Ditchling Film Society
Home to my family and I for the last 15 years, Ditchling is a very special place.
I had initially visited some four years earlier when a Brighton friend, who I was staying with at the time, suggested a trip to a nearby village pub. The journey out of Brighton by a back route, quickly took us onto the South Downs. The transformation from busy town to apparent isolation and tranquility in such a short space of time, was quite stunning.
And, it was that time of year when the Downs are patched red with vast swathes of wild poppies. Driving over the Downs, I was reminded of my previous life in Peru - there was something about the quality of light that day, (and on several occasions since) that transported me to the Peruvian 'altiplano' - the high plain above Cusco.
As we dropped down the steep side of the Downs, I felt I was coming home...
Ditchling Village - early history
We'd always assumed that the name 'Ditchling' related to its scenic location, close to the foot of the Sussex South Downs, however, the centre of the village is actually on a slope, near the ancient Lodge Hill, just behind the church of St Margaret's. During Saxon times - 5th Century AD until 1066 AD - Dicul and his people settled here and in time his name was gradually transformed.
Alfred the Great(c849-899), who reputedly burnt the cakes, was King of the southern Kingdom of Wessex, and held lands in this area; by the time of the completion of the Domesday Book two centuries later, in 1086, the community here was well established and listed. At one time it was the largest settlement in Sussex after Chichester and Lewes.
The ride down Ditchling High Street, with its spectacular view towards the Downs, is known to all those who have ever cycled the London to Brighton Bike Race, as this is the last village prior to the steep haul up the South Downs to Ditchling Beacon, and then the final run to Brighton.
Each June many take a breather in The Bull or the beautifully newly refurbished White Horse, alternatively they grab a drink or a quick snack at our wonderful deli, Chestertons, or stop at the final refreshment stop at the foot of the Downs. Several years ago,the Tour de France cyclists passed through the whole village in under half a minute!
It's well worth visiting the village just to go the museum. Based in the old Victorian School behind the church, this is home to a rare collection of art, paintings, pottery, weavings and other items that relate to the village's historical and artistic heritage.
Bed and Breakfast
Details of some of the beautiful Guest Houses offering Bed and Breakfast, in or close to the village.
Here are some delightful cottages for rent in and around the village.
'The White Horse' pub
Situated in the beautifully picturesque and historical village of Ditchling The White Horse offers a wonderful place to eat, sleep and drink. With accommodation the White Horse can cater for weddings, birthdays or just the one night stop over whilst walking the beautiful South Downs Way.
'The Bull' pub
With four large, individually themed rooms, this popular old pub in the heart of the village provides delightful accommodation. Bar snacks to full meals are available each day and the friendly, welcoming atmosphere will ensure that your visit is really special.
Visit 'Pruden & Smith Silvermiths'
With over twenty years' experience, Pruden and Smith, which is located at the heart of the village at the central crossroads, produces a wonderful range of silverware and jewellery. As expert designer craftsmen in all precious metals: gold, silver, platinum and palladium, they use only the best materials and services in their silver and jewellery: sterling and britannia silver, 18ct gold, 950 platinum, top gemstones, including conflict-free diamonds. Hallmarked in London & Sheffied Assay offices. This wonderful shop is perfect for that special gift for any occasion.
Court Gardens Farm
Visit this farm shop for locally sourced meat, vegetables and eggs. Court Gardens Farm lamb is widely known in this area as succulent and absolutely delicious.
Lucy Barlow Hats and Hatworks
Lucy Barlow and her sister, Niyati create a delightful range of hats - hats to suit any occasion, from a day on the beach to a wedding or other special event. Lucy Barlow Hats are internationally famous and sold through major London stores such as Harrods, Fenwicks and Barneys in New York. Now available online. For further details, see their website.
Bernadina Lloyd Textiles
Based at Dumbrells Workshops (up the outside stairs to the right of the back building,) Bernadina Lloyd is a textile artist, working with a broad variety of materials from leather to felt and silk paper, producing 2–dimensional work such as handmade papers, collages and rugs, and 3-dimensional pieces including exquisite metalwork dolls, bags, hats and cushions with a strong emphasis on reusing and recycling. Bernadina is opening her studio as part of the
Art in Ditchling
programme for the Brighton Festival.
Acclaimed international photographer - Tomek Henke
Also exhibiting for the Art in Ditchling part of the Brighton Festival, Tomas Henke's stunning photographs, will be exhibited at the Blue Shed, see listing on the Art in Ditchling site above. He accepts commissions for a wide range of photographic assignments, including commercial, private portraits and weddings. Visit his site to see a representative range of his beautiful photographs.
Jane Hopkinson bags at Dumbrells workshops
A great range of original, beautifully crafted leather bags.
Auricula Jewellery at Dumbrells workshops
Hand-crafted, ready-to-wear and bespoke jewellery available to purchase online and from the shop.
Several delightful walks in and around the village.
The Morris Dancers are a vital part of village life and dance on many of the key dates of village life. To find out more about their forthcoming performances or to enquire about joining, visit their website. Alternatively, practise sessions are held every Thursday [7.30 to9.30 pm] at the Scout Hut in East End Lane, or, if the weather’s nice over the summer months, on the village green, so just turn up and take a look or join in!
The Ditchling Players
The Players produce two plays a year in April/May and October/November supplemented over the past few years with some very successful Pantomimes. They also have regular informal meetings at The Bull and have recently started organising theatre trips to the Theatre Royal in nearby Brighton. A Newsletter is published regularly containing features, reviews and news items. Even if you don't want to take part, make sure you don't miss their next production - they're brilliant!
More information about places, events and news from the village.
A Very English Village - five-part BBC documentary film series
If you cannot visit this beautiful part of Southern England just yet or come to this very English village in person, why not have a look at the section about the acclaimed series of films set in and around Ditchling and made by resident film-maker, Luke Holland. You can also purchase the full series or just a couple of the films from this part of the site.
Link to Google location map