Thursday 2 February 2012: On the road to Chichester
West Sussex is part of the ancient kingdom of the Saxons who settled here after the Romans left. Parts of the county are still very rural and beautiful. You don't have to travel far to feel away from it all.
This is a typical West Sussex farm, with a typical pylon stuck in the middle of the field, the bane of an otherwise unspoilt county. It lies just off the road between South Harting and Lavant. South Harting is a pretty village with a literary claim to fame. Anthony Trollope moved there in later life, his pen and other writing accoutrements can be seen in the Church of St Mary and St Gabriel.
Lavant is made up of East, Mid and West Lavant villages or hamlets, just a few miles north of Chichester. It follows a typical chalkland stream, rather grandly named the River Lavant, which often has a dry bed in summer, travelling largely underground until the winter rains swell it. Lavant also has a claim to fame, nearby Raughmere in the parish is the birthplace of the architect Hugh May . Understandably not many of his buildings still stand, but he left his mark when he was instrumental in the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire. Along with Christopher Wren, he was one of the Commissioners in charge. He also rebuilt much of Windsor Castle.
But for me, the charm of West Sussex lies in its farms and beautiful landscape, so gentle, full of colour and totally unlike the wild and bleak moors of Yorkshire where I was brought up.