In this episode Cole and Emily take a wander inland, but not too far… the Channel is still in sight as they look back across the Cuckmere Valley to the edge of England through rows and rows of vines. The salty sea mist still reaches this impressive, enchanting but until recently rather secretive wedge of farmland between Alfriston and Seaford that was bought by Sarah and Mark Driver and has been transformed into the Rathfinny Vineyard.
As we explore, Sarah tells us how her own history on the other side of the world has helped her put down her own roots in the chalky soil, among the vines and fields of barley.
Come with us on a walk back in time accompanied by kraken, sea snakes, bowler hats and bones. We start with an astonishing view and an enchanted moment outside the new visitor centre at Beachy Head. Emily and Cole’s guide through millions of years of history is Jo Seaman, heritage expert and story teller, who takes us deep under the sea and high over the cliffs. We dig down through layers of soil to uncover hidden treasures and strange tales connecting the past with the present. Find out why Jo has put down roots on the Edge of England, has his head in the stars, and has developed a special bond with a skeleton. The latest episode of the podcast exploring the fascinating people, places and stories of the South Coast. Let your ears bring you here. For more information on the centre visit The Beachy Head Story.
Today we explore a borderland between the sea and the marshes, fact and fiction, even life and death. Our guide to the windswept shingle beaches, wide skies and curious settlements between Sovereign Harbour and Pevensey Bay in East Sussex is crime fiction writer Sheila Bugler, who is originally from the west of Ireland but now lives close by and has set a mesmerising murder mystery trilogy here. We walk and talk about writing and pursuing our dreams and discover that this strange, beautiful place has some dark secrets in real life too. Come with us with your ears … if you dare! Edge of England is a podcast exploring the stories, people and places of the South Coast, produced by Emily Jeffery and hosted by Emily and Cole Moreton.
Welcome to the first of a new batch of Edge of England episodes, exploring people and place along this curious, glorious stretch of coastline. We kick off season three with a very personal episode inspired by the wellbeing weekend that the lovely people at East Sussex libraries are having for Mental Health Awareness Week. In our first walk together for quite some time, Cole and Emily take a route skirting the very edge of the South Downs above Eastbourne and it all gets quite confessional. Plug in your ears, feel the wind in your hair and come along for a stroll as we reflect on the saving power of nature, big skies, and the mysterious draw of the ‘sky pool’.
There’s nothing we like more than to invite you and your ears on a wander along the coast and through the South Downs with us. Our walks together stopped when the first lockdown struck but our conversations didn’t. Here’s one we recorded during that time, exploring a story written by Cole set in the stunning landscape of the Belle Tout, Beachy Head and Seven Sisters, this time with added songs. Emily and Cole discuss Cole’s novel ‘The Light Keeper’ and why sometimes, love takes you to the edge.
Our new series begins later this month. We’re delighted to have been invited by East Sussex libraries to talk about our podcast as part of their well-being weekend. The benefits of walking and talking in and around the wonderful edge of England is the focus of our next episode, coming very soon.
We return to the curious life of Parson Darby, whose gravestone says he was the sailor’s friend. Was he a hero? Was he helping the smugglers? Emily and Cole are keen to discover more about the local legend who spent his nights keeping a light alive in a hole in the cliffs near Birling Gap and Beachy Head, so visit historian and writer Elizabeth Wright in today’s episode, recorded on a hot summer’s day in 2019. Elizabeth plays valiant referee to Emily and Cole’s theorising and sparring, defends the parson with passionate eloquence and reveals a surprising twist in the tale, after being contacted by members of a family in the United States who claim to have links to the tragic, heroic Darbys.
On a lovely day, with far too many people about (according to Cole), we go in search of the truth about a local legend, Parson Darby. Just who was the vicar who spent hours sitting in a hole in a cliff shining a light? Where was that hole? Did he save lives? Help smugglers? Die of a broken heart? Another fascinating story from the Edge of England, uncovered and told by award-winning broadcasters Cole Moreton and Emily Jeffery.
Remember those days when you could meet in a friend’s house for a cuppa? Those days will come again. Pop on the kettle and plug your ears in to this this bonus episode where Cole surprises Emily with a special audio gift, further fuelling her obsession with Winifred Barnes, a beautiful young star of the West End stage during World War One. How wonderful to hear her voice, more than a century after she sang. Will we ever know why ‘Wonderful Winnie’ left her glittering career in London, to spend the final years of her too-short life surrounded by birds and animals in a cottage on the edge of the cliff at Holywell in Eastbourne? This episode features recordings from 1917 rescued and restored by Dominic Combe as part of his Palaeophonics project, so a huge thanks to Mr Combe.
Emily and Cole pull back the undergrowth and uncover the extraordinary life of Winifred Barnes, once a huge star but now almost completely forgotten – except among a few locals who remember being told stories of the curious inhabitant of a house perched precariously close to the edge of a cliff. Why did this Edwardian singer, actor and comedy performer, a West End leading lady and sensation of the age, retire mysteriously young and retreat to the seaside at Holywell, where she and her sister were considered “too racy” for the locals?
Lockdown might have stopped us humans spreading our wings over the past year, but it hasn’t stopped the birds making their incredible journeys. A rare bearded vulture was seen soaring over the chalk cliffs back in the Autumn and white-tailed eagles from the Isle of Wight have been spotted over Beachy Head recently. The eagles were photographed by a man called Beachy Birder, whose blog and Twitter feed are fascinating even if you’re even just a little bit interested in birds and their interaction with this windswept stretch of Sussex coastline. We join Beachy Birder up on the headland to explore the wonders of nature and the nature of obsession. Have you seen Detectorists? This is a bit like that, with wings.