Those Memories Made on Teardrop Lake – (20) The Choristers Lass (Part 06)
As they got nearer to Teardrop Lake the first thing they saw was the “work in progress” that was the soon to be Shallowfield Lodge Hotel.
Win's first unobstructed view of the lake from the road took her breath away.
Although she couldn’t see it from where she was standing the lake was shaped like a teardrop, which gave the lake its name. Surrounded by the ancient woodland of the Dancingdean Forest the modest body of water, just over two miles long and almost a mile at its widest point, the lake shimmered in the July sunshine.
They were walking along the northern perimeter road from the narrow western end of the water.
“Which one is yours?” she asked
“It’s the second one along on the Southern side” he said and pointed across the lake “you can just see it through the trees to the right of the boathouse, it’s called South View”.
“Oh I see it” she said
“You’ll be able to see it better as we go higher up the road towards the falls” Dan said
As they walked up the hill Danny pointed out the houses as they came into view and gave her a potted history of the buildings and its occupants where applicable.
Teardrop Lake and the surrounding woodland was privately owned and divided into twelve parcels of land, each with one significant dwelling on it and there were also a number of cottages dotted around the woods as well, quite a few of the properties were vacant and an equal number were derelict.
It was both idyllic and peaceful, there was little or no noise pollution and the lake was little used.
When they reached the point where the brook flowed under the road before they followed the water coarse into the woods Daniel pointed out South View again.
“It’s a lovely house Daniel” she said “and it’s beautifully situated”.
“Yes it is” he agreed “I’m very lucky”.
Heading up along the side of the brook, the first thing they got to was the long disused 16th century stone bridge and then they carried on upwards to the accompaniment of gurgling water.
The sound grew louder and louder with every yard they climbed until eventually they reached Shoe Buckle Falls.
It was so named, so legend had it, after a 17th century fugitive Cavalier who was pursued into the forest by Parliamentarian troops but disappeared in the vicinity of the falls without leaving any other trace other than a shoe buckle that they found in the vicinity.
The falls were not grand or spectacular but they were nice enough, Win seemed to find them so.
The water tumbled and spilled over the rocks gathering briefly in deep pools and then tumbling down again to the next pool.
It was dark beneath the ancient trees and refreshingly cool as the misty spray settled on them.
The rocks and trees closest to the falls were covered in bright green lichens.
Daniel and Win sat awhile and soaked their feet in one of the deep pools.
After about half an hour they set off for Olwen’s Chapel.
It was a much less strenuous walk to the Chapel from the falls, certainly compared to the walk up from the road.
The Olwen in question was an Anglo Saxon Lady who was one of the early converts to Christianity but her pagan husband’s tribe would not accept the new faith and she was forced to worship secretly in the forest.
“Wow” Win said as they emerged into a clearing that was the site of the old Chapel.
The Chapel in actuality appeared to be just an assortment of stones on the forest floor arranged around a granite altar stone in a woodland clearing though Win was impressed by its simplicity and smiled.
Daniel was also smiling but not because was not smiling because of the Chapel he smiled because of the joy in Win’s eyes.
When the Chapel had been rediscovered early in Queen Victoria's reign a local society was formed and from that moment kept it lovingly maintained.
“It’s wonderful” Win said “it really is atmospheric”
“I’m sorry you’re not seeing it at its best” he said
“It’s normally kept much neater than this”.