THE HEART OF ALFRISTON: Our village is so much more than a quaint picturesque tourist attraction. Behind the facades of Tudor brickwork, fifteenth century half timbering, Georgian fanlights and our bow window store front is a real living breathing and rather fabulous community and today I would like to thank all in the village for the quite overwhelming support and love shown while our incredible Springer Spaniel Boudica was ill and then at her passing. I know villagers and visitors will miss her cat like balancing on our wall and enthusiastic greetings as they stopped to give her a hug. Alfriston defines community, forget your how to create a community checklist, we have it in spades. I know my neighbours, I laugh with them, dance with them and of course sometimes disagree with them, I don’t need the TV on when I can sit in the front garden and chat over the wall (according to many they now know summer is here as we are sat in the garden with coffee or wine), I can and do buy local, it takes longer to get to the village shop (a two minute walk) and back than it does to drive to the supermarket due to the number of conversations had along the way, people here share what they have whether that is information, time, food and drink or skill. Numerous are the times we have come home to find a fruit pie or cake on the doorstep, (I am a fabulous cook but no baker much to the shepherds disappointment). If a dog is lost people find it, gardens get cleared, emergencies get managed together. Help is given. Thank you Alfriston.
According to the SDNPA report, State of the South Downs National Park, it is the most popular place to stay in the national park and here are some of reasons people come, there are also a few dates for your diary and how to get involved, just being part of this wonderful community over the coming weeks.
PATHS AND TRAILS: Paths, Trails and Promises of Adventure. Shouldered at each side by the South Downs, the Eastern gateway to the South Downs National Park, the explorer can walk in any direction and discover splendour. It is the perfect place to visit for a day or create a base. Time can be whiled away in the amazing bookshop Much Ado or the Heritage Centre at The Gun Room planning your route or days. Much Ado have a fabulous programme of talks, events and workshops. Pop in to check out what they have on
CLERGY, CUCKMERE & CONFESSOR: The Clergy House was the first property to be acquired by the National Trust and is a treasured jewel on The Tye and throughout the year offer, walks, talks and tours. The intriguingly titled 1.5 mile walk takes place on Wednesday, 10.30am to 12.30pm and promises to be a fun and insightful jaunt around the valley and includes a tour of the house. Booking is not necessary. Adults £4, children £3.
BEATING THE BOUNDS: A chance to explore the parish boundaries, take in the views at an undemanding pace and raise money for Christian aid. The walk takes place on Saturday May 13, starting at 8.45pm. It is split into three convenient sections so that you can do part or all of the walk. If you would like to take part contact Geoff Ellis (871586) for routes sections and information.
SUPPLIES: The well equipped village store and newsagent stocks everything you will need for a short stay and a few things you had no idea you would need. Grab a paper, some snacks, maybe a quiche and a bottle of your favourite tipple before heading off for your next adventure.
ACCOMMODATION: Somewhere to rest your weary head, with over 300 beds available plus a campsite, there is no shortage of variety that will suit every objective and budget.
HOSTELRIES: Are aplenty with five bars in the village, it is possible to literally crawl between them, that is not a challenge and I will not tell here whether I have done it. Whether you fancy a local Sussex brew in a C14 Inn, a G&T on a Terrace of Deans Place or a glass of Sussex Fizz in the Colonial splendour of Wingrove House. Each of them serve simply scrumptious Sussex Fayre.
TEA: We like tea (and cake of course). Tea is available everywhere, including all the hostelries and the lovely tea rooms.
SPIRITUAL SUSTENANCE: Can be found in The Cathedral of The Downs, St Andrews or The Old Chapel. St Andrew’s church built sits splendidly on The Tye and is at the centre of our community irrespective of faith. The inquisitive may question why such a large church was built in such a small village in 1360. Why was it constructed of such fine flint work and who funded it? The question no one needs to ask is why save it. There are so many restoration events planned including ALFEST Saturday July 8, a music, food and drink festival. Arthur Beckett pointed out Sussex is a county of bells - church bells, sheep bells and Carter’s bells. Our lovely church has a particularly fine set which ring out for every occasion. There is even a rhyme, business finished, work begun, says the bells of Alfriston.
HISTORY IS ALL AROUND: The property names throughout the village reflect its working past. The name itself is derived from a Saxon chief, making this his Tun. How it is pronounced is constantly debated. The Heritage Centre at The Gun Room sets out the villages past with a glorious map. Unexpected twittens, passageways and short cuts open up in front of you hinting at the smuggling activities of The Alfriston Gang. There is so much more. Don’t just take my word for it the village website has extensive information on where to stay, eat and drink. The 2017 Alfriston and Cuckmere Brochure, out now, has maps and details the year ahead as well as information about all the local businesses. Follow the village on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with the latest goings on.
CONSERVE ALFRISTON: You may have seen the posters and leaflets asking you to Save Alfriston say No to Traffic Lights. An exhibition at The Old Chapel Centre tomorrow, Saturday, 10am to 6pm and Sunday, 10am to 4pm will set out the real extent of the ESCC traffic light scheme and its future impact on the village, most importantly it will offer an alternative plan, which puts the village first. The plan promises to significantly improve traffic conditions while enhancing the village. Conserve Alfriston are a large and concerned group of residents and businesses who are deeply distressed by the ESCC Traffic Light proposals. Their aim is to build widespread support for the introduction of a practical proposal which will ensure we continue to have a thriving village centre where: Village life, pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists are more important than the flow of traffic, where movements of large vehicles are minimised, the historic environment is conserved, visitors are attracted to come and enjoy the environment and range of facilities and most importantly the local economy thrives and the whole community remains vibrant. ESCC are currently drawing up detailed designs for their Traffic Light scheme and I encourage all residents irrespective of views to go along to this exhibition and compare. Visit the website www.conservealfriston.com
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Thought of the day sent to us by a very dear local friend. My spirit is free, I am everywhere. In the air that you breathe, in the sounds that you hear, Don’t cry for me Dad, my spirit is near. I’ll watch for you from the other side, I’ll be the one running, old friends by my side. Smile at my memory, remember in your heart. This isn’t the end, it’s a brand new start.
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