Walking In and Around Ditchling this Winter
Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft is nestled at the foot of the beautiful South Downs, England’s newest National Park. Covering an impressive 628 square miles, the area was designated National Park status in March 2010 and includes the white cliffs of Seven Sisters, the western Weald, with its heavily wooded sandstone and clay hills, and Ditchling Beacon, the highest point in East Sussex.
The museum’s unique position within this beautiful and sprawling National Park means it is a perfect starting point for countless walks in this wonderful landscape. We’ve collated our best routes, books and art for inspiration as you venture out into the chilly weather; so wrap up warm and get walking!
In Their Footsteps App
Try out a new self-guided walk from Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft around the village in the footsteps of the celebrated artists and craftspeople who lived and worked here from the early 20th Century.
Commissioned by the South Downs National Park, this walk is available through the app In Their Footsteps which can be downloaded to your phone or tablet from the App Store or Google Play. It guides you on a circuit which can be made shorter or longer depending on your appetite for walking! Featuring interviews with descendants of some of the original artists and craftspeople, and with images from the collection of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, this walk brings together the past and the present in a single experience.
See where the artists lived and worked and admire the fantastic views of the landscape which inspired them, and still inspire artists today.
Ditchling Artist’s Walks
The museum is a great base for a country walk, and we are delighted to be able to offer a series of free downloadable walks in and around Ditchling. Explore the village and surrounding area, and discover how and where the Ditchling artists lived and worked. You can also purchase printed versions of these maps for £1 each in our shop when you visit the museum.
Ditchling Walks: In Eric Gill’s Footsteps
The starting point for this collection of six walks in and around the village of Ditchling is our wonderful and varied collection. After browsing the exhibits, the interested walker can tour the village streets to see the former homes of Eric Gill, Edward Johnston, Frank Brangwyn and many others, while a visit to St Margaret’s Church and graveyard will reveal a host of beautiful hand-crafted objects.
Short informative biographies of key Ditchling residents provide fascinating background reading while useful information is included to help every visitor get the most out of their time in this most lovely and inspiring of Sussex villages.
Why not try out one of our fun Family Activity Packs, inspired by John Newling’s tillage exhibition? The packs feature lots of lovely nature inspired activities for families to enjoy together, including an activity sheet with loads of great ideas that you can do in and around the museum or at home.
The packs include one of our exclusive leaf design exercise books, a carpenter’s pencil that doubles up as a ruler and many more treats for intrepid young explorers.
Walking With Children
There are plenty of walks around East Sussex and beyond that are suitable for families with children – have a look at the SDNP’s Miles Without Stiles, routes that are suitable for families with pushchairs, as well as wheelchair users and less agile walkers. Rambler’s also have a great article about walking with children. When you’re out and about with the children, The Nature of Play is a fantastic book for keeping the kids engaged. From learning to navigate using nature’s signs, to cooking delicious recipes over a fire you’ve just built, to weaving a timeless basket, the book contains 44 activities that children and adults alike can turn to and enjoy together.
A visit to see John Newling’s exhibition tillage is the perfect way to end a ramble through the Downs. The exhibition features works spanning Newling’s 40 year career, including new pieces responding to society’s need to evolve in the face of the climate emergency, and living through the global pandemic. Newling’s work puts forward a powerful environmental proposition, that we need a closer connection to and a greater understanding of nature, which is particularly resonant in current times. In 2018 Newling spent 81 consecutive days writing letters to Nature. The letters echo the sentiment of a series of letters to a loved one but with a voice of humanity attempting to come to terms with its relationship to nature.