Friday, 30 September 2011

On the beach

September - and summer has come at last!

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Most of Hangleton valley (the foreground) was fields (and the bypass didn't exist) when I first walked along the old railway. In those days St Helen's church stood out as it was the nearest building.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Skeleton Hovel

Brighton & Hove Golf Club was once an 18-hole course using the field in yesterday's picture. It now just a 9-hole course. The mainly timber club house, where Brighton Lions hold dinner meetings two or three times each year, stands a little way off the track of the old railway. In front is the greenkeeper's store, Skeleton Hovel, which was once an animal pen.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

More memories

Pass through the trees, take the footbridge over the bypass - all new since I first walked here - and on the right there's a field split in two by a footpath and a rather strange step. Time was when this was a golf course. This was a favourite walk for a Sunday afternoon in summer with my girl friend when I was, oh, 15 or 16. And somewhere in the bank is a time capsule buried by my brother and me. I wonder if it will ever be found? I can't remember what we put in it.

Monday, 26 September 2011


Time was when this asphalt-covered pathway was merely a muddy track leading beside the corporation tip. Before than, several eons before that in fact, it was the path of the Devil's Dyke railway which ran from Hove to . . . You've guessed it: the Devil's Dyke. But the railway was closed in 1938. Now trees have been planted either side of the path (I remember when) and blocks of flats have been built on the tip but the path still leads out over the Downs and eventually to the Devil's Dyke.

We'll go a little further tomorrow.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

That field again

The farmer has already cut this field twice - and now it's in bloom again!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The hidden valley

I have been walking the Downs to the north of Brighton & Hove for more than 50 years now so it would not be unreasonable to suppose that I know every hill, every valley and every path within a small radius. But still I manage to surprise myself with new discoveries. This week I set out intending to park beside the playing fields in Waterhall and spend a little while on Sweet Hill before returning to the playing fields to throw a tennis ball for Fern. Unable to park in my usual spot, I drove on to park beside the football changing rooms. I set off across a football pitch towards the Brighton Rugby Club pitches and clubhouse at the end of the valley. A track tempted me round a corner and, to my surprise, I found that the valley didn't end at the rugby club but did a 90 degree turn and carried on. Past the Council site for burning diseased elm trees I found this view.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Back to the Dyke

'Twas only on Wednesday I posted a picture of the view looking west from Devil's Dyke on an overcast and misty day. As I had an opportunity yesterday and the weather was reasonably bright, I went back and took another picture from pretty much the same spot with almost the same amount of zoom.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Changing seasons

The leaves on some trees, especially sycamores, are really starting to turn now.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Devil's Dyke

Rather a dull day yesterday with brief periods of light drizzle. This was unfortunate as we were due to attend the monthly Brighton Scouting contacts lunch at the Devil's Dyke Hotel. This is not a spot I visit very often now the National trust has started charging for parking. All the same, I took a photo of the Downs to the west. The next high spot (with the masts) is Truleigh Hill with Chanctonbury Beacon almost lost in the mist beyond. The village of Fulking is nestling below the Downs.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Back home

I collected Fern from the kennels yesterday afternoon after our holiday in France and we went for a short walk across the fields. I thoroughly enjoyed my holiday but it was good to be back in our own South Downs again,

Monday, 19 September 2011

Evening light

Stanmer woods as seen from the bedroom one evening last month.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Old Steine

The Old Steine is where the fishermen laid out their nets to dry in the days before Brighthelmstone became fashionable Brighton. After that, it became the place to promenade, partly because of its proximity to the Marine Palace, as the Royal Pavilion was at first called. It used at one time to be where a stream flowed into the sea but that now flows underground. The fountain is supported by three dolphins which also featured in the town's coast of arms before the amalgamation with Hove.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The Indian Gate

The south gate of the Royal Pavilion grounds is, understandably, known as the Indian Gate.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Last look

One last look over our shoulder before we leave the Pavilion grounds.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Dome

Just across the gardens from the front entrance of the Royal Pavilion is the Dome. This was built as stables for the royal horses but is now a concert hall with other parts of the building complex housing the Brighton Museum and History Centre.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Royal Pavilion gardens

On the other side of New Road, right opposite the theatre, are the gardens of the Royal Pavilion. For some reason which I have forgotten, these were never laid out according to the original plan until a few years ago.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Theatre Royal

Leaving Queen Square, we walk past the Clock Tower (in Brighton this has capital initials!) and down North Street to New Road. Here we find the Theatre Royal, the only surviving theatre in the town.

According to the theatre's web site:
"This important grade II listed building is one of the oldest working theatres in the country with an exquisite example of a regency auditorium. With a collection of historic buildings that surround the stage house, it is the finest example of a Theatre that has evolved over the last two hundred years.

