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Poems on the Theme of The Counties of England; South-Southwest, Sussex to Devon; Roots & Home; Local sights

Updated on March 8, 2017

Southern Counties of England

All along the South Coast!  Kent to Cornwall
All along the South Coast! Kent to Cornwall

Roots

County of Sussex: I was born in Shoreham(by-sea), lived in Hurstpierpoint, not far due west from Hassocks
County of Sussex: I was born in Shoreham(by-sea), lived in Hurstpierpoint, not far due west from Hassocks | Source

Sussex

Ridge of the South Downs to the West
Ridge of the South Downs to the West | Source
Across the Weald
Across the Weald | Source
Devil's Dyke
Devil's Dyke | Source

A Sussex Girl at Heart

The southern counties of England are close to my heart. I was born in Sussex, in just about the middle of the south of England, on the coast of the English Channel in a little town called Shoreham-by-Sea, near Brighton and Hove. Precious to me are childhood memories of weekend walks along the South Downs, of going to secondary school on the train and, later, of driving around the country lanes, learning every twist and turn as I revelled in the freedom. The sight of the folding, rolling South Downs weaving their southern border of the Weald stills my breath. Standing atop of them, looking out over that same Weald, makes you feel like king or queen of your own land.

I have lived in Hampshire too and now live in Somerset, still by the sea, the only place where I have felt at home since leaving Sussex.

Our southern counties do indeed have the beauties and attributes described in the following poem. Any one of them is worth a visit, as is any other part of England or Britain. Because these have always been a part of my life, they are a source of comfort, joy and pride; I visit them as often as I can.

(A little aside: Please allow me to clarify to those who are not British a small point that often creates confusion; England is not the same as Britain. Though I love all the nations of Britain (England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland), we are concentrating here on England, my country of birth.)


A Precious Find

It is my intention in this series to illustrate our countryside using poems and background information. Some years ago I took a book out of the library, amongst whose pages was this wonderful poem about the five counties of England I love the most, especially the Sussex of my youth and Somerset where I’ve settled, albeit via a circuitous route. It had no title so I’ve taken the liberty of adding my own:


Hampshire

Beautiful Beech Trees in The New Forest, Hampshire
Beautiful Beech Trees in The New Forest, Hampshire | Source

Dorset & Devon

Durdle Door, Dorset
Durdle Door, Dorset | Source
Beautiful North Devon Coast from Lynton
Beautiful North Devon Coast from Lynton | Source

Somerset

Mysterious Glastonbury Tor
Mysterious Glastonbury Tor | Source
Open Skies & Sand - Berrow & Burnham beaches
Open Skies & Sand - Berrow & Burnham beaches | Source

Sussex to Somerset; Roots & Home

The ideal England is south of Thames and Severn.

Very old is this land, very old, yet perennially fresh,

A land of infinite beauty and of infinite variety.

Each of the Southern Shires has something personal

to itself, its individuality.


Thus Sussex is Downland: land of chalk-hills,

land of sunshine and flying shadows of clouds,

and the passing of winds from the sea.


Hampshire is Wessex: full of the glory which tradition gives,

full of soft beauty too, of deep, willow-fringed rivers,

high beech woods, and with villages beyond compare.


Dorset is quiet and beautiful and lonely: a land old beyond telling,

full of colour in Autumn, in Spring lovely, but never gay.


Devon is known to all, Queen of the South,

with her wondrous colourings, her cliffs,

her moors, her lanes.


And Somerset is home:


It is here that the longest journeys end,

that the greatest wanderers come to rest at last.

The land of peace and stillness, this country, above all others,

has kept the spirit men call homeliness,

the spirit of warmth and welcoming.


Three things one finds here: an oldness, a kindness, and a wisdom.

Kind folk they are, with the kindest accent of any of our race,

wonderfully soft, yet firm, changeless.


Such is Somerset - a land full of a quiet, gentle beauty,

very old very close to Nature,

and so almost unchanging as the years slip by.

Anon

from ‘Somerset Ways’ published by Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton Ken & Co Ltd, in conjunction with the Great Western Railway.


Brent Knoll aka Home Hill

Home Hill at last!
Home Hill at last! | Source
On 'home' beach!
On 'home' beach! | Source
Evidence of Iron Age Fort on Brent Knoll
Evidence of Iron Age Fort on Brent Knoll | Source

Our Own Home

Strangely, we have a hill near my house in Somerset which, without knowing anything about this poem, my younger daughter christened ‘Home Hill’ because it was the landmark telling her we were nearly home when returning from high days and holidays.

Cue for another poem, mine this time, about our landmark of Somerset which tells us when we’re back to the comfort of our own home.


Home Hill

Standing solemn, guarding the coastal plain,

Brent Knoll shifts in light and rain.


