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

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Ann loves to write poetry and stories. Current poetry on Nature, Travel & beyond, including varied poetic structures.

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

Sussex

Ridge of the South Downs to the West

Ridge of the South Downs to the West

Across the Weald

Across the Weald

Devil's Dyke

Devil's Dyke

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

Dorset & Devon

Durdle Door, Dorset

Durdle Door, Dorset

Beautiful North Devon Coast from Lynton

Beautiful North Devon Coast from Lynton

Sussex to Somerset; Roots and 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.


Somerset

Mysterious Glastonbury Tor

Mysterious Glastonbury Tor

Open Skies & Sand - Berrow & Burnham beaches

Open Skies & Sand - Berrow & Burnham beaches

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.


Brent Knoll aka Home Hill

Home Hill at last!

Home Hill at last!

On 'home' beach!

On 'home' beach!

Evidence of Iron Age Fort on Brent Knoll

Evidence of Iron Age Fort on Brent Knoll

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.


Brent Knoll and 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.



More Somerset Sights

National Trust Brean Down

National Trust Brean Down

Promontory into the Severn Estuary

Promontory into the Severn Estuary

9-legged Low Lighthouse on Burnham Beach

9-legged Low Lighthouse on Burnham Beach

Roman Baths, from which the city of Bath gets its name

Roman Baths, from which the city of Bath gets its name

Intricate Facade of Wells Cathedral

Intricate Facade of Wells 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!


Rivers Thames and 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?

Preferences

Other areas of England

© 2017 Ann Carr

Comments

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on November 01, 2017:

RTalloni: Thank you for your kind compliments. Glad you enjoyed the visit! The Burnham Beach one includes the silhouette of my then much younger daughter.

Ann

RTalloni on October 31, 2017:

Enjoyed this vicarious visit to the beautiful southern counties of England–thank you! It would be so lovely to see it first hand. The photos are clearly those of an artist and your Burnham Beach is quite winsome.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 23, 2017:

Hello, Shyron! Thank you for your kind comments. Who needs to go anywhere else when you have all that?! It is good to travel though and I hope you manage to get to Britain one day. Let me know if you do; you'd be welcome anytime.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Ann

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 22, 2017:

Ann, I love your country and your beautiful poems. I unfortunately have never been out of the USA, but we do have a bit of everything that most other countries have, like desert, sand dunes, mountains, hills, swamps, forest and lakes including the great lakes.

I would love to visit England, but doubt that I will ever be able to do so.

Blessings my friend.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 02, 2017:

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 from Wales on June 02, 2017:

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

Take care

Eddy.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 23, 2017:

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 on May 23, 2017:

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

manatita44 from london on April 26, 2017:

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)

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on April 26, 2017:

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

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on April 26, 2017:

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 from london on April 26, 2017:

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 ...

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 20, 2017:

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

Dianna Mendez on February 19, 2017:

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.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on February 01, 2017:

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 from USA on January 29, 2017:

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.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 27, 2017:

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

Ann

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 26, 2017:

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.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 26, 2017:

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 26, 2017:

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!

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 26, 2017:

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

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 26, 2017:

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

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 26, 2017:

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 :)

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 26, 2017:

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 from Alabama, USA on January 25, 2017:

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.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on January 25, 2017:

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.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2017:

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 from Tennessee on January 25, 2017:

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.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 25, 2017:

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

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 25, 2017:

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

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 25, 2017:

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

Ann

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on January 24, 2017:

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.

Shannon Henry from Texas on January 24, 2017:

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!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 24, 2017:

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

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 24, 2017:

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 from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 24, 2017:

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

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on January 24, 2017:

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

Ann

whonunuwho from United States on January 24, 2017:

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

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