A High Wind In Sussex

It is with trepidation that I drive to the Priory after or even, like this morning, during a gale.  Storm Katie caused havoc across Southern England and the thought of a large oak or ash lying on its side gave me an anxious twitch as I drove to work.  Carefully dodging branches and a few downed trees on the road, my real worry was seeing one of the huge oaks keeled over in the garden.

Storm Katie (3)

Relief was my first reaction on arrival.  A quick scan reassured me that no biggies were on their knees, or dunked into the ponds, but still, there were plenty of large limbs scattered about.  These few shots nicely illustrate why I avoid walking beneath large trees in gusting winds.

Storm Katie (1)

The old foot-bridge was also battered and partly collapsed.

Storm Katie (2)

I’m not having much luck with bridges at the moment.  It’s become a prominent feature of my life and, frankly, just a tad tedious.

Storm Katie (4)

The damage is more wide-spread than I’ve shown and, when the winds have died down, it will take me a whole chain-saw-day to sort out.


I’m happy that whilst I might have lots more wood for the Priory fires, I don’t have to dismember one of the character trees I’ve grown to know and love.  Katie did some damage but she could have been far, far worse.

31 thoughts on “A High Wind In Sussex

  1. I waited out the storm inside with my books and seed catalogues and haven’t made time to walk on the Heath since but I bet there’s plenty of tree damage over there. I always feel a bit sad when I see big old trees torn down by the wind …


    • Absolutely Caro. I always feel very sad at the death of a huge tree – which is why I approach the Priory with a sense of dread after a storm. There must be two dozen really large oaks there which I’ve grown to love and the thought of any of them toppling over is awful. Do you mean Hampstead when you say Heath? Quite exposed up there, I suppose. Go an have a look and report back! Dave


  2. I know just how you must’ve been feeling. We are on holiday in France and have no idea if we’ve lost any of our big beautiful ash or oak. Hopefully our neighbours would have texted though they might not want to mar our break with bad news. Pleased for your escape. Fingers crossed for ours!


    • Sorry to hear that Philip. I remember it got a real battering a while back. I spent a happy New Year week in Dawlish with school-friends many years ago. We drank too much and danced a lot to Madness – which gives you some idea of how long ago it was. D


    • I’ve made a note re pole vaults, Stacy (but let’s face it, I’m going to forget it soon enough but because you’re simply not being sensible). My scary Rugby Coach, Mr Rees, once entered a young lad in the pole vault at the County Athletics Championship. The poor kid was petrified, understandably, as he’d never seen a pole vault before let alone hoisted himself over a high bar with one. He didn’t win. Dave

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  3. I think of that a lot, we have gales too on this side! We’re just getting ready to make some foot paths much like this only with no side railing, moving rocks, crocus just up, no snow now, rain, a very mild winter, I’ve been noticing some dead limbs hanging high and hoping they will fall out with a gale but no they are probably waiting for a perfectly still day when we would never expect it.


    • You’re right to be concerned, I think. I have an expert check the trees in the garden once a year. Dead oak branches tend to be fine (but not always) as they are very hard. But any limbs that are rotten and in danger of collapse I do have removed – especially where people are likely to walk. It’s a danger of having large trees in the garden, I guess. D


    • Hi Janet, I usually only wield the chainsaw when there is someone else about (for obvious reasons) but thanks for your concern. Could do without another bridge building exercise – especially as it’s made from oak and is immensely heavy. The chap who made it 20 or 30 years ago still does work at the Priory so I’ll ask him to have a look at it, I think. D


  4. It was very blustery driving up the A1 this afternoon but thankfully my garden is intact…. I’m sorry you will have work to do in order to sort out the damage at the Priory but I’m glad no oak trees were upended and the wood blown down can be used for something else.


  5. Here in South Wales, only Imogen decided to do any damage though some of that was concealed until last week when I made the mistake of resting on a fence post while surveying my handiwork! Whilst you seem to be suffering a bout of bridgeitis at the moment, I suppose the plus is that they were perhaps creaking a bit unbeknownst to you or anyone and viewing the storm damage is probably preferable to falling in when you rest an arm on the railing! And I hope the absence of any mention means that your new home (about which you’ll no doubt be blogging soon – hint) was unscathed.


    • Hi John, you’re right about the old bridge. It did need some tlc but I’d hoped it would be OK for a few months more. You are curious about my new garden aren’t you? I fear though you will be disappointed – it’s pretty unremarkable. Post coming soon about it. Really. D


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