HORAM is a village situated in the Weald of Sussex, once part of a vast forest of 1700 square miles situated between the North Downs and the South Downs of south-east England. The Weald is now a land of green fields, arable farmland and small woods, as nothing is left of the ancient forest except for a few sites which are now of scientific interest.
The Wealden administrative District (population 142,000) covers 323 square miles of the larger geographical area which is the Weald. Horam (population 2500) lies 3 miles south of Heathfield, one of the five main towns in the District.
Horam is a village and a civil parish. This is a small administrative area for the purposes of local government, as well as a place which has its own church belonging to the Church of England and also has Horam Village Hall & Recreation Ground
There is another village within the Parish, the small community of Vines Cross. Most of the people of Horam parish live close to the centres of Horam and Vines Cross, but many others live in houses dotted along the roads and lanes.
The southern slopes of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty touch Horam on its northern fringe. Old established rights of way allow you to walk in the fields and woods on routes defined by small yellow waymarks nailed to gates and stiles, or by signposts and unusual concrete marker stones.
It is possible to find peace and solitude in Horam’s countryside even though you are never far from habitation. The landscape is cut by streams which have carved valleys, by trees and hedgerows, and by narrow winding lanes. One of these valleys is on the line of a fracture or “fault” in the rocks beneath, but nobody has any worries about an earthquake occurring here (perhaps we should be concerned!). The main stream is the Waldron Ghyll (or Gill) which is a headwater of the River Cuckmere.
The land in Horam rises from about 41 metres above sea level (on the stream at Horeham Bridge) to about 97 metres in two places, one on a public path near Vines Cross, the other to the north-west of Horam village on the main road. From the high land there are good views southwards to the distant South Downs (the hills some 11 miles towards the English Channel).
The geology of the Horam area is fairly complex insofar as there are several different surface soils within the locality, but not least because of the occurrence of large nodules of clay ironstone which used to be dug for smelting.
The large deposits of Wadhurst Clay, formed when the lower lying land of the Weald was a shallow lake or lakes, about 130 million years ago, are predominant; they still influence the kind of farming which can be carried on locally today and have been exploited for brick manufacture at Marle Green, Horam – a local industry which we expect to see revived in a few years time. Very close by are deposits of the Ashdown Sand, Tunbridge Wells Sand (overlying the clay) and other superficial material deposited by long-gone rivers. Depending where you are in Horam, you could have the sticky yellowish-brown Wadhurst Clay or a light, dusty kind or soil in your garden – or sometimes a layer of each.