.
FSH supporters in this area include Cumnor House School, which hosted a fabulous musical evening for us in 2016. The line up included Katie Derham who lives locally, opera stars Felicity Lott, Sally Matthews and Jean Rigby and a very talented young choral group Viva Voce. Another significant FSH supporter is the family-run funeral directors, C.P.J. Field. As well as generously sponsoring events, its offices near Burgess Hill have become the nerve centre for our annual Walk The Hospice Trail Event which Charlie Field and his colleague, Bill Scott, organise with the precision of a military operation. Also not too far away, at Hurstpierpoint, is Danny House, a magnificent Grade I listed Elizabethan red brick Mansion, now comprising prestigious retirement apartments. It’s owner, Richard Burrows, has generously hosted FSH meetings and envelope stuffing days as well as Festival 21, a memorable celebration of our 21st Anniversary.
The trail from St George’s led me on to Red House Common and down through a wood to a very sludgy brown pond – I almost expected an alligator to emerge from it.
There was a rope dangling from a tree over the pond which looked as though it might have had a tyre hanging from it, but no sign of anyone in distress – it reminded me of this Larson cartoon which I have on my fridge.
The walk took me through fields and meadows and woodland paths bringing me back to the A272 at Scaynes Hill, then into Church Road and the Grade II listed St Augustine’s Church.
I went inside, it is neither very old nor very special architecturally, but it felt cheerful and warm. It had an interesting, huge tapestry depicting various miracles performed by Jesus, and two attractive stained glass windows.
Outside I continued along Church Road and then through Costell’s Wood. At the bottom of the wood there were a dozen or so small children obviously having a whale of a time, clambering over an obstacle course of fallen trees. They were from Kiddie Capers Nursery & Preschool in Scaynes Hill and were being closely supervised by Naomi and her two colleagues.
On leaving the wood I managed to get in a complete muddle here as the guide notes didn’t appear to marry up with where my little blue dot was telling me to go, so I went round in circles for a bit.
A few crop fields later I was in Lindfield’s picturesque High Street. From here the walk was through residential areas that linked Lindfield to the suburbs of Haywards Heath.
The creation of this stretch of the trail was possible thanks to David and Peta Crowther, generous supporters of FSH, who live near this part of the trail.