South Downs cottage on a farmstay, England

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: South Downs cottage on a farmstay, England


We are delighted to have been accepted as members of the Higher Steward Level Scheme, an agri-environment scheme, which rewards effective environmental management.

Everything we do, or don't do, is with a view to maintaining and enhancing the natural environment, flora and fauna, not to create urban or estate style parkland but to celebrate the unique beauty of a working farm in this area of the South Downs which is due to the geology on the farm. We have chosen to take the long term view, to farm for the future and sacrifice potential production levels in order to consider the landscape and preserve the natural quality of the environment.

Our primary objectives are:
- conserve wildlife via creating habitat e.g. over wintering stubble and grassland, by not destroying habitat e.g. less frequent hedge cutting and by not using chemicals which may contaminate wildlife food sources.

- to maintain and enhance landscape quality and character via maintaining important features such as traditional field boundaries.

- to protect the historic environment including archeological features, evidence of previous lives, and traditional farm buildings.

- to promote public access and understanding of the countryside through maintaining a vast network of footpaths and bridle ways across the farm, themselves a relic of times when people came to church or work on the farm by foot or horse.

-to protect natural resources via improving water quality and reducing soil erosion and surface run-off by not cultivating ground where erosion and run-off are likely and not using artificial fertilisers and chemicals which get into the water supply.

We aim, at all times and in all sorts of little ways to minimise our use of energy and natural resources e.g. turning off lights, minimising heat levels and we use a sustainable cesspit for Byre Cottages ensuring that clean water goes into the drainage system.

Visitors often come believe just how dark it gets being so far from city lights. The stars are a marvel to behold out in the countryside. We are only 10mintues away from the RSPB brooks and wetlands if visitors are interested in bird-watching, particularly ones that specific to the South Downs – wagtails, skylarks, buzzards etc.


We have worked to position our farm at the centre of the Storrington community. We donate our Tithe Barn (made in the 16th century and called Tithe because historically owners of the barn gave one tenth of their profits to the church, thus in many ways we are therefore continuing the tradition) to be used for local charity events (quiz nights, barn dances etc) but most notably for the annual Flower Festival for the Church. It really is a fantastic event; low key and charming and fun. The event runs from the 29th June to the 1st July and we welcome visitors from the surrounding area to celebrate Storrington and our farming communities with craft and food stalls. The holiday cottages create a ‘U’ shape around the barn so guests are free to enjoy themselves too (we have other festivals dotted through the calendar too).

We actively encourage many of guests to frequent other local business to us. There are some great restaurants in Storrington – the Old Ford is for excellent modern English cuisine and 13, a superb Thai restaurant that we recommend because people would simply not expect to eat Thai in such a rural village! For beautiful ornaments and furniture we suggest Stable Antiques in Storrington. And a local mum – and friend – has set up a Tea Room that sells delightful home baked cakes (all the cakes are baked by my friend’s mother!). And oh, also, our closet neighbour is Richard Row and the Ashleigh Howe Racing Stable. We can arrange for guests to visit the stables if they feel enticed enough after seeing the horses on the gallop one morning in a neighbouring field.

I also fundraise for a local charity – Family Support Work – who train support workers to provide families with social difficulties with advice etc. They are a wonderful organization; they only enter the lives of families with their consent and try to nip things in the bud before problems become devastating.


At Sullington Manor Farm, and the South Downs National Park in general, the landscape is made up of ancient chalk downland which has formed over thousands of years by constant livestock grazing of the chalk hills. This grazing keeps the hardy scrub plants in check allowing more fragile native plants to thrive and this diverse flora offers a home to a large number of creatures, including some rare butterflies. The South Downs were once covered in trees which were felled in the Iron age, for fire to work the iron, but now the lack of forest provides wonderful views across the Weald to the North and towards Surrey and South to the English Channel.
Sullington Manor Farm is a 500 acre (200 hectare) beef farm in a tranquil downland location in the heart of the South Downs National Park and has been farmed by the Kittle family for 60 years. We have a herd of around 100 cows, a traditional breed Sussex bull and a Simmental bull which spend all year at grass on the South Downs, in Spring every year calves are born and there are between 200 and 300 cattle in the fields of the farm at any one time. A short (but very steep) walk takes you to the South Downs Way on the ridge of the Downs with beautiful far-reaching views over the Sussex Weald and to the English Channel and the Isle of Wight. The many footpaths across the farm that once served farm workers and church goers now make pleasant walks and lead to nearby villages and beauty spots.
The area covered by the farm has been inhabited and worked for hundreds, even thousands of years, there is a flint mine and iron-age hill fort, a 1400 year old yew tree in the churchyard, Roman defensive ditch, a Norman knight's effigy, medieval farm buildings and an ancient drove road - now the South Downs Way.
Byre Cottages have been attractively converted from Victorian stables into holiday accommodation with exposed beams and flint walls. The cottages form a courtyard around a shared lawn in the old farmyard, with one of the largest 17th century Tithe barns in Sussex. Overlooking the courtyard is the impressive stone built Grade II listed farmhouse mentioned as part of the manor of 'Sillingstone' in the Domesday Book of 1086. The lovely Saxon church of the parish of Sullington can be found amongst the various barns and buildings of Sullington Manor Farm.
Visitors can enjoy walks, lovely surroundings, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, table tennis and outdoor toys including Wendy House on this working farm. Free-range chickens roam and the eggs are collected each morning. Our Tamworth sow, 'Duchess', and our dogs, 'Digby' and 'Amber' are a highlight of many visitors' stay.
Sullington Manor Farm is ideally situated for easy access to the whole of Sussex. Sussex has a great deal to offer visitors. The varied coastline, including the Regency glory of Brighton and the sandy beaches of West Wittering, is only 30 - 45 mins drive away from the farm. The nearby towns of Brighton, Chichester, Arundel, Worthing, Midhurst and Lewes provide many historic sites, houses and castles. Sussex boasts widely acclaimed gardens and attractions including Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival. In addition, there are racecourses, the stables of trainer Richard Rowe are on Sullington Lane, many very pretty villages with hidden away craftspeople and popular pubs. Central London is approx 1 hour on the train.
Sullington Manor Farm attracts visitors from all over the world, with many returning time and time again.

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