Sussex farm shop of the month and all the latest rural news

PUBLISHED: 16:58 08 April 2014 | UPDATED: 16:58 08 April 2014

CPRE awards

CPRE awards


Rural news and views from across Sussex

Holly Gap Farm ShopHolly Gap Farm Shop

CPRE Countryside Awards open for nomination

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in Sussex is inviting residents and businesses from across the county to put forward projects for the 2014 Countryside Awards, which are now open for nominations.

The Awards showcase projects that create opportunity in the Sussex countryside, enhance cherished landscapes through innovation, and tackle pressing environmental issues. Claire Lloyd, CPRE Sussex Awards spokesperson says: “We are looking forward to viewing a range of projects, large and small, traditional and more quirky, that show the diversity of innovative activity across the county.”

Previously run in 2009 and 2011, the awards have encouraged groups and communities across Sussex to celebrate their achievements and to share their experience with others.

CPRE Sussex welcomes projects in the following categories:

New Sussex Landscape – to celebrate and reward landscape initiatives, structures, renovations, developments or a combination of these elements. Innovative designs that enhance the locality and embrace the challenge of climate change are encouraged.

Sussex Rural Enterprise – to recognise innovative projects which bring opportunities to rural areas through employment and/or education. CPRE Sussex is particularly looking for projects that develop the crafts and are environmentally cutting edge.

Field to Table - projects linking producer with consumer, highlighting the importance and benefits of locally produced and sourced seasonal foods and the working landscape they create.

Residents and businesses in Sussex are invited to put forward the names of projects they would like to see apply for the awards (which must have been completed between January 2007 and December 2013), by emailing their suggestions to CPRE Sussex at or downloading a nomination form at Each eligible project suggested will be sent an application pack. Projects can also request to apply directly.

Entries close on 31 March, shortlisted projects will be viewed in the summer, and the awards ceremony will take place on 16 October at Firle Place, East Sussex.


Farm shop of the month

Holly Gap Farm Shop - Islefield

Simon, Lynn and the team run the shop near Uckfield. Selling a wide range of local produce including meat, dairy products, cheese and condiments, preserves, seasonal fruit and vegetables, cakes, ice cream and bread…the list is seemingly endless.

They have a traditional butcher’s department and all meat is cut on the premises to your individual requirements. Their award winning sausages, burgers and meat pies are all homemade, and they specialise in high quality, naturally-reared meat and poultry sourced from named local farms.

There is a fresh fish van that visits from Newhaven every Saturday morning from 9am to 1pm - the fish is all caught locally and orders can be taken through the shop.

On Thursday mornings there is a mobile post office service, and if that isn’t comprehensive enough, they also host groups of up to 10 people for sausage making sessions. These are free of charge and you can buy the sausages you make. All meat and equipment is provided.

01825 750379


Be safe…not sorry, by Charlie Burchell

Providing concise step-by-step advice on every aspect of gun safety before and during a shooting day, this book is a must for any new shot – young or old. From the obvious such as always walk between drives with the gun unloaded and broken, to the not so obvious but equally crucial gun maintenance before the start of the season, it’s all here.

In Charlie’s own words, “we must never lose sight of those around us when using the gun. If you are safe, you will be asked again, if you are complacent, you will not!”

Hailing from a second generation Sussex farming family, Charlie’s upbringing was heavily influenced by field sports. He first started shooting at the age of 14, when he was taught by a local gamekeeper.

“Shooting has always been my first love,” he says of the sport. For several years his family not only reared their own birds, but also partridge and pheasant poults to sell to other local shoots.

“Over the years I have seen a lot of new guns both young and old coming into our sport, which is to be encouraged at the highest level. I believe it is a privilege to shoot game and should be treated accordingly,” he says when asked about his motivation for writing this book. “There is so much more to the sport than just ‘pulling the trigger’. I strongly believe that we owe it to the quarry we shoot, that we are both competent and safe when it comes to shooting.”

In conclusion he says, “you may be one of the best shots in the county, but if you put every beater and picker-upper in fear of his or her life, you feature pretty low on my invitation list!”

The book is self published and costs £9.99 plus p&p and can be purchased at, by phoning 01825 790341 or emailing A donation from each book goes towards The Gamekeepers Welfare Trust.


Game for anything - life on a busy Sussex estate

The month of March at Cowdray is always an exciting one, as there is a hive of activity in all of the departments. We await the warmer weather which triggers off the emergence of spring flowers, and the leaves on the deciduous trees.

This year the water tables are at a record high level, and the springs are likely to keep running at full bore for many weeks to come. There is a spring above Easebourne called Hungry Wells, which only runs once every ten years or so, but this is the second year in succession that it has started to run.

We are also clearing up the windblown trees in our woodlands following the storms in December and January, but this will also help us to make some progress with our plans for continuous cover forestry - this is a more natural woodland cover whereby there are a mixture of ages and species which are thinned, rather than clear felled in large blocks.

The 25 March is Lady Day, which is traditionally one of the quarter days in the calendar when commercial and agricultural rents are due for payment. Many years ago, we used to hold rent audit days at the Estate Office, but now the rental payments are usually paid by banker’s order, which is a more efficient system, but sadly a less personal one.

In the meantime we are planning a number of interesting events at Cowdray Hall and the Farm Shop at the core of the estate, so please check for further information.


On my walk - wood mice

Wood mice feel at home in a range of habitats, including forest edge, woodland, grassland, hedgerows and..which is where I spotted this one…gardens. He was busy tucking into some birdseed, but they also like buds, fruits, insects, worms, centipedes, snails and fungi.

During the winter, they often share nests, with up to four individuals sharing one nest. The nests are often below ground in a complicated burrow system, which is used by consecutive generations, but they do occasionally nest above ground in holes in trees.

Wood mice breed from March to October, which is probably why this one was out and about. After a gestation of 23 days, females give birth to four to seven young, which are weaned after three weeks, but they can have up to two litters a year. They are agile climbers and are active at dusk and night time.

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