On 18 January 2016 it will be 80 years since the death of Sussex’s great writer, Rudyard Kipling. Times may have changed, but a trip to his East Sussex haunts can still immerse you in the writer’s world. His famous 1902 poem, simply called Sussex, demonstrates the hold this landscape had on him, with its descriptions of “our blunt, bow-headed, whale-backed Downs”.
“Dorset may have Thomas Hardy, but we have Rudyard Kipling,” says David Arscott, a former BBC journalist and the author of A Sussex Kipling. “His poem, Sussex, really is an anthem. You can also see Sussex through his eyes when you read his short stories, like the ghost story They, when he vividly describes driving from East to West Sussex.”
Whether you’re already a Kipling fan, or you just want to learn more about Sussex’s literary links whilst dragging your kids away from their gadgets and into nature, now’s the time to be inspired.
‘A good and peaceable place’
With the grounds of Bateman’s estate gradually unfolding as you drive down the lane, it’s not hard to see why the Kiplings fell in love with this area. Sheltered in a valley and set back from Burwash village, it offers isolation and unspoilt views. The family lived here between 1902-1936, and widow Carrie bequeathed the house to the National Trust on her death in 1939.
For £9,300 they bought the “grey stone lichened house”, as
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