SOUTHERN WATER: On behalf of the Parish Council, Peter and Jim met representatives from Southern Water last week for an update on progress with the sewerage scheme. What might be called the paperwork is all in place — final purchase agreements with the Estate, permissions with Highways and ready to roll. It just requires County to sign off on the final environmental conditions. The current expectation is for contractors to begin to move onto site in September with actual operations starting in October. They will be starting with the new entrance to the treatment plant in Solomon’s Lane and intend to get the work on the lane finished as quickly as possible to minimise road closure time. Residents will still have access at all times.

This probably a good time to remind everyone of Southern Water’s offer of free connection to the sewerage system. Previously, they have charged for this in full in four figures so it’s a significant offer. Residents will still need to make the necessary arrangements in their back gardens for the groundwork required to link to Southern Water’s boundary box. (Residents on Eatenden Lane who are on the old BG system will not have to make any connection arrangements.) Southern Water will be contacting eligible residents and perhaps holding a drop in day at the Village Hall. There are some savings to be made, such as building regulations fees, where neighbours get together. The Village Voice will keep you updated on everything.

The meeting actually took place on New Cut and it was very nice when all of us were invited into the back garden of 1, Mountfield Villas for a very pleasant cuppa in the sun. That’s what I call neighbourly. Thank you Susan and Alex.

THE SOW TRACK: Pete writes: I had a fun time last Sunday in the company of a couple of experts from WIRG — the Wealden Iron Research Group — tracing part of the route of the Sow Track. For those who don’t know, this was the track used in Tudor times to transport cast iron from Panningridge Furnace in Penhurst all the way to Robertsbridge Forge near Salehurst Park Farm at the end of Redlands Lane. The iron produced from the furnace, being cast iron, was unmalleable and unworkable. It was sent to the forge to be converted to wrought iron which was malleable and could be worked. The Sow Track — also known at the Penhurst end as Sow Lane — runs up from Penhurst to the top of the ridge in Netherfield then down through the fields and woods to Bull’s Cross, along past the church, and through John’s Cross to Salehurst. With permission from Lucinda, we were able to trace most of the route on the ground through Castle Wood and Limekiln Wood. As the woodland has never been ploughed, the evidence on the ground was remarkably clear at times. When the researches are finished, I’ll report back on the section of the old road that runs through Mountfield.

REMINDERS: The Horticultural Society’s outing to Capel Manor Gardens is on Sunday July 12th. The site is centred on a Georgian Manor House with Victorian stables and boasts no fewer than 60 different themed gardens over the 30 acre site so it will be quite a day out. All bookings and enquiries to either Celia on 880458 or Deirdre on 881791. And we will remind you nearer the time but make sure you have Saturday 25th July in the diary for Mandy’s grand Strawberry Tea in aid of Breast Cancer Care. If you have anything suitable for the raffle, let Mandy know on 880916 or pop in.

ORCHIDS: A few weeks back, we were lamenting the apparent loss of the orchids on the bank by the Village Hall under the Photonic sign. We certainly didn’t have any of last year’s Early purple orchids but right now the bank is alive with Common spotted orchids. We reckon there must be about seventy of them in that one small area of grass together with other flowers such as buttercups, knapweed, bugloss and Ox-eye daisies. It’s quite a sight and worth stopping the car for a really good look.

CONTACT: As ever, if you have anything for the Village Voice, we can be contacted on 880614 or via

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