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In Their Footsteps

In Their Footsteps

Writers, artists, poets and musicians have long drawn inspiration from the landscapes of the South Downs.

The ‘In Their Footsteps’ app is an immersive, audio-visual walking experience that tells the unique stories of the people who lived and worked in the South Downs. Produced by the South Downs National Park Authority in collaboration with heritage venues across the National Park, this free app will take you back in time to follow in the footsteps of characters such as author Virginia Woolf, naturalist Gilbert White and artist Ivon Hitchens.

Choose from seven different tours each starting and finishing at a venue within the South Downs National Park. Most of these offer refreshments to help you fuel up before or after your walk – make sure to plan your visit and check the websites of the venues you’re visiting for full details.

You can download the app for free from your phone’s app store:

About the tours



Your walk will begin at Charleston Farmhouse in East Sussex and journey through the countryside, finishing at Berwick Church.

This tour follows the lives of the artists who sought retreat here, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and explores what life was like here during the Second World War.

Monk’s House

Starting at Southease Railway Station, you will walk the same paths that Virginia Woolf once walked, passing through Rodmell and along the banks of the River Ouse. You will hear about the huge impact that the South Downs had on Virginia’s life, including her love of walking and her decision to make Monk’s House at Rodmell her “address for ever and ever”.


Ditchling was home to a community of artists and makers in the 20th century and many of their works are now held at the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft. This tour will guide you through the local landscape, highlighting landmarks linked to the artists and makers that lived here.

Gilbert White’s House and Gardens

Gilbert White is often called the ‘founding father of ecology and natural history’, transforming the way we look at nature and influencing the likes of Charles Darwin and David Attenborough. From his home in Selborne, he observed the natural world on his doorstep.

This tour will help you find out why he was such a pioneer and introduce you to the wildlife and habitats around you.

Pallant House Gallery

This tour will take you across the heathland of Lavington Common in West Sussex and into the surrounding countryside which inspired the artist Ivon Hitchens when he lived near Petworth after the Second World War. He sought to capture the beauty of the landscape in his colourful abstract paintings.

Pallant House Gallery in Chichester hosts an exhibition containing more than 70 works by Hitchens.

© Chris Ison

Petersfield Museum and Art Gallery

Artist Flora Twort recorded the great social and economic change that the market town of Petersfield experienced at the beginning of the 20th century. Starting and finishing at Petersfield Museum and Art Gallery, this walk will take you on a tour of the town, exploring the life and work of the artist and the unqiue history she captured.

This walk predominantly follows pavements and pathways suitable for wheelchair and buggy users.

©Petersfield Museum

Seven Sisters Country Park

The landscape of the South Downs has been shaped by millions of years of both natural influences and human habitation. For centuries, archaeologists have studied this area in an attempt to uncover the secrets it holds.

This walk explores the work of Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers who is considered the founding father of modern archaeology and who spent time walking the Downs in Sussex and discovering the history beneath our feet.


"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."