Crawley’s greenways

Went with Peter Powell to explore his childhood haunts in east Crawley.  We used a Crawley Greenway guide to start, this was published by the Town in 2000 when they linked up lots of parks and public open spaces with footpaths, and named it the Millennium Greenway Guide.  We set out heading north from Three Bridges Station, parallel to the Gatwick Stream – proof that Gatwick predates the airport – unless the stream was named after the airport.

Grand terrace without a grand house, but probably more useful homes (for the many, not the few)

Grand terrace without a grand house, but probably more useful homes (for the many, not the few)

After nearly an hour we found ourselves crossing a ha-ha, and in front was a large fountain (under repair) and a raised ballustraded flat area which once held a grand house, now replaced by a big block of flats.  This was Worth Hall, and the town installed a sundial in the restored adjacent garden to mark the works.

I contacted the guy who made the dial to ask if he had registered it with the Sundial Society Register, he said not, and went on to tell me that the pedestal was provided by stonemasons in Chichester.

I contacted the guy who made the dial to ask if he had registered it with the Sundial Society Register, he said not, and went on to tell me that the pedestal was provided by stonemasons in Chichester.

Whilst they pulled the big house down and built flats on the site, they left the stable block and turned it into more flats.  Further on we passed “the oldest house in Crawley”, Ridley’s Cottage, now beside a busy roundabout, but a pleasing old timber-framed thing.

Ridley's Cottage, Crawley

Ridley’s Cottage, Crawley

Soon we entered a newish housing area where Peter started saying the phrase of the walk – ‘This was all open fields when I was a boy’.  This housing estate was on part of the Crabbet Estate which still has approach roads lined with horse chestnut trees.

Once crossing the grasslands of the Crabbet estate, this avenue now passes behind the back gardens of new homes.

Once crossing the grasslands of the Crabbet estate, this avenue now passes behind the back gardens of new homes.

At the public end on one of these avenues stood a Lodge, which is where Peter and his family lived in his primary school days.   And here he is beside it again.

West Lodge, on the Crawley Greenway Trail.

West Lodge, on the Crawley Greenway Trail.

After a considerable detour through Worth Forest we cam back across the M23 into the grounds of St Nicholas Church, Worth.  It has some (3 I think) Anglo-Saxon paired windows, which are unique, I read.

Love the slightly bulbous central column of this Anglo-Saxon window.

Love the slightly bulbous central column of this Anglo-Saxon window.

And in the grounds some very thick sandstone grave markers – up to 6″ of stone, but all so worn no markings could be read.  There is a more recent grave of the man who invented the torpedo.

Never seen gravestones this thick anywhere else.  The lack of clear inscriptions, and the size gives them huge power, or so it seems to me.

Never seen gravestones this thick anywhere else. The lack of clear inscriptions, and the size gives them huge power, or so it seems to me.

An hour later we reached the station to learn that a derailment between here and Brighton meant we had to queue for a bus replacement service, and a two hour bus ride back home.

thick gravestones St Nicks Worth (1200 x 900)

Not so much ending on a low point - more facing a new exciting challenge.

Not so much ending on a low point – more facing a new exciting challenge.

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