Many people who visit Ditchling come for the beautiful countryside that surrounds the village, latticed with walking and cycling trails – but there is more to discover than just rural pleasures. The village is steeped in the arts and crafts tradition, with a vibrant, nationally-renowned museum and a programme of art-themed events throughout the year.
Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft
The museum holds an internationally important collection of work by the artists and craftspeople who were drawn to the village, including the sculptor, wood engraver, type-designer and letter-cutter Eric Gill, the calligrapher Edward Johnston (responsible for the famous Johnston typeface used for London Underground), the painter David Jones, the printer Hilary Pepler and the weaver Ethel Mairet. The impact of the many artists and craftspeople who came to live and work in Ditchling from the beginning of the 20th century onwards established this village as one of the most important places for the visual arts and crafts in Britain. The museum has a lively programme of changing temporary exhibitions along with workshops, demonstrations and free family activities.
Lodge Hill Lane, 01273 844744
A former school and family-owned farm, the Turner Dumbrell workshops were created to offer studio space to artists and makers who were setting up in business for the first time. Most are open to the public, and offer the chance to buy unique, one off gifts (or treats), from handmade leather handbags at Jane Hopkinson Bags, to beautiful jewellery at Auricula, where intricate necklaces, bracelets and earrings are made from gemstones hand selected on trips to India and China. Art lovers should pop in to The Window Gallery, where Phillip Dunn sells his vivid paintings of Brighton, alongside works by several other artists, or visit Pavey Pen & Paint, where there are regular workshops and classes, alongside the chance to buy works by Rosemary Pavey.
Dumbrells Court Road
Pruden & Smith Goldsmiths
The name ‘Pruden’ has been synonymous with goldsmithing in Ditchling for over eighty years, ever since Dunstan Pruden arrived in the village in 1932, and joined Eric Gill’s Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic. Pruden’s work and tools are exhibited in the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, and the tradition has been carried on by his grandson, Anton Pruden. The workshop, which still houses many of Dunstan Pruden’s original tools, likes beneath the shop and tours are available of both the gallery and workshop.
The Crossroads, 2 South Street, 01273 846338
A beautifully restored, award-winning, working post mill in the heart of the glorious Sussex countryside, open to visitors. Open on the first Sunday of each month between April and October. In May, July and September, there are themed events with lots of special activities for adults and children. Visitors are also welcome to visit the Mill on Thursday Mornings throughout the year when volunteers are working on site and depending on the level of maintenance activity may be available to give a guided tour.
Oldlands Lane, Hassocks
An inspirational trail in and around a historic and picturesque village within the Southdowns National Park. A rich artistic heritage includes Eric Gill, Sir Frank Brangwyn and The Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic; family members continue these traditions in some venues today. Exhibitions are in studios, workshops, galleries, public houses and restaurants and show a diverse range of high quality art & craft skills. The trail operates during the Brighton Festival in May and at other times during the year.