Hassocks is a large village and civil parish in the Mid-Sussex District of West Sussex, situated just to the north of the South Downs, some 7 miles north of Brighton. The town's name is believed to be derived from the tufts of grass found in the surrounding fields. Starting life as a small hamlet, Hassocks grew in size after the advent of the London to Brighton railway in 1840. The town's population today is circa 8,500.
Ditchling Village is a village in the Lewes District of East Sussex, close to the border with West Sussex. The village is now within the boundary of the South Downs National Park. St Margaret's Church was founded in the eleventh century. Its Nave dates from the church's beginning although its flint and sandstone walls date from the thirteenth century. Famous residents of Ditchling and its surrounding hamlets include the late Dame Vera Lynn and the late Sir Donald Sinden .
The South Downs National Park is England's newest national park, being designated as such on 31 March 2010. The Park covers 628 sq miles in area and stretches for 140 km (87 miles) from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east, through the counties of Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex. The terrain within the Park includes the chalk hills of the South Downs and a substantial part of the Western Weald with its wooded sandstone and clay hills. The South Downs Way spans the entire length of the Park and it is the only national trail that lies entirely within a national park.
Stanmer is a small village on the eastern outskirts of Brighton, within the boundary of the unitary authority. The village still has a working farm at its centre. The village was a "closed village" from the sixteenth century until 1952, being owned by the Pelham family - see Stanmer House below.
Stanmer House was built in 1722 for the first Earl of Chichester, Thomas Pelham by the architect Nicholas Dubois. Set in 5,000 acres of parkland. the house incorporates an earlier house from 1594 part of the estate of the previous owners, the Michelborne family, who were connected with the manor then called Audwick. The new house is built in the Palladium style popular for English country houses, with little adornment. A later extension to the right wing may be said to have spoiled the symmetry. Brighton Corporation (now the Unitary Authority of Brighton and Hove) purchased the Stanmer Estate from the Pelham family in 1947. Until March 2020 the property was leased by a company who operated a restaurant in the property which was also a popular wedding centre. The company went into administration shortly after Covid lockdown and it remains closed as of August 2020.
Stanmer Church was built in 1838 on the site of a fourteenth century predecessor, demolished by the 3rd Earl of Chichester. The current, Grade 11 listed church has an unusual narrow spire. The church was declared redundant in 2008 and deconsectrated. Today the church is looked after by the Stanmer Preservation Society, who open the church for visitors on Sundays.
The University of Sussex occupies the eastern section of Stanmer Park. The university received its Royal Charter in 1961, since when it has continued to grow in size to this day. From its onset the university was clasified as a "Public Research University" and more than a third of its current student population of 20,000 are post graduates.
Brighton is a seaside resort, a unitary authority geographically located in the county of East Sussex, on the south coast some 47 miles south of London. Brighton became a fashionable resort in the Georgian era, encouraged by the patronage of the Prince Regent - later King George 1V - who constructed the Royal Pavilion, an iconic Regency palace and museum located in the centre of the town. Following the arrival of the railway in 1841 Brighton became popular with day trippers from London, which remains to this day. In the Victorian era the grand hotels on the seafront were built, as were the two piers - The Palace Pier aka Brighton pier, and the West Pier which closed in 1975 and of which little remains. Brighton remains a popular destination for tourists, not just for the impressive seafront but for the character of the town, whose population of over 300,000 is made up of diverse communities. With its thriving cultural, music and arts scene - and quirky shops (The Lanes) - Brighton has for some time been the unofficial gay capital of the UK - with its annual gay Pride Parade, and Pride Festival, being a major event.
Brighton's Elm Trees There are 17,000 elm trees in Brighton - and as Sir Michael Caine might say - "not many people know that ". In the 1970s and 1980s some 25 million elm trees in central and southern England succumbed to Dutch Elm disease. Brighton's elms, planted in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras survived, partly due to the trees tolerance of the thin chalk soil and salty sea winds. Conservators also imported Rock Elm trees from the USA to help boost their English cousins. Whilst the Great Storm of 15 October 1987 took out many trees, today there are many elms to admire in the town.