Saturday, 22 April 2017

Lewes In Spring

I spent my last day of freedom holiday wandering around one of my most favourite places in the entire world; Lewes. It's a little historic town in East Sussex on the way through to Brighton and boasts its own castle, ruined Priory, brewery, medieval highstreet and courthouse. Higgledy-piggledy lanes run all over the place- it's like a rabbit warren- and you could pop up anywhere! I have a little route that I like to walk which encompasses all of my favourite parts. You get off the bus at the bottom of the highstreet, then walk up the incredibly steep hill, turning the corner through the old market place and into The Needlemakers to wander around the sweet and quirky artisan shops. Coming out again you continue upwards through a series of narrow streets until you reach the top of a hill overlooking a fabulous view, turn left down a cobbled street and under the gatehouse of Lewes Castle. If you look to your right you can see the Castle itself perched on the top of its own extra hill.

Continuing down past the castle walls you pop out onto the top of Lewes highstreet where Cafe Nero provides lunch and coffee to go. Diving down yet another narrow side road, the path drops steeply down and brings you out opposite the entrance to Southover Grange Gardens- my all-time special place (especially for recovery after the dentist). In October (after the dentist) the Dahlias are out in full force which is simply beautiful, but in April...! The Tulips! Oh the Tulips! It is definitely the season, what with Standen's Tulip festival at the beginning of the week and Southover's Tulip garden at the end- Tulip heaven!

This (above) was my view whilst I sat on a warm bench in the sunshine and ate my egg sandwiches and drank my coffee. The smell was incredible and the colour was a feast for the eyes!

Did you know that Queen Elizabeth herself has planted some of the trees here? She came in 1951 when she was still just a Princess, and there is an inscription on a stone somewhere commemorating the event. The beautiful walls and arches which help to divide the space into separate gardens are often ones that have been 'borrowed' from the nearby priory after it was demolished. I wonder where they would have been situated when they were with their original buildings? The stories that they could tell!

This beautiful border with white and pink Clematises (Clemati?) on the walls and red and yellow Tulips in the flowerbed is where the Dahlias will be in a few months time. It's rather nice to see how these beds evolve over the year and the different flowers that take each other's places.

This golden field of Tulips was astounding! The regimental design of the box hedging barely contains the colour and exuberance of these fabulous flowers! This is what gardening is all about! I don't know I would have the patience to plant all of these bulbs and trim the hedges to their sharp points though, but I can appreciate the effect (and wish that I had a gardener to do it for me).

This tulip is the Cruella Deville of tulips. It can't decide if it should be a red one or a yellow one, so just went with both! Why not?

Once all of the different gardens have been wandered around and appreciated; the rose garden, the heather bed, the Winterbourne River culvert, the natural garden and the meadow, you can sneak out of a side gate in the far corner of the gardens, turn right and walk past the flint embossed Trinity Church then turn left and walk under the railway bridge and left again into the grounds of The Priory of St. Pancras. They renovated these ruins several years ago, adding steps and information boards, and they hold quite a few events here now which is rather nice. Barely any of the original Priory remains, the chaps who were ordered to pull it down by Henry VIII did a rather thorough job, getting right into the foundations and bringing down whole walls. Lots of these stones have been used to build newer buildings throughout Lewes so there are bits of the Priory all over the place.
This is the last proper stop before returning to the bus stop; walking through Convent Field past the Lewes football club, over the bridge of the train station and along another side road until you reach the bottom of the highstreet once more. A fabulous day adding to the brilliant layers of fond memories of this place and reaffirming my love of Lewes.

1 comment:

  1. such eye candy. The flowers are beautiful and so colourful. I've never been to Lewes but it looks like a nice place to visit. I can see why you like it there.