For sunlit slopes or distant mists enclosed

she’d watch, until home-fields rose


or peeped from the distance over flats and rhynes,

shouted stark ‘gainst black clouds’ dreams.


Little girl drawn ever back to base,

older now, her heart beats race


to see that steadfast knoll of green-clad stone,

reassuring keystone, home.


Ann Carr 1/17

More Somerset Sights

National Trust Brean Down
National Trust Brean Down | Source
Promontory into the Severn Estuary
Promontory into the Severn Estuary
9-legged Low Lighthouse on Burnham Beach
9-legged Low Lighthouse on Burnham Beach | Source
Roman Baths, from which the city of Bath gets its name
Roman Baths, from which the city of Bath gets its name | Source
Intricate Facade of Wells Cathedral
Intricate Facade of Wells Cathedral | Source

Brent Knoll & other sites in Somerset, an area of Contrasts

Brent Knoll is a hill, with an Iron Age fort clearly visible from the levels. It is easily accessed from the village of the same name. The path is not for the faint-hearted but is well worth the dogged determination to reach a view and a half. You will see a panorama of fields, sea and sky, with Brean Down promontory in the distance to the North and Glastonbury Tor rising from the levels to the East, sometimes piercing through a shroud of mist.

This lump of a hill stands on its own close to the M5 motorway, so is visible from all directions as one approaches. It is easily identified, therefore an obvious choice for a child who wants to know ‘are we nearly home yet?’ Now everyone in the family uses her personal allocation of ‘Home Hill’.

Somerset is an area of contrasts. There are the flats or levels, large swathes of meadow and pasture below sea-level, reclaimed many moons ago and regulated by a series of ditches, known as rhynes, and sluice-gates. There are the Mendip hills to the North, part of which and also standing alone, is Glastonbury Tor, the place of legends surrounding King Arthur as well as the story of Joseph of Aramathea bringing the boy Jesus here on their travels.

There is Brean Down, the final promontory at the end of the Mendips, which also houses a fort built to defend the coast from Napoleonic invasion, looking out over the Severn Estuary towards Wales and westward out to the Atlantic. Marconi conducted some of his tests from the fort.

Somerset also has some notable cities; the beautiful, stately Bath on the River Avon and the smaller, ancient city of Wells with its moated Bishop’s Palace next to the exquisite cathedral.



Visit the South of England!

I hope these poems and details regarding the south-western counties have whetted your appetite to visit. It will be well worth the travel wherever you come from and you would be most welcome!


Copyright AFC/annart Jan 2017

Rivers Thames & Severn

The River Thames is of course well-known because it flows through London. Its source is far to the West, in Gloucestershire. The River Severn, Britain's longest river has its source on the northeastern slopes of Plynlimon, the highest point of the Cambrian Mountains in Wales, and flows into the Severn Estuary before it reaches the Bristol Channel. The Thames & Severn Canal joins the two and thus the rivers loosely enclose the southern counties of England.


Which area have you seen?

Have you ever visited the south-west of England?

See results

Preferences

Do you have a favourite south-west county?

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Other areas of England

Which part of England do you prefer or would love to visit?

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Comments

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    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 3 weeks ago from SW England

      Hello Eddy! How lovely to see you here again. I noticed you have a hub so will read it soon.

      Thank you so much for reading and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Ann

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 weeks ago from Wales

      The first time on hubpages for a long time and I loved this hub. Very interesting and great work.

      Take care

      Eddy.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 weeks ago from SW England

      Thank you, Claire. Cornwall is beautiful, in fact the UK has so much to offer wherever you go. We've decided to do more visiting here rather than abroad as we tend to neglect our own doorstep!

      Ann

    • Claire-louise profile image

      Claire Raymond 4 weeks ago from UK

      Beautiful poetry and beautiful pictures, I live in Cornwall so I know how pretty the south west can be!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 8 weeks ago from london

      Yes, yes and it does have a name. I'm getting younger, only 33 last February. LOL. Oh! Just saw it! De la Warr Pavillion. (smile)

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 8 weeks ago from SW England

      Just remembered! It's the De la Warr Pavilion - superb!

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 8 weeks ago from SW England

      Thanks for another visit, manatita, and for more kind comments. Glad you enjoyed this. Yes to Hastings and it also has the most cool Art Deco building nearby, at Bexhill, used in many a period drama; you might have seen it (I don't remember its name).

      Ann

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 8 weeks ago from london

      I love Battle, as it's only a 'stones throw' away from the beach in Hastings. Besides it's very beautiful!

      Your Hub is excellent, but I found myself smiling at the England reference, simply because your poem and writing reminded me so much of Robert Burns and Walter Scott. Perhaps it's the patriotism of Scott in Love of Country (Lay of The last Minstrels)

      Well, I love so many of the English countryside! Mattlock, Buxton, Aylesbury ... Devon with its overhanging vines, floral beauty and narrow lanes, not to mention beaches ... and many more. Stratford-on-Avon ...

