Main content

The South Downs Way

Clare Balding walks on the South Downs towards Alfriston, in the company of June Goodfield and Lynne Truss. They all become inspired by Eleanor Farjeon's poem, A Sussex Alphabet.

Clare Balding walks the The South Downs, from Bo Peep to Alfriston, in the company of writers June Goodfield and Lynne Truss. They've both been involved in a project for local people to write a new version of Eleanor Farjeon's poem, A Sussex Alphabet. Eleanor may be best known for the words to the much loved hymn Morning Has Broken. June and Lynne adore the South Downs although Lynne admits to being something of a timid walker, happier to be in a group and to carry a big stick. The day's walk inspired Clare to add her own contribution to the enterprise, after Amanda Elms of the South Downs National Park, explains the lifecycle of the Damselfly

D is for Damselfly

Summer's golden glow started to fade
With a walk ancient footsteps had made
Regular steps along the grassy path
To the rythmic beat of a wooden staff.
Gentle chat as we looked far beyond
When we spotted a stray from the nearby pond

A long insect lying on the ground
Not making a movement or a sound.
Pairs of bright blue spots along its back
Like eyes shining on a cloth of black.

Wings open, their delicate filigree
Paused and framed for all to see.
"What is it doing?" I began,
Ignorant of their brief lifespan.

"It's dying" came the instant reply
I swallowed hard and tried not to cry.
A beautiful creature swift and fast
Living the day that would be its last.

Without a whimper, minus a mess
A Damselfly in silent distress.

Producer: Lucy Lunt.

Available now

25 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Clare Balding
Interviewed Guest June Goodfield
Interviewed Guest Lynne Truss
Interviewed Guest Amanda Elms
Producer Lucy Lunt

Broadcasts

How to go for a walk

How to go for a walk

Walking can give you time to think or an opportunity to explore.

Clare's top 30

Clare's top 30

Listen to a selection of favourite walks from Ramblings.

Podcast