Down In The Village
by Ruth Lawrence
Tucked in the north east corner of West Sussex, Crawley Down is surrounded by fields and woodland yet is close enough to the A23 and Gatwick to be the perfect commuter village. Ruth Lawrence explores all it has to offer
The area was settled by iron producers until the 17th century and later this industry was revived to supply metal for the guns used in the wars with France. After this declined, local clay was mined for bricks and in the 19th century its secluded location and proximity to London made it a renowned centre for prize fighting where large boisterous crowds would gather to enjoy the matches. The village was served by a railway but in 1967 this was axed and eventually the old track bed was repurposed as the Worth Way, a linear country park that serves as a valuable wildlife corridor and trail for cyclists, riders and walkers.
There’s no shortage of societies and clubs to join in the village; the bustling Haven Centre hosts the Haven Theatre Company, the Snooker Club and the East Grinstead Sequence Dance Club. The Allotments and Garden Society, the Camera Club, the Monday Club and the Ladies Choir meet there too. The Camera Club offers a packed diary of talks, trips, demonstrations and competitions at their twice a month Thursday meeting and welcomes new members whatever their level of photographic experience. Members are encouraged to show their own photos during informal ‘10 x 10’ sessions where ten images are shared in ten minutes.
If you’re keener to be working together outdoors, the Crawley Down Pond Environmental Group meets to maintain the pond and carry out practical conservation work. Tools, safety equipment and training are provided. If sport is more of a motivation, the Badminton Club meets at the Village Hall and the Cricket Club meets at the cricket field on Sandy Lane. The Football Club meets at the Haven Sports Field and the Golf Society meets monthly at local clubs and Crawley Down (Ladies) Stoolball meets at the cricket field. An Open Door Club meets once a month where people can chat with a friendly bunch of members who share social events together in a welcoming, informal setting.
The village is home to a surprising number of flourishing and varied businesses so residents have the advantage of living in a compact rural community but with the services associated with a small town. The village website is a community project run by the Website Association which uses funds supplied by local businesses to provide much needed grants to village organisations. There’s a strong sense of a cohesive community here that is proud of its inclusive, welcoming nature.