Upper Beeding – Village On The River
by Ruth Lawrence
A strong community, and a charming setting make Upper Beeding well worth a visit, as Ruth Lawrence discovered on a visit in April 2019
The River Adur forms an integral part of the compact, interesting village of Upper Beeding, which lies four miles north of Shoreham by Sea and on the northern edge of the South Downs National Park.
In the early Middle Ages the river formed a wide estuary between Bramber Castle and King’s Barn to the west and Upper Beeding Church and Horton Hall to the east while sea shingle was reputedly visible from King’s Barn. Around this time, salt was extracted from tidal marshland of the parish and some of the 13th-15th century salt making remnants can still be seen in Saltings Field, a wildlife conservation area off Saltings Way. The irregular shaped mounds or ‘salterns’ found in Saltings Field are part of the only remaining medieval salterns in Sussex and as a result of a survey in 1995 they have been scheduled as an Ancient Monument by the Department of National Heritage. A conservation group was formed in 2010 by local residents to manage this space for wildlife and working party dates are put on the notice board at the East entrance to Saltings Field.
Walkers and cyclists have two major long distance footpaths to enjoy; the South Downs Way which runs south of the village and the Monarchs Way, a 615 mile path that approximates the escape route taken by King Charles II in 1651 after the Battle of Worcester and crosses the village on the banks of the River Adur.
Upper Beeding has achieved great success in local and national flower competitions since the millennium. A committee of villagers called Beeding in Bloom received the Harvey Trophy for the ‘small county town class’ in the South East in Bloom competition in 2001 and has since gained Silver Gilt Awards and Silver Awards in the same contest. The Beeding in Bloom committee hold regular monthly meetings throughout the year and organise working parties to maintain the flower beds and planters around the village for winter and summer planting.
The village possesses its own allotments which originated in 1892 from the foresight of the Rev Meyrick, the village Rector at that time. He made an endowment of just over two acres of land that he had rented with the wish that it be used for the cultivation of crops by his parishioners for domestic use. The Horticultural Society now has an allotment holders Association to offer help and encouragement to new and existing members and obtain seed and plants at discounted rates and they hold spring and late summer shows where members can display their own produce and flowers.
Such a strong community spirit endows the village with the qualities that make it not only a sought after place to live but also somewhere for visitors to enjoy and soak up its unique and stimulating atmosphere.