Chiltington Lane

the landscape assessment walks in East Chiltington

Click on the link above to get back to the main article which describes the LLCA walks which took place in September 2016.

12.42 - One last look back (Eastward). In the distance you can see Spooner's Farm.
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East Chiltington walks - Spooner's Farm
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12.51 - Curving left the track goes Southwards. Field of corn on the left. Another big tree on the right.
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East Chiltington - Landscape Survey Walks
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13.07 - We've skirted past the Southern edge of Wootton Farm and we're heading along the track to Novington Lane.
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behind us Wootton Farm -  we're on track to Novington Lane in East Chiltington
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13.09 - We've crossed Novington Lane where it meets the Roman Road and clambered over the stile. As we approach the first big tree in the field - this is the view on the left (Southwards). We're heading down a well worn path down towards the Jolly Sportsman (and Hollycroft) which will complete the walk loop
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over the stile at Novington Lane looking at the Downs in East Chiltington
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13.09 - This is another view from the same tree. In case you were wondering - did I somehow manage to lose the group with which I had set off from Hollycroft? Maybe that story about taking pictures - looking forwards from the front or looking backwards from the rear - to grab the scenary instead of the group of us - was just a way of disguising that I'd got completely lost and had been walking somewhere else entirely (maybe in Wales) and on my own? Well here we are. And - as the forecast had warned us - it did rain. But we finished our walk before the heavens opened.
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down the slope towards the Jolly Sportsman at the end of the  landscape walk in East Chiltington

the end... nearly

Were you on those walks? Do you recognise the dogs? They were great companions on this walk and it makes me smile seeing them in these pictures. If you can tell me their names I will update the phot captions to give them the star credit they deserve.

Did you post any of your photos of the East Chiltington landscape survey walks online? - in a way that I could link to them here from this article?

I've got more pictures too. A few weeks after this first walk in September 2016 I went on one of the other routes - up Novington Lane then across the fields to Blackcap. That was a much sunnier day - everything looks so much prettier then.

Sadly in 2021 as I write this - it seems we could realistically lose it all. And in another 5-10 years time the only part of this countryside we'll have left is memories and photos. But don't lose heart yet. That's where the Landscape Survey part of the walks comes in - because pictures and anecdotes like these provide evidence for what is under threat - when we want to recruit people to our cause to protect East Chiltington, Plumpton, St John Without and the fields we take for granted. And these digital assets can help when you come to write future planning letters to oppose destructive schemes like those reported in the Eton versus East Chiltington chronicles on wrongthingwrongplace.com

Epilogue

In the weeks, months and first couple of years after these landscape walks in 2016 it felt like the urgency to write up this walk in a blog here on ChiltingtonLane.com had faded. We had won our campaign against the caviar farm in Chiltington Lane, Hollycroft had become designated a village green...

But later - whenever I met up with Steve Toomey who had organised these walks - and feeling guilty that I hadn't even written up my little blog about it - I would ask him - Hey Steve what's happened with the survey report?

I assumed that the handwritten forms had turned out to be indecipherable or that the need to defend our landscape against harmful property speculators had gone away.

A couple of years later - Steve said that it had been decided to do a more detailed write up than just using the raw data abstracted from the survey sheets. This job had been handed to another neighbour of ours - Mary Parker. Mary - I knew - had been a strong advocate for trees and hedges and water and other ecological arguments in the caviar campaign and had written books about horse riding in the area and children's fiction and was a keen blogger on issues related to the countryside around here such as protecting the wildflower verges in the lanes being mown at the wrong time of year by Highways and a quiet lanes scheme. So I knew this would be a serious piece of work and looked forward to seeing it when it came out.

And as another year or two went by - I wondered what had happened. I hadn't seen any such doument on the East Chiltington Parish web site - although there were mentions of a landscape survey in odd pages here and there. I assumed that as things had quietened down in the planning menaces front - maybe the thing had been dropped.

In February 2021 - while we were all in UK Covid Lockdown #3 - we started hearing for the frist time alarming news about a serious intention by Eton College to build a new town on various fields around our lanes which had hitherto been regarded as do not build anything zones. I began writing about these matters in the Eton versus East Chiltington chronicles on wrongthingwrongplace.com

I felt guilty at that stage that I too had dropped the ball - and hadn't even written up my very small blog of the first landscape survey walks . But I kept getting pulled back to publishing snippets of news and blogs about the Eton New Town on my own web sites - knowing that the official resident campaign - was still putting together the name and content for its website donturbanisethedowns.com which only began showing its first clutch of substantive content in a site refresh which became visible on March 29, 2021.

In April 2021 (still in lockdown) I asked Mary Parker as she walked past my front gate what had happened to her report?

"I finshed it years ago" she said. "And gave it to Jenny on a CD. And then people said they wanted to change things or add things. I'm not sure where it is now. I see samples of what was in it on the East Chiltington web site - because you know you can recognise sentences you've written. But I didn't put my name on the original cover because I was taught that's not what you do in these kinds of documents - in the days when I used to do that kind of thing. What people want in Landscape Surveys is facts and data - not opinions."

"Do you still have a copy?" I asked.

"Yes" - said Mary. "It's on Word. It takes up lots of space. The chapters are big files with photos - so it will be a lot of emails."

"Who owns the copyright?"

"I suppose I do."

"Would you mind if I published parts or all of it on my web sites? We both know this is the kind of raw material which would be helpful in our cause to find planning and ecology arguments to protect us from these big developments."

"Absolutely. Send me your new email address."

Mary sent me the book files at the end of April. I dipped into them and it's a treasure trove recording East Chiltington. What we've got. What we'd like to protect.

I'd like to convert the whole document into a form which you can see on the web. You'll be seeing it appear in snippets and chapters starting soon. There will be links here in this blog and on the home page of Chiltington Lane.
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