Location:Hill Brow, West Sussex, South Downs National ParkSee map here
Description of South Downs B&B in Hillbrow, nr Liss, England
Visit this old country house B&B, with breathtaking views of the South Downs National Park that is an artistís dream. Situated on Hill Brow Ridge, just a mile from Liss, itís a wonderful place to stay to really be in the heart of the country side. The wooded back garden slopes down into the valley where you can walk for miles along plenty of bridle paths and walkways in all directions. You can easily get to the surrounding villages for some tea and cake or a nice pub lunch. The Jolly Drover pub is just down the road if you feel like a drink after a day of exploring.
Stay in one of 4 rooms and wake up to a breakfast of your choice on the terrace if the sun is out; just what you need before you start your day visiting the local attractions and taking in the country air. There are plenty of great things to do in the area with Jane Austenís house not far and Queen Elizabethís Country Park which is a great place for walking, cycling and horse riding. The South Downs Way is not far either is you want to join the trail.
Rooms, food and facilities
There are two double rooms and two twin rooms. One of the doubles has an extra single bed so can accommodate a family. One of the twins has an en-suite bathroom. There is also a spacious lounge that guests are welcome to use.
You can arrive by train to Liss station which is about a mile away. If you fancy a walk it takes about 25 minutes from the station as it is up hill. Alternatively I will be happy to pick you up from the station if need be. Alternatively get the train to Petersfield and jump on a bus. There are also a few buses that stop nearby the house; about a 5 minute walk from the bus stop. - The 991 towards Midhurst get off at The Drover bus stop - The 92 towards Midhurst change at Sheet, St Marys Junction and jump on a 272 or a 996.
Responsible tourism: South Downs B&B in Hillbrow, nr Liss, England
The house was built in the 1920's and is made of clinker block, which has been rendered and has old metal windows. It is very in keeping with the period in which it was built and any work Iíve had done on it has been kept in the same style. In the 90ís some elm boarding work was done on the house so there is some of the local elm in the house from before the disease wiped out the species in the area.
The house has 2Ĺ acres of its own land that is flourishing with plants and wildlife. There is a deer that often comes wandering into the garden and a beautiful fox I see strolling past the front of the house. The garden has plenty of trees and birds; the Bullfinches can be seen stripping the cherry tree for food. There are plenty of woodpeckers as well and I try not to entice them into the more tame part of the garden for fear that the cat will get them. I do have a bird bath for them to wash in though. About 1Ĺ of the 2Ĺ acres is rather wild and tumbles down the hillside. There is tons of Buddleia that goes everywhere around this area. Known as the butterfly bush, they attract a lot of butterflies. The area is also a Site of Specific Scientific Interest as there are Sessile Oak and lots of unusual Lichen covering this wilds area. Mushrooms, apple trees and blackberries grow amongst the rest as well.
I try to be environmentally friendly with recycling and composting. There is a huge compost heap in the garden that goes back onto the plants. I welcome people arriving by public transport and I can pick you up from Liss station if need be. From Petersfield station there are some buses that stop a few minutesí walk from here. There is always the option of walking from the station and I can tell people nice walking routes to get places, via the paths that lead out from my garden into the downs.
Hill Brow itself is a made up of only about 7 houses on the ridge. The other residents and I meet up every couple of months to talk about what plants need cutting back and looking after to keep it looking nice. There is a pub just down the road in walking distance called The Jolly Drover; itís quite pleasant and they serve some unusual flavoured local sausages that are nice to try. Slightly further in some nearby villages I would always recommend the Rising Sun in Milland. They have delicious local game and fish and the chef is great at cooking! Iíd also recommend The Harrow in Steep; itís an ancient and wonderful country pub. For at least the last 37 years since Iíve lived here theyíve had the same ham hock based recipes on their menu and walnuts on the table. Itís a family run business and that Iíd recommend going to for the amazing atmosphere.
There are lots of little villages nearby which are nice to visit. There is also a farm shop which you can walk to if you head out of my back garden, down the hill and along the bridle path. Itís very off the beaten track and a nice old path. There are local festivals that happen around the area and plenty of Celtic festivals in nearby villages, such as the Wicker Man. I personally like to go to the may-day celebrations in Selborne. If youíre not visiting during the summer then there are plenty of other places I can recommend that are really worth a visit; Jane Austenís House is near Chawton; Queen Elizabeth Country Park is near Petersfield, 3 miles away. If youíre there you can also go to Butser Ancient Farm which has a very good learning centre. Uppark House and Gardens is a lovely National Trust property thatís not far either.
I have a drawer full of leaflets on local things to do that I update regularly for people can look at to get some ideas.
The landscape surrounding the area is an artistís dream. You can see a wide valley with hills on either side. Itís a perfect spot to just sit and take in the beauty of the South Downs. With mist in the valley and a mixture of large and deciduous trees dotted about finished with a back up of vines on the hillside; youíd be hard pushed to spot a house in the 24 miles of rolling countryside. There are horses and cattle in some of the fields and if you walk down the hill you can spot some Jacobs Sheep. The walk along the bridle path from the bottom of the hill is a beautiful and very natural walk; youíre surrounded by trees with glimpses of open field and sunlight shining through. The River Rother runs through Liss and Trotton and is particularly nice to walk along.
The story of the house has been passed down onto the new owners since it was bought in the 20ís. It is told that it was built in the 20ís by Lord Baden Powell, for his sister Henrietta Powell. Then in the 30ís by two Miss Hawkesí who were relatives of famous writer JB Priestly. Being sisters of his wife Jaquetta, JB Priestly was a frequent visitor. I was once visited from an elderly lady who turned up at my house and told me that she was related to the Miss Hawkesí. She told me that the Miss Hawkesí were evacuated there in the war and she had a picture of JB Priestly in the summer house that she was going to send me; unfortunately I never got it. Since we bought the house in 1975 it has only had 3-4 owners so I believe that the stories are true. Some locals also swear blind that a German plane crashed into the valley at the back of the house WWII. Itís nice to be able to tell the history of the house to people that come to visit.