Thank you for visiting our beautifully restored Flint Barns accommodation. We believe this is the perfect place to stay to enjoy the picturesque landscape of the South Downs National Park and the rich history of the area, where coast meets countryside. We have compiled a concise list of some of the activities, attractions and iconic places to visit locally. We’re sure many of the staff will have their personal favourites and indeed recommend other interesting adventures.
“An extraordinarily beautiful setting in the stunning South Downs…Eat well, sleep peacefully, feel at home” – Sawdays
Pick up an Estate map from the Cellar Door or the Flint Barns and walk the Trail. You can make it part of a longer walk, but if you start at the Cellar Door it takes about an hour and fifteen minutes and is about three miles.
South Downs Way
A long-distance footpath and bridleway running along the South Downs in southern England, and is one of 15 National Trails in England and Wales. The trail runs for 160 km (100 miles) from Winchester, in Hampshire, to Eastbourne, in East Sussex, with about 4,150 miles (13,620 ft) of ascent and descent. It’s a short walk up the valley to join this iconic route.
A small 10 acres zoo near to Alfriston, only 5 minutes by car from the Estate. Its exhibits are targeted towards children between 2 and 10 years old. Soft-play area, large slides, netted walkways plus zoo animals, feeding times, restaurant and shop.
Offers an infinite number of waymarked routes of varying lengths and difficulty for visitors to explore the beech woods and heathland glades. Its undulating terrain makes it popular with walkers and mountain bikers. Route maps can be obtained from the Visitor Centre at the Seven Sisters Country Park near to the two main car parks for the Forest.
The Alfriston Clergy House, garden & shop is a rare 14th century Wealden ‘Hall House, the first building to be acquired by the National Trust in 1896. The thatched, timber-framed house is in an idyllic setting, with views across the River Cuckmere and surrounded by a delightful, tranquil cottage garden. St. Andrews Church, dating back to 1360, the aptly-named ‘Cathedral of the South Downs’ is unique as a village church.
Thousands of visitors come to marvel the church’s beautiful location on the Tye (the village green), the architecture or simply to enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere inside. If you have the time to wander around its grounds you may find the memorial to one of the original Cockleshell Heroes.
St. Andrew’s is set on a small mound by the river and built in the form of a cross. The central tower and spire dominate the skyline, with a peal of six bells which are rung from the centre of the church. This feature is only seen in about 16 churches in the country; and one of only two in the Diocese.
There are many tea rooms, pubs, cafés, and shops to enjoy in the village.
With fantastic views of the Seven Sisters, Cuckmere Valley is a haven for wildlife, from over-wintering wildfowl to colourful wild flowers. Cradle Valley is a wonderful example of the species-rich chalk grassland which gave rise to the South Downs becoming a National Park. This habitat attracts rare and colourful butterflies and plants in summer, so keep all senses ‘peeled’. High and Over's dramatic river cliff has been carved out of the soft chalk by the river below. In 1836 a white horse was cut into the chalk on the steep scarp and it remains a popular natural attraction.
Visit Beachy Head cliffs near Eastbourne for the breath-taking views. The UK's highest chalk sea cliff stretches from the western end of Eastbourne seafront in the new South Downs National Park to the Seven Sisters Country Park in the east on the Cuckmere Valley. Visit Beachy Head Countryside Centre or take a boat trip to the iconic Beachy Head light house.
Sussex occupies a unique position in the recent history of British thought, art and literature. It has helped shape our modern world. One hundred years ago writers, artists and designers recognised Sussex and its landscape as a place of inspiration and an escape from the city. It suited their radical ideas, alternative lifestyles and independent spirits.
In this century Sussex has inspired a new generation of creative pioneers. Working with the soil and climate, a modern winemaking industry has grown from the landscape and rapidly built an international reputation. With its high latitude, warm and dry maritime climate, and range of soil types, Sussex has the right characteristics and long seasons for grapes to mature to full ripeness. Widely awarded for their excellence, nine thriving wineries now welcome visitors for wine tours and experiences. There are opportunities to see how the wine is made and to enjoy both still and sparkling varieties.
Complementing the growing number of wineries Sussex is also studded with galleries, museums, artists’ houses and performance venues. Thirteen extraordinary spaces explore historic and contemporary stories of ‘making’ that reflect the essence of modern creativity. From the writings of Virginia Woolf to the paintings of Eric Ravilious, the photographs of Lee Miller and the type design of Eric Gill, Sussex Modern represents a rich assembly of artistic endeavour and talent. A changing programme of exhibitions, events and performances spotlights the best and most exciting of contemporary work.
