Despite knowing Sussex quite well, we had never heard of Barns Green, the location of our next short housesit. We had heard of Christ’s Hospital though the location where we were to meet Bill, the homeowner. The area is named after Christ’s Hospital School which was founded in 1552. This independent school was originally in Newgate, London it moved to Horsham in 1902 and still has free or part funded places for children from less advantaged backgrounds. Just thought I would give you a bit of background to the name but it was to Barns Green that we were heading, just a few miles away.
We were welcomed by Bill’s wife Hazel and met the very bouncy and hugely excited blonde labrador called Ruby. She soon calmed down and after a coffee and tour of the house we headed out for a walk around the local footpaths. The village had so many footpaths and bridleways we were going to be spoilt for choice for our twice daily walks but one slight disadvantage is that the lanes are quite narrow with no verges so avoiding the cars travelling about 10-15 miles over the 30mph speed limit was going to be interesting.
As usual on day one, we headed to the shops. In this case it was “the shop“, the village store. It had a large cart outside full of fruit and veg and inside there was a deli counter. A lot of the meat, bread and fresh items are obviously sourced locally and of very good quality but, as expected, a little more on the expensive side but I felt confident I could put enough meals together for the week without destroying the budget.
Family Sunday Lunch
We were only about 30 minutes away from Jonno’s brother, Nick and his wife Natalie, so after we had given Ruby a nice long walk they came over and we had lunch at the local pub, The Queen’s Head.
Unfortunately the food wasn’t great and the coffee was definitely not coffee as I know it but it was great to have a proper catch up. The last two occasions had been at Jon’s brothers wedding in June and our niece’s engagement party in July. Great family days but it is never easy to talk as much as you want to. We are not quite sure where all the hours went but before we knew it it was time to head off and we were pleased to stretch our legs and walk off the large lunch with Ruby Ruby. Don’t know why I say it twice, it just seems to work for me!
I don’t want to sound negative but the theme of our week was rain, rain and more rain! Taking Ruby Ruby out meant putting on full wet weather gear head to toe and having plenty of towels ready for when we returned to clean her off. I even took to putting on a hi-vis jacket because the skies were so dark and all my wet weather gear is black. Ruby Ruby was more likely to be seen than me!
One real highlight of our walks was the deer. Most of the footpaths we used went around the edge of fields and one day I counted 12 deer. A few in each field just minding there own business and they just didn’t seem bothered by us walking along and Ruby was more interested in sniffing out any stray apples.
Each walk ended up with a lap around the garden to pick up windfalls. Ruby loves eating them and too many give her a bad tummy so it was a race to get to them before she did which we managed most of the time.
Jonno couldn’t resist a tinkle on the old Joanna (that’s not me by the way). Joanna = Piano. He sat at the keys a good few times. Usually playing by ear he actually read the music this time and I was very impressed with his rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
Bill and Hazel had mentioned a campsite on the edge of the village call Sumner Ponds. It is a large campsite set around 3 or 4 fishing lakes. You enter the site though a farm yard area but don’t be put off it opens out into a huge area which is a well maintained camp site. Footpaths criss cross the site so we had a good explore with Ruby and then ended up at the pet friendly cafe, “The Cafe by the Lake“.
The cakes and scones were yummy and we even managed to sit outside on the deck with a view of the lake. All in all a much better experience than the Queen’s Head, perhaps we should have gone there instead for lunch because the meals did look good. The sun even shone for a bit so Barns Green isn’t all rain in biblical proportions.
The site has fields for camping and hook ups for caravans and motorhomes. There are also a couple of cabins, some camping pods and even as safari tent which on their website looks quite posh. The fishermen obviously thought the conditions were ideal because there were a lot of little tents and chairs set up around the lake and a whole host of fishing tackle and bait for sale in the reception area. Neither us have ever really been fishing but anything that can relieve stress and take you into the countryside gets my vote.
On our way
Before we knew it Bill and Hazel had returned from their week in Spain and after a coffee and natter it was time to pack up and head off. We loved Barns Green. The local walks were perfect and everyone we met was very chatty. With the little village store it is a world away from the busyness of Horsham and other nearby towns. Long may it stay that way unless it gets washed away in the meantime.
04/10 – 12/10/2019