West Sussex looks a long way away on the map, but if you take the motorways- which means going north to the M25 before turning south on the M23 (which is utterly counterintuitive) you can be in the neighbourhood of Brighton in about an hour.
Just short of Brighton we turned right onto minor roads and pootled about through the landscape of the South Downs- which is, hands down, my favourite landscape in all the world. Two of my favourite 20th century poets were Sussex men (they weren't friends) and wrote lovingly of the Downs. I'm always quoting Kipling so I won't do it again here; instead have a few lines of Belloc..
I never get between the pines
But I smell the Sussex air;
Nor I never come on a belt of sand
But my home is there
And along the sky the line of the Downs
So noble and so bare.
We stopped here and there. This is the church at Poynings
And here is a window in the church. One of the sources I consulted dated it to 1421, though I've no idea how they could be so precise. If this Annunciation were painted on board instead of glass it would be in the National Gallery.
Here's a stretch of road between Poynings and Fulking. It's called The Street and somewhere among the hills to the left is the great valley known as the Devil's Dyke.
(To Be Continued...)