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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 South Downs National Park Authority has teamed up five heritage venues in East Sussex – Charleston FarmhouseMonk’s House, Ditchling Museum of Art+Craft, Gilbert White’s House and Gardens and Pallant House Gallery to launch a new immersive walking experience telling the unique story of each. 

The ‘In Their Footsteps’ app is a self-guided audio tour through the East Sussex countryside.

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

Here’s a brief video about the app:

About the venues


Your will begin at Charleston Farmhouse 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.

Visit Charleston’s website here and plan your visit.

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”.

Visit the website for Monk’s House and plan your visit.


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.

Visit the website of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft and plan your visit.

Gilbert White’s House and Gardens

Gilbert White was one of the pioneers of 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 led to The Natural History of Selborne in 1789 – a title that remains the fourth-longest constantly-in-print book in the English language (after the King James Bible, the Complete Works of Shakespeare and The Pilgrim’s Progress).

Visit the website of Gilbert White’s House and Gardens to plan your visit.

Pallant House Gallery

Ivon Hitchens, who sought to capture the beauty of the landscape in his colourful abstract paintings, who started exhibiting in the 1920s with the so-called ‘London Group’ of artists. 

During the Second World War, his London home was bombed. Soon after he moved to a caravan on a patch of woodland near Petworth, West Sussex, where he spent the next 40 years. 

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

Visit the Pallant House Gallery website to plan your visit.

© Chris Ison


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