Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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CHAPTER VIII
LITTLEHAMPTON
A children's paradise—Wind-swept villages—Cary and Coleridge—Sussex folklore—Climping—Richard Jefferies and Sussex—John Taylor the Water Poet—Highdown Hill—A miller in love with death—A digression on mills and millers—Treason at Patching—A wife in a thousand—A Sussex truffler —The Palmer triplets.
Littlehampton is favoured in having both sea and river. It also has lawns between the houses and the beach, as at Dieppe, and is as nearly a children's paradise as exists. The sea at low tide recedes almost beyond the reach of the ordinary paddler, which is as it should be except for those that would swim. A harbour, a pier, a lighthouse, a windmill—all these are within a few yards of each other. On the neighbouring beach, springing from the stones, you find the yellow-horned poppy, beautiful both in flower and leaf, and the delicate tamarisk makes a natural hedge parallel with the sea, to Worthing on the one side, and to Bognor on the other.
The little villages in the flats behind the eastern tamarisk hedge— Rustington, Preston, Ferring, are, in summer, veritable sun traps, with their white walls dazzling in radiance. Such trees as grow about here all bow to the north-east, bent to that posture by the prevailing south-west winds. A Sussex man, on the hills or south of them, lost at night, has but to ascer­tain the outline of a tree, and he may get his bearings. If he cannot see so much as that he has but to feel the bark for lichen, which grows on the north east, or lee, side.
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