Theatre in Brighton started in 1766 at Barn Hall in Brighthelmstone, a village soon to become Brighton. Theatregoers were to patronise two other buildings in the city before The Prince of Wales gave his Royal Assent for the building of a new Theatre Royal Brighton on its present site in the summer of 1806. The Theatre first opened its doors to the public on Saturday June 27 1807 with a performance of Hamlet and The Weather Cock starring Charles Kemble of Drury Lane."

Monday, 12 September 2011

Queen Square

The upper picture is one of those taken by my wife's great grandfather around 1870 and I took the other picture earlier this year to compare the changes in this square just down from Wykeham Terrace.

There is quite a lot of minor interest in my picture: the taxis in their distinctive Brighton & Hove livery of white with turquoise bonnets and boots for starters. At the back of the square is a white building with a grey roof. This was at one time an ice rink and has also been an indoor sports centre but it started out life as the Territorial Army drill hall and it was here that Brighton Lions Club introduced bingo as a commercial venture to England.

The side of the square out of the picture was the scene of one of Brighton's grislier killings - read about it here.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Wykeham Terrace

Immediately to the south-east of St Nicholas church is Wykeham Terrace, dating from the early 19th century. The Tudor-Gothic style is unusual in Brighton. These houses have had a chequered history having served as housing to which prostitutes could be sent for rehabilitation during the middle part of the 19th century, as Army married quarters in the 20th before being taken over by squatters. The terrace was eventually sold for redevelopment and turned once more into private housing. Among the better-known of the previous residents are Dame Flora Robson (the actress) and Adam Faith (the pop singer).

Saturday, 10 September 2011

St Nicholas churchyard

Nearly all the headstones and grave markers have been cleared in St Nicholas churchyard, the headstones having been placed around the churchyard wall. However, the graves of three people of particular interest have been preserved. They are Captain Nicholas Tattersall, who took King Charles II to France after the battle of Worcester, Martha Gunn, Brighton's most famous bathing lady and bathing lady to George IV, and - seen here - Phoebe Hessel. Phoebe lived to be 108, having served for many years as a private soldier without her sex being found out - even after she received a bayonet wound in the arm.

Friday, 9 September 2011

In Brighton town

I suppose that "Stanmer and Around" could stretch to Brighton town centre so let's take a stroll round the town. We'll start with St Nicholas church, which was at one time the parish church of Brighthelmstone (as Brighton used to be called). The church is built on a hill just outside what was the old town and the tower served as a landmark for fishermen.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Looking east

At 813 feet, Ditchling Beacon is the highest point on the South Downs. It is only about three miles away from here but I very rarely stop there as the car park gets so crowded. However, I did stop there the other day - just long enough to take a couple of pictures. This one is the view to the east. The village of Westmeston nestles right under the hill while the blue ridge in the distance is the High Weald.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


A blight on the pastures or an important food source? Ragwort is a common wild flower and the one which causes more disagreements than any other. I was under the impression that farmers were obliged by law to uproot any they found in their fields because it is poisonous to livestock. (It now seems it is only horses who succumb to the toxicity of the plant and cattle are immune.) On the other hand, ragwort is the only source of food for several moth caterpillars, including rare species such as the cinnabar moth, the ruby tiger moth, the goldenrod pug moth and the Sussex emerald moth. It just goes to show that even Mother Nature can't please all the people all the time.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Truleigh Manor

Not from the bedroom window this time but looking at one.

Monday, 5 September 2011

From the bedroom window 2

Hot air balloons come quite close to the house sometimes.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

From the bedroom window 1

Blue tit and female house sparrow in our neighbour's plum tree. The blue tit refused to face me.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

It's only the beginning of September - in fact, this picture was taken in August! - but it looks as though those fields beneath castle Hill have been ploughed already.

Friday, 2 September 2011


Fiveways, as the name implies, is a junction of five roads. This is where I find the three 'B's: baker, bank and barber. I had occasion to drop into the bank yesterday so took a few quick snaps. The main picture of toys outside one of the shops strikes me as a display of optimism. The weather yesterday was better, sunny and warm, but we are nonetheless at the fag-end of summer and schools are back next week. And anyway, the beach at Brighton is stony so buckets and spades are not required. The bakery window might not look as fancy as some of those french patisseries but the bread looks good enough to eat. I couldn't resist the Chelsea buns and bought a couple for our lunch.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

More deckchairs

Not Stanmer or the Downs but Brighton beach and the remains of the West Pier. A picture I took last month on a rare trip into town. Perhaps I'll post more from that trip later on.