Folkington, Wilmington, The Long Man, Michelham Priory & Gardens

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

Day Seven (Final) - A Journey of Discovery in East Sussex

It was our last day of exploration. John had devised a visit plan of some gentle walking to show us some of the beauty of the Sussex South Downs, and I had checked the website of Michelham Priory which said we didn’t have to pre-book for our Saturday visit. We piled into the car and set off.

The new 'Bee and Butterfly' window, at the church of St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, incorporates pieces from the original and depicts St Peter surrounded by butterflies and bees, above a Phoenix.

First stop was Folkington down a gravelled lane with tree branches forming a lovely canopy overhead. John had been several times on annual walks with our brother Peter along the South Downs which John now missed. Age is creeping us up and the first body parts to feel it most are our feet, ankles and calves, so I’m always looking down to watch where I tread on uneven ground. Now I sport my Dr Martens type boots as everyday footwear. ​

An opening in front of us showed us the sweeping serenity of the Downs. Home - South Downs National Park Authority It was my first proper visual intake of them and I wanted to walk and explore. For a while, we all climbed up a track, leaned against a field gate and admired the views. Wonderful! Then carefully trod back to the car and off to Wilmington. My son Marcus, said he could have wandered off quite easily on his own and seen us after several hours. Next year you can Marcus at your leisure! ​Please Click on the photo images to enlarge, and hover over to read any captions. All photos are credited to Marysia Zipser unless otherwise captioned. My carousel photos you can stop and study at any time.

On arrival at Wilmington we stopped in the public car park and read all the signs and information about The Long Man which appeared mysteriously in front of us. It is Europe’s largest portrayal of the human form, dating back to at least 1710 when the surveyor John Rowley illustrated the figure. But what is it exactly? Does it go back to ancient neolithic times? More information can be gleaned here

Long Man│Wilmington│Chalk Figures

Wonderful! - The Long Man of Wilmington, Wilmington Traveller Reviews

We wandered out of the car park and turned left down the village street, coming to the remains of the Priory, founded in the 11th century and enlarged in 1243 by Benedictine monks from Grestain Abbey in Normandy. More information is here Wilmington Priory The surviving building is now owned by the Landmark Trust and let as holiday accommodation, details here Wilmington Priory, East Sussex

I loved inspecting these buildings from the outside and especially the flint and stonework. Then onward to Wilmington ​Church of St Mary & St Peter. Up the pathway through the iron gate, the ancient yew tree presides which is reputed to be over 1600 years old, its vast canopy spreading across the churchyard. What a magnificent sight! The churchyard is a haven of peacefulness, I could have lingered so much longer. The church beckoned me in. My photographs tell my experience. Wilmington – St Mary and St Peter – Sussex Parish Churches St Mary and St Peter's Church, Wilmington