About 7 miles north of Brighton
Nestling at the foot of the South Downs just above Brighton, Ditchling is a pretty village of ancient origin with several old pubs, delightful cottages and shops lining the narrow main street. The village has a unique place in the English Arts and Crafts Movement. It is possibly best known, however, for its famous resident, Dame Vera Lynn. It is rumoured that Roger Moore, the longest playing 007, also lived here at one time.
Wing’s Place, also known as the Old House or Anne of Cleves House, is one of the best timber framed Tudor houses in Sussex. The house which stands opposite the church, was given to her by Henry VIII as part of her ‘pay-off’ when he decided to move on to bride no.5!
Opposite Wing’s Place stand the parish church of St. Margaret which dates back to the 13th century.
Ditchling Beacon, at 813 feet on the South Downs Way, offers some of the finest views in Sussex. Centuries old dew ponds are alongside the road beside the Beacon. This high spot offered one of the best views in southern England of the Eclipse of the Sun on 11th August 1999. Those who were there are unlikely to forget the new age feel with hundreds of people crowding the car park (and the verges for miles!) in order to witness this phenomena of nature.
Ditchling Common, to the north of the village, comprises 188 acres of open countryside with nature trails which take the visitor among the wildlife of the area.
On the northern outskirts of this picturesque village lies an arts & crafts centre where various local artisans have outlets and products can be viewed in the making. This can be seen very much as the continuation of a long tradition in the village.
This is housed in the Victorian village school and tells the story of Ditchling from the earliest toolmakers to the community of 20th century craftsmen. A new gallery was added a few years ago devoted to the works of ‘modern’ artists such as Eric Gill and David Jones.