With the creation of the South Downs National Park in 2010 the county has opened up new ways to experience, enjoy and learn about its landscape, nature and history. The high chalk downs, cliffs and pebbled coastline are a distinctive feature of this quintessentially English countryside. Much of the county’s hinterland is part of the High Weald, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its own distinctive landscape of woodlands, rolling hills and hidden pathways was once the site of medieval iron forges and today offers plenty to explore, especially on foot or by bike.
Together the art, landscape and wine of Sussex make for a fascinating and refreshingly modern experience – one that stimulates the senses and rewards the curious. All just an hour or so from the capital.
Sussex Modern is a celebration of the county’s contribution to modern culture. We invite you to curate your own visit, map your own route, pick your own trail.
Climb to the top of this 1000-year-old Norman Castle for stunning panoramic views across Sussex. Lewes is a town steeped in history with a myriad of little shops and lanes to explore. It is about 25 minutes by car or there is a bus and/or train service from either Seaford or Berwick which are 5 minutes from the Estate.
Nestling at the foot of Firle Beacon on the South Downs, it’s about a 45 minute walk from the Flint Barns or 10 minutes by car. Middle Farm is a 625 acre working family farm. They offer a warm country welcome, with something for every member of the family to enjoy from feeding the lambs, grooming a horse to just sitting in the café or perusing their cider selection. Image credit: Design M.
There are plenty of different walks to do in this area and we have some good books on local walks in the lounge as well as OS map 123 to buy. Feel free to ask one of the staff for a recommended walk.
Birling Gap & Crowlink
Near Eastbourne, these are part of the world famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline on the south coast. One minute you can be walking on ancient downland, the next you could be rock-pooling below towering cliffs of chalk. Spectacular, unspoilt views of the sea can be seen from all angles.Birling Gap provides a point of entry for delightful walks and you can find a café, shop and visitor centre here on the cliff top. The beach below is ideal for seaside picnics with its rock pools and areas of pebbles and sand. It is a great example of a marine nature reserve. It’s a short drive away or catch the regular bus service from Seaford (runs from Brighton to Eastbourne on a regular basis).
The Bluebell Railway
A heritage line running for 11 miles (17.7 km) along the border between East and West Sussex. It uses steam trains which operate between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, with intermediate stations at Horsted Keynes & Kingscote.
The first preserved standard gauge steam-operated passenger railway in the world to operate a public service, the Society ran its first train on 7 August 1960, less than three years after the line from East Grinstead to Lewes had been closed by British Railways.
On 23 March 2013, the Bluebell Railway commenced running through to its new East Grinstead terminus station. At East Grinstead there is a connection to the UK National Network, the first connection of the Bluebell Railway to the national network (in 50 years) since the Horsted Keynes – Haywards Heath line closed in 1963.
Glynde Place, home to the VIIth Viscount and Viscountess Hampden, is a magnificent Elizabethan country house sitting high on the South Downs, looking out over the Weald to the north. Originally built in the mid 16th century, it has been lived in by only three families in over five centuries. Extensive alterations and improvements were carried out in the 18th century, including building the new stable block, adjacent church and the distinctive wyverns gates by Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham. Glynde is a pretty little village just east of Lewes and on route to Glyndebourne.
Offering the perfect family day out, there is so much to explore at Newhaven Fort, including the vast, echoing tunnels built into the chalk cliffs. Experience a sense of freedom in this 10-acre site as you stroll along the ramparts and enjoy the breath-taking panoramic views of the South Downs and Sussex Coast. The cliff-top gun emplacements are sure to fire any imagination! Newhaven is around 10 minutes away, west towards Brighton.
Cross the moat through the 14th-century gatehouse and enter the seven acres of beautiful gardens which surround this historic house. Inside the house, furniture and artefacts trace the property’s religious origins and its development over 800 years. There are trails and hands-on activities indoors and out for all the family. Outside, you can explore the medieval watermill, working forge, rope museum and dramatic Elizabethan Great Barn. Michelham Priory has lots of free parking, a cafe, new playground and gift shop.
Completed in 1971, Arlington Reservoir supplies water to the Eastbourne, Polegate, Hailsham and Heathfield areas, as well as being a local trout fishery. The 49-hectare site supports diverse habitats, with 173 recorded bird species and a wintering population of up to 10,000 wildfowl. A flat walk around the edge of the reservoir to blow the cobwebs away! It’s a 10-minute drive from the Estate.