Events in 2002

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Lewes Weekend

16th-17th February 2002

A walking weekend around the county town of East Sussex where Malcolm Saville set The Secret of Galleybird Pit which was also titled Four and Twenty Blackbirds. On Saturday afternoon we retraced the route of the characters over the downs to an Iron Age hill fort and crossed a Roman road. We met some other walkers with a Scottie dog complete with tartan collar. They had read about Malcolm Saville in the recent Daily Telegraph article. Later we went for a well-deserved fabulous feast at The Green Man, Ringmer.

Sunday brought another walk but with a level start this time as we walked along the River Ouse before climbing the downs to the site of the dramatic finale of A Palace for the Buckinghams at the chalk pit.

After lunch we descended upon the Fifteenth Century Bookshop, which has a good selection of Savilles. We then invaded Lewes castle where a town model and an audio-visual presentation outlined the town's often violent history. A climb to the keep provided good views of the lovely town and surrounding area.

Lewes Saturday


Lewes Sunday

Lewes Castle

Annual Gathering at Ely

5th-7th April 2002

It is fifty years since The Luck of Sallowby was first published and we went to the setting of this book for our Annual Gathering. Fine sunny weather greeted us in marked contrast to the storms and floods of 1947 which form the backdrop to this novel. The weekend included a coach tour of locations in the story, an illustrated talk on the history of the Fens and the 1947 floods by local historian Mike Petty, a fun quiz, book fair and plenty of pleasant food and conversation.

At the Annual General Meeting we said thank you to Robin Saville for his service as President of the Society and we welcomed Jeremy Saville, Malcolm's younger son, as the new President.

The photographs to the right show Wood Hall and stable block at Southery which was the inspiration for Sallowby Hall.


Southery - Stables


Southery - Wood Hall

Shropshire Weekend

24th-25th August 2002

We gathered at the village of Bridges on Saturday morning for a walk across the Stiperstones led by Robert Smart. As we could see the Devil's Chair clearly we knew from the legend that its owner was not seated there. After descending Black Dingle to Stiperstones Village for lunch, we proceeded to Snailbeach for a trip around the lead mines. Peter Sheldrake of the Shropshire Mines Trust showed us around the surface workings and guided us underground.

For Sunday, Sue, George and Joseph had devised a car treasure hunt that took us in the direction of Much Wenlock. No-one got seriously lost and high marks were scored. After tea and cake, some members started their journey home.

As a number of people had decided to stay for the Bank Holiday, a Monday walk was informally arranged. Perfect weather accomapnied our walk from Hamperley to the site of the Lone Pine before having lunch on the top of the Long Mynd watching buzzards circle against the backdrop of the Welsh mountains.


Lead Mine

Rest Stop

Harpenden Weekend

14th-15th September 2002

This Hertfordshire area was home to Malcolm Saville during the 1940s. We toured the town exploring Saville connections, visited two of his homes and walked along part of the Nicky Line which features in the Nettleford stories. In the evening we visited the Statty Fair following in the footsteps of the character, Jane.

On Sunday we walked to Westend Farm, Wheathampstead where the Saville family once lived. This farm is exactly as described and illustrated in Jane's Country Year. The barn is the probable inspiration of the Lone Piner's HQ2 in Seven White Gates. Arriving at The Wicked Lady public house for lunch, we saw that it matched an illustration in Trouble at Townsend - another connection found.

We are particularly grateful to the Allatt and the Dickinson families for their warm welcome and for generously showing us around their homes.

Mr Allatt

Statty Fair

Westend Farm

Dartmoor Walking Weekend

2nd-3rd November 2002

The book Saucers Over The Moor was set during the summer holidays we we retraced the characters' footsteps in November! The damp Saturday morning walk took us from Princetown over South Hessary Tor and down Swincombe Brook to the Forest Inn (White Lion Hotel) at Hexworthy. Here we dried out a little, had lunch and observed the rain getting harder. Our afternoon adventure took us towards Princes Hall (Kings Holt). Streams we had seen in the morning were now raging torrents. It made no difference how waterproof our clothing was supposed to be; we were all soaked to the skin.

After hot showers and a change of clothing, the group of seventeen met for dinner, a game of skittles and a warming drink.

On Sunday we met at Two Bridges for a walk up the valley to Wistman's Wood where the oak trees are stunted by the winds and covered in lichen. The weather was much improved - only light showers!

Towards Wistman Wood

Walkers at Two Bridges

Crossing the Dart