RGS Discovery Walk in a medieval landscape at Burwash

Project Summary

A commission from the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and published on the Royal Geographical Society's website.

A 36-page publication downloadable free as a pdf or as audio files (a recorded interview with me) from www.discoveringbritain.org/walks/region/south-east-england/burwash.html. It is also sold as a booklet.

The Discovery Walks website is a series of geographically themed walks that explore in detail particular aspects of the British landscape.

This route from Burwash in East Sussex looks at a part of the High Weald that has changed remarkably little since medieval times, and retains numerous features dating back 700 years.

It was an area I thought I knew well beforehand, but with assistance from Gerry Sherwin from the High Weald AONB Unit, it opened my eyes to all sorts of aspects of the medieval landscape.

These include:

  • Small irregular fields hacked out of the Wealden forest by pioneer farmers
  • Vernacular architectural details, including tile-hanging, timber frames, hipped gables, catslide roofs and weatherboarding
  • Ancient woodland indicators and gills
  • Unimproved wildlflower-rich meadows
  • Buildings such as oast houses, watermills
  • Shaws and coppice
  • Woodland boundary banks
  • Sussex cattle
  • Oak trees: the 'Sussex weed'
  • Relics of the Wealden iron industry
  • Tracks used to drive pigs to winter grazing in the forest from prehistoric times to the medieval period
Copyright © Tim Locke. All rights reserved.

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