We all love Wealden’s markets

Young shoppers are presented with their free bags at Saturday's market. By Ron Hill
Young shoppers are presented with their free bags at Saturday's market. By Ron Hill

Forgotten your shopping bag? No problem for buyers at Uckfield farmers’ market last Saturday.

Free shopping bags were handed out to customers as part of Wealden’s involvement in a fortnight-long national Love Your Local Market celebration.

Organisers say it’s all about entrepreneurship and, since it began in 2012, the markets industry has pledged about 7,000 pitches to new traders.

The scheme started amid growing alarm for the future of high streets when the idea of a National Market Day was proposed alongside the government’s High Street Review.

With markets held on so many days throughout the month, however, loads would have been left out, which was when Love Your Local Market fortnight was born, and three years later people are still celebrating.

Markets have a long-standing place in the towns of Britain and Wealden has four major ones; in Uckfield, Heathfield, Crowborough and Hailsham as well as village markets in Chelwood Gate, Chiddingly, East Dean, Forest Row, Stone Cross, Pevensey and Waldron. The next one is in Hailsham tomorrow (May 10.)

Markets were the cornerstone of every major settlement throughout our history, with people taking goods to trade from surrounding settlements in order to feed themselves, but also the citizens of the places they visited.

Market day still holds a special place in the hearts of people from all walks of life, as a place to shop but also to socialise, meet acquaintances and catch up on some gossip.

Today’s markets are seeing something of a revival in fortunes. With shoppers wary of long supply chains they turn again to butchers, bakers and traditional outlets, tempted by the assurance of provenance.