East Sussex County Council (ESCC) vision of the Low Weald
ESCC Landscape Assessment of the Low Weald
Whilst this is reasonably good it does however show some lack of appreciation of the
attractiveness of open, farmed, landscape. It does pick up on what we have been saying,
that development here is obtrusive and that not only is the landscape valuable for its
long views of the Downs, but also that the view of our area from these very Downs is
also of great value and unsympathetic development will be an 'eyesore'
Those of us with a more developed aesthetic sense will consider our area more deserving
of protection than the AONB, or even than Ashdown Forest which Cobbett in his Rural Rides
described as 'verily the most villanously ugly spot I ever saw in England'
We love and appreciate this little corner of England, and even those of us not born
here soon find it has got under their skin and they cannot leave.
You were conceived on Sussex clay.
The kind of clay that lines Downland dewponds,
and landfill sites;
the touch of moisture makes it swell,
it sucks you in.
That's when it takes hold, the golden clay, at conception.
Growing up free as the swallow tied to instinct's route,
as clay platelets, like Bentonite, seal, steal into cells,
gravity pulls a denser child down.
You climb The Hill
dreamride the clouds,
and read too much of distant lives,
careless of settling layers of summer's dust.
You could have left while light enough,
to escape naked to the back of the north wind,
but that flying horse you chose
slowed, stumbled, broken-winded,
fetlock deep in clay.
White bones coffined in yellowclay land,
wait til Anderida draws them from the soil,
to breathe them out to drift with the settling dust.
c. N Coleman 30/9/99
Excerpt from English Nature's
Assessment of the Low Weald and Pevensey
the time is ripe for a major, new, joint strategy to conserve and enhance the irreplaceable
nature conservation resource of the whole of the Low Weald. However it is critical to
remember that the Wealden Natural Areas lie within the context of surrounding land.
Over four decades ago it was emphasized that "Where the geographer delimits areas
which he boldly, perhaps rashly, calls 'natural regions', he cannot lose sight of the
fact that they would cease to be in any degree natural if they were divorced from their
surroundings" (Wooldridge and Goldring, 1953)
it must be emphasized that the whole Weald is geologically very complex giving rise to
many habitats and land uses. As Wooldridge and Golding (1953) eloquently said four
decades ago: ...the Weald is an area which has suffered overmuch from the tendency of
the human mind to generalisation. Nonetheless, the differences between one part of the
region and another are very important; there are considerable variations on the theme.
Land use within the areas is still predominantly agricultural, with less urban development
than either the High Weald or the Coastal Plain. Small towns and villages are scattered
amongst a patchwork quilt landscape of woodland, permanent grassland, hedgerows and wetlands
Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land.
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a
community to which we belong we may begin to use it with love and respect. There is no
other way for land to survive the impact of mechanised man, nor for us to reap from it the
aesthetic harvest it is capable, under science, of contributing to culture. Aldo Leopold, 1949