Sussex Field Notes is a blog written and compiled by Sophie May Lewis, a naturalist and writer from West Sussex.
In November 2016 Sussex Field Notes became the new combined home of my previous blogs, “SophiEco Wild” and “The Oak By The Rife Local Patch” which included posts from The Cutty Garden Allotment.
Please read on to find out more about myself, and the blog.
Sussex girl through-and-through I draw inspiration from the landscape and nature around my home, as well as the layers of history and stories that weave through it.
There is more to every landscape than the ‘urban jungle’ or ‘green and pleasant land’ that meets the eye. If you listen or look carefully, it isn’t hard to find the undercurrents of times and lives that have passed before, that have shaped and continue to shape the story and pattern of our countryside and towns.
Connecting people with nature, of all ages and backgrounds, is something I have always thought to be very important. I consider an appreciation of the wonderful wildlife of our own ‘backyards and local patch’ to be vital to this connection, due to the accessibility, and capacity to create a sense of ownership, empowerment and passion for its protection, that being close to our homes and everyday life brings.
I am a strong believer of the benefits of green space and nature in our lives, both personal and within the wider community, and in terms of physical and mental wellbeing.
I write both prose and poetry, sharing many of my musings via my blogs and social media. I also enjoy photography, and like to explore new angles of familiar subjects. Butterflies and flowers, trees and signposts, gardens and animals, landscapes and wildlife, and rural heritage; all of these appear under the focus of my camera lens or the scribbling of my pen.
I am known to spend hours in second hand bookshops sniffing out volumes of old sussex writings, or to pull into a lay-by to soak up a view, photograph a sunset, or identify roadkill a few yards behind! My favourite bird, if you can have one, must be the wren. I often declare that all my work would be better if t could be written whilst walking.
In 2009 ago I began my first blog, and discovered the joy of sharing my experiences of the world, and my passions with readers across the world. I have received comments on my posts from as far as America and Romania,as well as here in the UK. During this time I have developed my own writing ‘voice’, and continue to learn how to connect with my audience and express myself through crafted words. It often seems to be the posts about place, and our relationship with landscape and the environment, as well as those celebrating the wonder and beauty of nature, which most seem to strike a cord with readers.
Primarily nature writing, themes also occasionally wander off into family history, art, politics, culture, food, farming and other inspirations.
SophiEco Wild evolved into Sussex Field Notes and now also features guides and prompts to help readers engage and support nature in their own lives. The conversation continues on Twitter and the Facebook page.
In the early days of December 2014, I invited the world to ‘go for a walk’ together via a new blog, “The Oak By The Rife”. I have used this blog to record my experiences and discoveries of nature, within the set parameters of a 2mile radius of my front door. Together, you (the readers of the blog) and I have explored the patch in it’s naked winter form,welcomed back spring migrants who’s arrival sends our spirits soaring almost as high as the skylark song, and we have wallowed in the sluggish haze of summer days. I look forward to completing the year’s cycle with the joys of harvest and the preparations of the land for winter, before seeing what thrills and simple beauties the next seasons bring.
‘The Oak By The Rife’ was chosen as the BBC Wildlife Magazine’s ‘Blog of the week” on their social media platforms, in August 2015.
In February 2016, the Oak By The Rife patch blog saw the addition of a new section, following my adventures on the patch within the patch: my allotment, known as The Cutty Garden.
In November 2016 Sussex Field Notes became the new combined home of my previous blogs, “SophiEco Wild” and “The Oak By The Rife Local Patch”, including posts from The Cutty Garden Allotment.