summer meadow Jo Grundy

Jo Grundy

Ecological writer Satish Kumar once wrote that ‘unless you know Nature, you cannot love her’. Likewise, if we wish to protect England’s green and pleasant land, it’s important to get to know why. People who drop fast food litter, pollute our seas with oil and hunt our precious wildlife, obviously were never taught all about why our land is so beautiful and precious. So here’s a quick whistlestop tour of South East England, to get introduced!

a quick guide to Berkshire, naturally

Berkshire is an affluent county just outside London, home to Windsor Castle and the urban area of Slough, setting of TV comedy The Office. It has lots of lovely countryside and is the most wooded area of England.

a quick guide to Buckinghamshire, naturally

Buckinghamshire is a small and affluent county that is also home to the new town of Milton Keynes, a town built in a very different way. Many commuters to London live here, and the county is also being destroyed thanks to the HS2 high-speed train project, removing a lot of trees and wildlife.

a guide guide to East Sussex, naturally

East Sussex is a large county that spans from the Kent border near Hastings and right up to Brighton city. Inland there are many Wealden villages and on the coast, people enjoy visiting Edwardian resorts like Bexhill-on-Sea.

a quick guide to Hertfordshire, naturally

Hertfordshire is ‘Miss Marple’ country (even though it was not filmed here). This is all tiny villages with lovely ponds and churches, along with a few towns in an affluent area that’s popular with commuters.

a guide guide to Hampshire, naturally

Hampshire is a large county that like East and West Sussex, is home to a large part of the South Downs, along with the beautiful New Forest, that’s home to free-range ponies. The coast is home to many popular seaside resorts.

a quick guide to Isle of Wight, naturally

Isle of Wight is England’s smallest county, depending on whether the tide is in or out (then it’s Rutland). Home to a stunning coastline, you can reach it by hovercraft from Portsmouth. The Needles is a series of three rocks protruding from the sea (there were four, but one crashed into the sea in a storm). It’s known for its annual Cowes boating festival, and growing lots of garlic and lavender. There’s also a wonderful donkey sanctuary here.

a quick guide to Kent, naturally

Kent is a large county on the southeast coast that’s just 20 miles or so from France, when you leave the white cliffs of Dover. Inland there is the spa town of Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks is another nice town. The historic city of Canterbury is also here, along with lots of pretty Wealden villages.

a guick guide to London, naturally

London is a big city of around 8 million people (and as many trees) making it officially an urban forest. Divided into 32 boroughs, some are affluent and others are not, but there is a fantastic public transport system and lots of nature goings-on like growing orchards and helping to protect native wildlife from stag beetles to red deer.

a guick guide to Oxfordshire, naturally

Oxfordshire is a mostly rural county set on the Thames, outside Morse-style Oxford city. It’s home to many pretty villages including Thame, and many people commute from here to London.

a quick guide to Surrey, naturally

Surrey is another affluent highly-wooded county where many people commute from, if they work in London. Home to many towns and villages, this is one of the most expensive areas of England to live.

a guick guide to West Sussex, naturally

West Sussex is set both inland (Gatwick, Horsham) and on the coast (the resorts are the sunniest in England). It’s home to a large part of the South Downs, and the weather means organic box schemes are very popular here.

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