South Downs Cottage B&B nr Lewes, England

Description of South Downs Cottage B&B nr Lewes, England

John and Sheila welcome you to their charming 17th century cottage for bed and breakfast in East Chiltington, at the foot of the South Downs National Park. Just 10 minutes from Lewes town centre and with lots of other places to visit, this is a great location for a break in the country. There is a bridleway to the South Downs from the garden gate and the South Downs Way is only a twenty minute walk away. Stop off at the Half Moon pub in Plumpton that is just off the trail; head there for a nice meal after a dayís walking. There are plenty of other attractions to visit nearby. The historical town of Lewes has plenty to offer in the way of places to eat and things to do. Lewes Castle and Anne of Cleves House have some great history. Or take a trip to Glyndebourne for the famous opera. The Seven Sisters Country Park is just down by the coast, as is Brighton, with loads to do, and its two universities. With the South Downs on your doorstep and plenty to do in the area this B&B is a great place to stay to enjoy your time in the landscape.

Rooms, food and facilities

We have two rooms; one double and one twin. There is one ensuite bathroom for the two rooms, so we only let out both rooms if itís to members of the same party.

Tea and coffee making facilities are in a separate area between the two rooms, tea and home-made cake are usually waiting for you upon arrival.

Guests are welcome to enjoy our garden when the weather is encouraging!

Not Accepted

How to find us

The nearest train stations are Cooksbridge and Plumpton and from either, it is an half hour walk to Southover Cottage.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: South Downs Cottage B&B nr Lewes, England


The property we live in used to be two cottages but is now one larger cottage. We discovered from the E Sussex Record Office in Lewes that parts of the cottage date back as far as 1699 and even before. The oldest part is a timber framed building with brick infilling and is clad with cedar shingles at the front. There has been work done on the property over the years and since we moved in weíve done some slight re-structuring and decorating but have made sure to be in keeping with the original style of the property. We sourced all of the materials from the local area. We still have two inglenook fireplaces and in one you can see where there was a bread oven.

We have a nice garden that attracts lots of birds. Last year we had Long-tailed tits nesting and in the birds boxes we put out there are often Blue Tits and Wrens nesting. Sometimes when Iím digging the odd Robin is encouraged into the garden as well. I make sure to leave piles of wood and leaves in various places about the garden so the hedgehogs have somewhere to sleep in the winter.

We have a recycling scheme in the area and we also keep two large compost heaps. I grow a few vegetables in the garden so the compost goes on them. I grow broad-beans, runner beans, some tomatoes, as well strawberries, raspberries, apples, quinces, medlars, figs and rhubarb.

We are only a 20 minute walk to join the South Downs Way so you can get to us that way if youíre walking. The lane we live on is also part of a popular cycle route that can take you all the way from Lewes to Chichester mainly down country lanes.


We have an active community in Chiltington; Our village owns a couple of marquees that we use for funday events to fundraise for future village fundays. We also have a biennial hair-raising soapbox derby down the hill on Novington Lane. A pub quiz is organised for villagers at The Jolly Sportsman from time to time.

Sheila and I are members of The Royal British Legion; we deliver poppies around the village to raise money for the legion and its work. We are also involved in helping out with the Happy Circle which is a village social club for over 60ís.

We use the local fish shop at the Riverside in Lewes, and we use Offham Farm Shop for our meat. We like to recommend local places for our guests to eat in the evenings. If you tell us what youíre looking for we can usually suggest somewhere to meet your needs.
The Horns Lodge in South Chailey is particularly good for local real ales, including Harvey's Sussex and Dark Star Hophead, as well as a wide range of bar games and excellent food. Then thereís the Half Moon pub in Plumpton that is particularly nice, with a specially tasty menu; itís right near the foot of the Downs. The Blacksmiths Arms in Offham is really consistent and reliable for food, particularly fish. The Jolly Sportsman is definitely a fine gastro-pub and is actually in the village of East Chiltington itself. Lewes is close and there are some really good places to eat there; Billís is particularly lively and fashionably chic, and there are also some good Italian and Indian restaurants as well.

There are a range of attractions in the area. People mainly come to stay with us because theyíre walking the South Downs or wanting to visit some of the beautiful National Trust Gardens in the area. Glyndebourne is another big attraction with the famous opera. The historical town of Lewes is also very attractive. Weíre close to Brighton, so we're a nice rural place to stay specially whilst visiting the two universities in Falmer.


From where we are we have a great field of view; about 120į of downland ,woodland and fields. In one direction you can see all the way to the V of trees that was planted on the downs above Streat for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. In the other direction you can see over to Black Cap and beyond. Black Cap is one of the highest points on the downs in this area and is a beautiful viewing point.

There is a walks booklet that has been published by the village of Plumpton that has many great walks to take through both our parishes. Itís lovely to walk along the Bevern Stream, and the river Ouse is not far either. We have maps to show you where to walk, along the river and through some fields and woodland up to the downs.

Also nearby is the County town of Lewes that has a lot of history. Saxon Lewes had two mints at the time of King Athelstan. It has a castle raised on the motte by William the Conqueror immediately after the Norman invasion in 1066. The Battle of Lewes took place in 1264 between Henry lll and Simon De Montfort. There are lots of interesting buildings in Lewes as well, including the Bull House once lived in by Tom Paine, revolutionary and author of The Rights of Man.
During the time when the brick tax was introduced, people avoided the tax by cladding their timber framed houses with mathematical tiles instead of bricks. These are tiles that look like bricks from the outside, but actually hang like tiles over a wooden frame. Many of these buildings remain with their mathematical tiles in place, it's fun to spot them if you look closely enough.

There is a book that has been written about East Chiltington called The Mistress of Stantonís Farm by Marcus Woodward. Itís a biography of a lady named Susannah Stacey who lived at Stantons Farm in East Chiltington. It tells stories about life and her time here. The famous Garibaldi once came to visit her here and she made Garibaldi's Liqueur in his honour, it was essentially sloe gin with the addition of almond oil. The book is full of recipes and she was seen as a local medical expert as she could apparently cure all illnesses. Itís said she had a secret patch on the downs where she would grow the plants and herbs to use for her medicines.

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