Green fields and blue skies on the South Downs Way

Getting out of the Office

5th November 2015

It’s been a good week, I’ve got out of the office and done some practical work too. I’ve been sorting out new signage to be installed later this month or next, meeting contractors to go over track improvement works and helping my colleagues Ben and Jan install a new bridleway gate on Newmarket Hill in East Sussex. I’ve also been checking out reports of electric fencing being too close to the trail and been rained on a lot!

I have also been fortunate enough this week to meet up with our lovely Poet in residence Lizzie Ballagher and her husband John. Those that are regulars to the blog will know the Lizzie has been walking the South Downs Way in short trips over the last year or so and been supplying us with poems inspired by her journey. It was great to meet Lizzie and John in person and I took the opportunity to present Lizzie with her official SDW Certificate. I hope Lizzie’ poems have inspired you too. Don’t worry I still have a few poems to share with you, including this one, the second in Lizzie’ final trio.

Don't forget you can raise money for the South Downs Way when you shop on-line. Go to to find out more. It's simple, it's easy and it's free.


Happy Bonfire.



II             Golden Grain

Grown from the ground,

From earth’s chalk & clay, grime & gravel,

Tight-folded granules of wheat—

The poor man’s gold—

Is grist to the mill.


Dusty with lowly soil

It bulges in shadowed sacks,

Dull & lifeless as ash

Until from the dry-store it’s poured

Rattling, scuttling down the hopper:


Nuggets crushed between grey jaws,

Between the furrowed grit-stones.

They utter no sound but the low, low groan

Of stone on stone as gold-dust

Turns soft as silk:


Brighter than chalk or silver,

Whiter than milk or light.


And flour blooms on the mill-house floor.


© Lizzie Ballagher

If you liked Lizzie’ poem you can read more of her poetry on her own blog at

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Lizzie and John Ballagher