Ardingly Parish, West Sussex :: Shared Description

Ardingly is a parish in the High Weald of West Sussex that is bordered by Worth to the north, West Hoathly to the east, Lindfield to the south, Cuckfield to the south west and Balcombe to the west. It is located on a ridge to the north of the River Ouse with the parish tapering the further north it goes. The soil is mostly clay, however, to the north it contains large deposits of sandstone that form themselves into cliffs amongst the dense woodland.

The original settlement of Ardingly was built on the western end of the ridge prior to it dropping down into a valley containing Ardingly Brook. The current church was built in the 14th century on the site of an older 11th century building with some evidence to suggest worship on the site went back even further. To the east of the village was the hamlet of Hapstead Green located on the Lindfield to Newchapel road which in the 18th century was turnpiked as a major London-Brighton route. As a consequence Ardingly began to shift eastwards eventually taking over and assuming the settlement's name by the 1897 OS map, most likely influenced by the construction of Ardingly station and the neighbouring college.

A Roman road originally ran through the western part of the parish, to the west of the church, having crossed the River Ouse to the north of Rivers Wood, continuing northwards through the grounds of the current South of England Showground crossing the B2028 at Selsfield Common. The current main road through the modern village is the B2028 which in the 18th century was turnpiked as a London to Brighton highway. Running south from the former Hapstead Green is College Road, originally known as High Beech Lane, heading towards the western edge of Lindfield and Haywards Heath. At the same junction Street Lane heads west to the old centre of Ardingly continuing beyond as Balcombe Lane then West Hill to the village of Balcombe. Cob lane leaves the High Street and heads north eastwards to West Hoathly whilst to the south Burstow Hill travels in the same direction to Highbrook. In the extreme western edge of the parish a paortion of Paddockhurst Lane leaves the highway to Balcombe and heads north to Worth Forest. Also in the south west the parish boundary with Cuckfield runs along Borde Hill Lane which connects Haywards Heath to Balcombe.

A railway line through the same south western end of the parish was begun in 1866 with its intention to connect the main London-Brighton line with Lindfield, Uckfield, Hailsham and eventually Hastings. However, this was abandoned the following year when a major financing bank was collapsed. A branch line was eventually opened in 1883 linking the mainline to the Lewes-East Grinstead branch and provided Ardingly with a station a couple of miles to the south of the village. Services were haphazard and with the Lewes-East Grinstead line closing in 1958 the branch's days were numbered though it survived to 1963 with the line mainly being used to access the new Bluebell Railway based at Horsted Keynes and as an extensive sidings for the last withdrawal of steam services. The line was removed in 1963 except for a section from the mainline to the station whose buildings were taken over and removed to make way for an aggregates depot. The trackbed to the east of the station was acquired by the Bluebell Railway in 1997 which plans in the future to rebuild and reconnect to the mainline.

The River Ouse is the main waterway in the south of the parish and was made navigable in the early 19th century as far as Upper Ryelands Bridge on the parish boundary with Cuckfield. A tributary of the Ouse, Cockhaise Brook, provides the south eastern boundary of the parish along with another, Cob Brook runs up the eastern side. A further tributary, Shell Brook, provided the western boundary with Balcombe, however, the valley congaing this and another tributary, Ardingly Brook, was flooded in 1978 in order to construct Ardingly Reservoir.

A national school was opened in 1848 near the old village centre and became the village primary school during the 20th century. In 1987 it moved to a new modern building a few hundred yards to the east. However, the main educational establishment is the private Ardingly College which moved to its current site in 1870 having previously been located in Shoreham and is now one of the top public schools in the country.

Ardngly boasts two major attractions; Wakehurst Place and the South of England Showground. The former is an Elizabethan mansion built in 1590 whose early 20th century owner built up a series of gardens which were left to the national Trust in 1963 and acquired by the Royal Botanic Gardens a couple of years later. The latter is located to the south of the former and north of the village and was opened in 1967 and is regularly used to host events, its major one being the annual South of England Show which takes place over the first weekend in June.

by Simon Carey
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373 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

TQ3330 : Bushy Wood by Simon Carey
TQ3527 : Bushey Platts by Simon Carey
TQ3327 : Little Meadow by Simon Carey
TQ3429 : Fairfield Close, Ardingly by Simon Carey
TQ3431 : Yew Tree Cottages, Selsfield Road by Simon Carey
TQ3427 : Matthew's Field by Simon Carey
TQ3328 : Students Car Park, Ardingly College by Simon Carey
TQ3429 : Munnion Road, Ardingly by Simon Carey
TQ3330 : Bramber Wood by Simon Carey
TQ3330 : Ardingly Reservoir by Simon Carey
TQ3332 : Pale Field/Lower Park Field by Simon Carey
TQ3330 : Platts Wood by Simon Carey
TQ3429 : 20-22, High Street, Ardingly by Simon Carey
TQ3431 : Cob Brook by Simon Carey
TQ3428 : Standgrove Wood by Simon Carey
TQ3327 : River's Farm by Simon Carey
TQ3431 : Beech Cottage, Selsfield Road by Simon Carey
TQ3326 : Little Hornsland/Great Hornsland by Simon Carey
TQ3429 : St Peters Church Hall, Street Lane, Ardingly by Simon Carey
TQ3327 : Former Ardingly Station, College Road by Simon Carey
TQ3427 : Lower Ryelands Bridge by Simon Carey
TQ3227 : Little Meadow by Simon Carey
TQ3428 : The Nine Acres by Simon Carey
TQ3328 : Ardingly Reservoir Car Park by Simon Carey
TQ3429 : Binghams Green Cottages, Lindfield Road, Ardingly by Simon Carey

... and 348 more images.

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Created: Thu, 28 May 2015, Updated: Wed, 26 Aug 2015

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2015 Simon Carey, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.