Books that Made Britain – BBC TV Program + My Poems

Books that Made Britain is a new BBC TV series that premiered on Sunday afternoon, 16th October. It featured Sussex writers from the present day (eg Kate Mosse) and the past (poet Hilaire Belloc) plus a new writing project, ‘A South Downs Alphabet’ in which I am participating. In the 1939 celebrated writer Eleanor Farjeon created ‘A Sussex Alphabet’ – a series of poems, each one celebrating some aspect of Sussex, literally from A to Z. The South Downs National Park Authority and The Write House (an independent group of local historians and writers) joined forces to produce the new version – reprinting Farjeon’s with it.

I wrote two poems for the project, one on Chanctonbury Ring and one on the village of Amberley. I read ‘Chantonbury Ring’ on the BBC programme but am also highly visible in my purple top, sitting next to Dr. June Goodfield, one of the founders of the project, at a mock worshop which was set up on the day. The event took place at the Weald and Downland Museum at Singleton, near Goodwood in Sussex. The book is scheduled to come out in December 2016.

You can watch the program here


‘Chanctonbury Ring’

If myths and legends are clearly ‘your thing’
Then the place you should visit is Chanctonbury Ring.
Some say it is where the Devil’s at play
Luring poor souls at the end of the day.
So be on your guard if you go there at night
When the trees look like demons – a harrowing sight.
In daylight the beeches are stately and grand —
A beacon of glory at the top of the land.
Perfect for rambling, affording a view
Of the vast Sussex Weald and the Channel so blue.


An amble round Amberley is what I suggest.
It has so much to offer, so much that’s the best.
A castle so old with its stonework and towers
In summer bedecked with a riot of flowers.
The Wildbrooks when flooded – a glorious sight
Abounding with birdlife, on land and in flight.
Charming thatched cottages – yes, there’s much to admire.
And the church down the lane – it is sure to inspire.
Climb up high on the Downs to relish the view
Then descend to the tea room and refresh with a brew.
Your visit I’m sure will give you much pleasure.
Amberley Village – a real South Downs treasure.

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