Our ideas for locally-themed Christmas presents - fascinating books that have caught our attention in the past few months, and the sustainable Sussex trug, the product of a traditional woodland craft in the High Weald.
Also, see our guidance on finding local producers, farm shops and farmers markets in your area as you prepare for the festive season: Christmas shopping – keeping it local!
"Meadow: The intimate bond between people, place and plants" by Iain Parkinson
A fascinating collection of personal and evocative accounts shared by notable meadow experts from the world of science, conservation and the arts - including our own AONB Business Manager, Gerry Sherwin! The complex story of a hay meadow is told by the people whose lives are entangled within its intricate web, and in Meadow we hear over 30 first-person accounts touching on everything from wildflower and grassland restoration, basketmaking and weaving, pollinators and birdlife, water and soil, to hedgelaying, grazing, and archaeology - each illustrated with a beautiful colour photo.
Buy a copy
"ASH" by Archie Miles
Home to an extraordinary variety of life and part of our cultural heritage, the ash tree is the unsung hero of many of our finest landscapes, including the High Weald. Yet it faces an unprecedented threat from ash dieback. Discover our beloved, native ash tree, its folklore, history, botany and uses in this celebratory book by renowned tree writer Archie Miles. We were delighted to support this book along with other AONBs, the Ash Project and the Woodland Trust. Beautifully illustrated and with a heartfelt foreword by tree-lover, Dame Judi Dench.
Buy a copy
“Day Walks on the High Weald” by Deirdre Huston
This pocket-size paperback by local author Deirdre Huston features 20 circular routes across the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty showcasing the High Weald's rich history and varied landscape. Walk down old coach roads. Clamber through deserted woodland and along riverbanks. March past castles and skirt battlefields. Linger in meadows and leap across Wealden streams. See the countryside that inspired A.A. Milne and Rudyard Kipling. Each route features O.S. 1:25,000 maps, easy-to-follow directions, details of distance and refreshment stops.
Buy a copy
“Wild Flowers of the High Weald” by Chris Clennett
This attractive paperback from Kew Publishing by botanist and horticulturalist, Chris Clennett, is full of stunning photographs. From gardens to lowland heath, meadows, wetlands, the coast and woodland, a huge number and diversity of wild flowers grow in the varied landscape of the High Weald which covers parts of West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent and Surrey. This book will help locals and visitors alike discover key wild flowers of the distinctive High Weald habitats.
“The Sussex Trug: Form, Function and Craft"
by Sarah Page
The first ever book about the iconic Sussex Trug - a celebration of the traditional basket that began as a locally-produced agricultural tool. A beautiful book that takes an in-depth look into the history of the craft linked to the landscape of the Weald, from the harvesting of local raw materials through to the traditional techniques which give the trug its distinctive form. A bestseller in local independent bookshops, which won a British Book Design and Production Award in November 2018. A must for lovers of countryside crafts and Sussex history.
The Traditional Sussex Trug
Sussex trugs make beautiful, sustainable presents – we think they’re rather special! These unique baskets come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be put to many uses in the home and garden. A well-looked after trug will last for many years, and could even become a family heirloom. Trugs have been made in Sussex for at least 200 years, becoming world renowned for strength and durability. Traditionally made using sustainable materials; coppiced sweet chestnut sourced from High Weald woods, as well as cricket-bat willow. Sussex trugs were originally used on farms as measures for grain, feed or even liquid. Today traditional trugs are only made by a handful of skilled craftspeople. See 'A Trugmakers Tale'.
Available from various Sussex trugmakers.