St Mary's church and oast houses in Salehurst, East Sussex
© JohnnyPowell/iStock/Getty Images Plu
A medieval landscape. Salehurst, East Sussex
This wintry rolling landscape can be found around the village of Salehurst in East Sussex, part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. One of northern Europe’s best-surviving medieval landscapes, it is a mosaic of ancient woodland, hills, farmsteads, deep valleys and small fields, crossed with sunken droveways - ancient tracks along which livestock was once driven.
The high ridges and deep valleys in this corner of south-east England sit upon layers of hard sandstone, soft clay and chalk and the landscape is dotted with unusual sandstone outcrops. Historic buildings are also scattered across the area, from 16th century timber-framed houses to 17th century farmsteads and 200-year-old oast houses, seen to the right of our picture, once used to dry and store hops. The church in the centre, St Mary’s, was built in the 13th century, just across the Rother Valley from the ruins of the Cistercian abbey at Robertsbridge.