Life On The High Hill
by Ruth Lawrence
Not so long ago, Ruth Lawrence took a wander around the picturesque village of Turners Hill.
Turners Hill is appropriately named for it is one of the highest points in West Sussex and stands on a steep ridge of the Weald between the North and South Downs.
The village boasts a Roman Road which ran from London to the Portslade area near Brighton and now it lies on the junction of two historically important routes. Situated just three miles from the charms of East Grinstead and four miles from bustling Crawley, Turners Hill is perfectly positioned for families who crave village life within easy reach of the facilities of town.
With a population of around two thousand it’s small enough to retain a sense of community but large enough to include pubs, schools, shops, businesses and a community centre called The Ark. This building on Mount Lane hosts various clubs including badminton, Pilates, Morris dancing, bridge, karate and tai chi. Sporting facilities include netball, five-a-side and tennis although football is very popular with two teams playing at the recreation ground. The cricket club has its own ground and the village contains one of the hardest sections of the London to Brighton bike ride making it popular with cyclists in training.
There are events happening in the village throughout the year; the village fete and horticultural fair is due on 22nd July while September hosts a summer tournament for marbles and a classical music concert at St Leonards Church. Even in the depths of winter carol singing cheers up the long evenings and a Boxing Day fun run counterbalances the excesses of Christmas.
The older part of the village is now a conservation area with buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries and the earliest mention of ‘Tournoures Hill’ was in 1427 in a land transaction held by the Sussex Record Society. The name ‘Turnem Hill’ was found on a halfpenny piece from 1669 and in 1671 the diary of Revd. Giles Moore mentions Turner’s Hill when it was still written with the apostrophe, a practice which was dropped 90 years ago. Roman coins dating from the third century AD have been found in the village, no doubt dropped on the roman road by a traveller from the capital to the coast.
Turners Hill possesses the smallest fire station in Sussex with a single engine and retained fire fighters and a mobile library visits the village twice a month. Over 50’s can benefit from a friendly community development to the eastern edge of the village which has its own shop and clubhouse. The village sits close to several National Trust properties and gardens and the delights of Ardingly and Weirwood Reservoirs and the Ashdown Forest make it a superb base for walking, riding, cycling and watersports throughout the year.
Fire Station Photograph by Kevin Hale