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      Thank you, teaches. What a lovely thing to say! That poem is inspired by my daughter; seems to bring out the best in me! Good to see you today.

      Ann

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 months ago

      You brought England to my heart with your words here. Your poem Home Hill is inspiring! One day I hope to visit this beautiful country.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      Thanks, Flourish, for your lovely comment. I'm glad you've seen some of our lovely countryside and that this brought back some good memories.

      Ann

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 months ago from USA

      What a beautiful way to accent these counties. My family and I had the pleasure of exploring the English countryside by car years ago, and it was magnificent and memorable.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      Thanks, Alicia, for your kind comments. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Ann

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing an interesting hub about a lovely part of the world, Ann. I enjoyed reading the poems and information very much. The photos added to my enjoyment.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      Thank you so much, Dora. I'm glad this brought back good memories of your childhood and thank you for your kind compliments. I'm glad my love of my home land comes through.

      Ann

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 months ago from The Caribbean

      Beautiful phrases in both prose and poetry inspired by love of country. They take me back to my early school days when education in the Caribbean was strongly influenced by the British, and love of everything British (especially England) was injected into my veins. Good read for me!

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      bodylevive: Thank you for your kind comments. I too love Wells Cathedral; it also has a wonderfully large green in front of it, where many events take place. A friendly and historical place.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      Thank you, Ruby, for your kind comments, especially regarding the poem. I do indeed love my homeland. Yes, we are a little warmer but the best for that is the south-east (Sussex where I come from, and Kent) plus a few micro-climate pockets in Devon and Cornwall.

      Good to see you today.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      There is definitely a special bond between us. I too think twice before going on a plane, let alone for more than 1 hour! Needs must but it takes much courage for me to do it.

      Glad I can broaden your horizons in my hubs, bill. Hope you enjoy the trip!

      Have a thrilling Thursday!

      Ann :)

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      Thanks, Jo. Glad this brought back memories. Hope you manage to revisit sometime. I'm not sure what is meant by 'never gay' but I suppose it's a county which is quiet and content with its own peacefulness and prettiness, with no boasting or show. Thanks for reading and for your input.

      Ann

    • bodylevive profile image

      BODYLEVIVE 4 months ago from Alabama, USA

      The Intricate Facade of Wells Cathedral is so beautiful. I like all of them but this one the most. England is a beautiful place but I've only seen pictures. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I have never been there, but I would love to. Your poetry is beautiful and it depicts your love for your homeland. If I had my choice, I would choose the South because South means warmth, and I want that badly. Burr, it's cold here.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I think there is a special bond between us Americans and you Brits....we are like family members who bicker often but would defend each other to the death....so it is no surprise that I would love to visit England. It calls to me. Unfortunately, spending ten hours in an airplane does not call to me, so my way of visiting is to read your words, and I thank you for that.

      bill

    • jo miller profile image

      jo miller 4 months ago from Tennessee

      We drove through all of these counties a few years back and would love to visit them all again. But I don't want to drive. Dorset was probably my favorite, even though it is 'never gay'. Loved that line. I liked Devon, too, because of the moors. It looked most like the Thomas Hardy country I'd always imagined--and it seemed less crowded.

      Thanks for the memories.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      Hello John! Thanks for your generous comment; glad this inspired you. It would be interesting to hear about 'Home Hill's all over the world! That one of yours rings a bell as I think my partner has mentioned it.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      shanmarie: Thanks for your kind comment; I'm glad you liked the poem.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      Thank you, Eric, for your charming comment. Hope you get back this way sometime!

      Ann

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 4 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Ann. I love the poetry, information, and photos of these beautiful parts of the south and south-west of England. I have never been there and probably never have the opportunity, but you never know what the future holds. We have a town called "Home Hill" in northern Queensland, not far from Townsville. Sugar cane growing area.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 4 months ago from Texas

      I've only been to London, as far as England goes. But your pictures here make me want to visit the place you call home. Love the poem about Home Hill!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Carry me away to England Town. Wow, I had to stop daydreaming and reread several times. I do apologize as I was reminiscing about Kent and the Northern counties a bit. Seems I had epiphanies there as a young man back in '72.

      I do believe that England is special like a fine young lady. Every bit is delightful.

      Thanks

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 5 months ago from SW England

      Thank you, Mike. You're very kind. I find it easy to write about the places I love, so easing myself back into more frequent hubs!

      Ann

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ann. You put so much heart into this. It is beautiful work.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 5 months ago from SW England

      Thanks very much whonu. Glad you enjoyed this. I love these areas of 'mine'!

      Ann

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 5 months ago from United States

      Beautiful work my friend. I enjoyed this very much. whonu

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