LEECHPOOL AND OWLBEECH WOODS
These woods are close to the town centre. Leechpool is approximately 30 acres of ancient woods, it was devastated during the 1987 storms, however, since then 3000 trees have been replanted, these include Scots Pine, Sweet Chestnut, Oak, Ash, Hazel, Hawthorn Beech and Blackthorn.
Owlbeech consists of 55 acres of Scots Pine, these were planted as a commercial crop in 1970 and sold to Horsham council in 1989.
These woods were once part of St Leonards Forest, this then formed part of the ancient forest of Andradswald, this span 100 miles between the south and north Downs. It once was a haven for large herds of deer, wolves and wild boars.
By 1066, the time of the Norman invasion, small clearings had been made in the forest and settlements such as Horsham had begun to form.
By the 15th century, Horsham became a bustling market town supplying the local farmers and industry's. Iron ore, cheap fuel made from undergrowth and a plentiful supply of water made this town a success. By 1790 iron had run dry and mature Oaks were the demand from the Navy and Merchant navy. Leechpool was bought by the Duke of Norfolk
The Duke sold off parts of the estate to the Hurst family, who had been MP's for the town and local benefactors. The Hurst's sold Leechpool to Horsham District Council in 1953.
WARNHAM NATURE RESERVE
One of our favourite reserves. There is a 17 acre millpond in the reserve with reedbeds, islands and hides about the reserve (its a 92 acre reserve) to watch the birds.
Some of the flora and fauna that can be seen are Tufted Ducks, Kingfishers, Silver-washed Fritillaries, Emperor Moths, English Oaks, Orchids and Natterer's Bats. Warblers, Sparrowhawks, Roe Deer, Owls, Clouded Yellow Butterfly and Redwing.
On the pond, Cormorants, Teal and Herons.
The Millpond dates back to the 15th century when it was created by excavation of iron ore. A water wheel was installed to power the blast furnace and hammer. The iron was used to make cannons for the battle that led up to the Spanish Armada. In 1664, when Cromwell's troops arrived during the civil war, they destroyed the Mill.
In the 1600's it was turned into a flour mill until electricity arrived in the 1930's when it made it an uneconomical venture. The Mill house has now become offices, the Visitor Centre is the old cattle-milking house. The waterwheel is still in working order.
It is believed that Shelley (the poet, who was born in Horsham) learnt to sail on the Millpond.
The reserve was once owned by Shelley's son before it was sold to the Lucas family to become part of the Warnham Estate. For over 100 years this was how it remained until the new A24 was built, dividing the Estate, at this time the Council purchased the reserve area and in 1988 it ws designated a Local Nature Reserve.
Today, guided walks by the ranger are in place, educational trips and conservation tasks operated by the reserve staff.
HORSHAM RIVERSIDE WALK
This 11 mile walk takes you mostly along the banks of the water ways that course themselves through and around Horsham. There are plenty of notable sites along the way to take interest in.
The Warnham Nature Reserve
Leechpool and Owlbeech Woods
Industrial Medieval Horsham
Motte and Bailey Castle
Remembrance Garden and Cricket Field
St Mary's church
The Old Mill and Mill House
HORSHAM DISTRICT HERITAGE TRAIL
This trail will take you in and out of Horsham and the surrounding villages, pointing out via plaques different places of interest, these will include, prehistoric, Roman, Saxon, Medieval, Modern, Dinosaurs, Drama, Farming, Castles, Religious sites, Artistic sites, Industrial sites, Literature sites and Historic buildings.
Perhaps a part of England you have not thought of visiting before, if so, I believe you may be pleasantly surprised at the hidden treasures of facts you will come across in this very pretty county of West Sussex.
"FROM HORSE HAM TO HORSHAM"
We would like to share with you some of the delights of our town, so we'll start with it's name: This originated, it is believed from the connections to selling horses in bygone years, once Horse Ham now Horsham. The first mention of Horsham was in King Eadreds land charter of AD947. King Eadred gave Horsham to a Saxon noble for fighting against the Vikings.
A local iron industry stayed until the 17th century and we can also boast a healthy brewing industry, which was situated about a 10 min walk from our home until about 2 years ago when it closed. Horsham remained a prosperous market town, serving the local farms, until the 20th century when residential development and industry moved into the area.
These days we have a population of approximately 50 000, as many small towns, we are proud of our heritage and fight to retain our little piece of beauty but are slowly losing to the Councils to build, taking away our quintessential piece of England, however, for now, it remains a town of substance and one to be proud of.
Horsham town has developed around a centre place referred to as the Carfax, which is the meeting of five roads. In recent years some of these roads have been closed off making it pedestrianised. With plenty of outside seating in the summer it makes for a perfect coffee or lunch stop. To compliment this area there is a bandstand and all through the year a variety of music is performed on this stand creating a wonderful ambience in the town.
We have a shopping Mall called Swan Walk and shopping square called Piries Place, named after a headmaster of the local college Colyers, a Mr William Pirie who was often seen with his donkey and cart around the town in his day.
We have a lovely park, sporting football posts, tennis courts, netball court, playground, skate park, a maze and pond area, along with the Pavilion sports complex with swimming pools.
To the south of the Carfax, we have the Causeway and as the name suggests, it runs along a riverside. A peaceful area, a tree lined street of ancient houses, which leads to the wonderful Norman church of St Mary's.
It is in this area, at no. 18 that the author Hammond Innes lived
Also from the Horsham area, the Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was born, at Broadbridge Heath. Our town has a large modern water sculpure known as the Rising Universe (more commonly known as Shelley Fountain) which has been erected to commemorate Shelley. I have to say it is not a favourite site to the locals but worth a look. It has a plaque bearing one of his poems.
A FEW INTERESTING FACTS
1.The last man to die of pressing in England was a John Weekes of Horsham. Along with 3 accomplices he was charged with robbery and murder of a woman. One of the other three was a small boy used to gain access to the woman's house.This boy gave evidence against the others. Weekes claimed to be dumb, however, it is still not known if this was the case and over time it was not possible to prove him guilty of murder so he was charged with 'standing mute through malice'. He was placed under 3 hundred weight boards and the stone gaoler jumped on top of him.
2.Residents of Petworth Drive, famously put on a large Christmas display each year to raise money for charity.
3. Horsham was once famous for gingerbread, apparently the oldest cake bread in the world. Shelley is remembered for writing to his mother's cousin to request she bring him gingerbread from the Horsham July fair in 1803.
4. Knepp Castle was once a fortified hunting lodge used as a base to provide game from the park for King Johns table, it was also a royalist stronghold during the civil wars of the 13th century.
In September 2007, Horsham was awarded overall winner in the large town/small city category of Britain in Bloom, a gold award.
In October of 2006, Horsham was declared the second best place to live in the UK, beaten only by Winchester. This claim was made on a channel 4 show made up of statistics.
In 2007, a poll in Reader's Digest suggested Horsham is the 25th best place to raise a family in England.
Harry Enfield - attended Colyers college ( his famous teenager Kevin made reference to living in Merryfield drive here in Horsham, not a stones throw away from our home)
Robin Goodridge - drummer in the rock band Bush
Jamie Hewlett - artist/cartoonist and creator of the comic strip Tank Girl, co-creator of the band Gorrilaz
Catherine Howard - one of Henry VIII's wives, lived in Horsham
Hammond Innes - Author born in Clarence Road
Simon Nye - writer of Men Behaving Badly
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Tim Slade - co-founder f active wear and outdoor clothing fashion label Fat Face
The Feeling - Pop band
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had his fictitious Openshaw family in Sherlock Holmes (The Five Orange Pips) residing in Horsham.