fbpx Skip to main content

South Downs Centre - Temporary Closure

The South Downs Centre in Midhurst is temporarily closed to visitors but our team are still on hand to answer your calls and emails.

Cultural Heritage Projects

Cultural Heritage Projects

Find out what projects the South Downs National Park Authority is currently supporting to enable better understanding of the rich cultural heritage within the National Park.

Click on the project title below for more details about Cultural Heritage projects we are currently supporting, who we are working with to deliver the projects and how these projects meet the outcomes of our Partnership Management PlanYou can also see where in the National Park these Cultural Heritage projects are on our interactive map (indicated in orange).

For case studies and details of past Cultural Heritage projects, click here

  • Artist in Residence for Seven Sisters Country Park

    The artist and writer Alinah Azedeh will foster new responses to Seven Sisters and the wider Sussex Heritage Coast; working collaboratively, Alinah will amplify the voices, stories and experiences of diverse groups, exploring a vision for the futures for this landscape from the perspective of nature, climate, heritage, identity and community.

    This project is possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England secured by the artist, and thanks to contributions of time and expertise from a range of partners.

    Partners: Writing Our Legacy, New Writing South, ONCA Gallery, A Woman’s Place, Enthum Foundation, UrbanFlo & Blast Theory.

    PMP outcomes: 4.1 (Conserve Heritage), 4.2 (Promote Contemporary Arts and Crafts), 5.1 (A National Park for All).

  • Footsteps App

    Launched in May 2021, the Footsteps App takes users on an audio tour of the South Downs, exploring the landscapes and places that inspired writers, thinkers and artists. Bringing together digital images of objects from museum collections, including archive photographs, each tour explores the influence of the South Downs on the creative work of individuals who lived and visited this landscape. The current App contains three tours from Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Monks House (National Trust) and Charleston, to explore the connections between the South Downs, the Bloomsbury Group and the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic in Ditchling. The project will be delivered by ATS Heritage.

    Two new tours are currently in development and will be added to the app platform in the Summer of 2021. These new audio tours will be inspired by collections held by Pallant House Gallery (through the paintings of Ivon Hitchens) and Gilbert White’s House and Gardens (through the writing of the naturalist Gilbert White).

    The project objectives are to:

    • Continue to develop high quality content for the app, to provide more choice to users and which showcases more creative and cultural stories from the South Downs.
    • Provide partners with expertise and support in the development of digital content that enhances visitor experience, with the potential to increase dwell time, support visitor flow and encourage repeat visits.
    • Ensure the App grows and becomes a valued tool in our digital interpretation approach.
    • Support the dissemination of more stories of the South Downs through personal digital devices.
    • Utilise digital platforms to encourage walking and spending time in the landscape.

    Partners: Ditchling Museum, National Trust – Monk’s HouseCharlestonPallant House Gallery and Gilbert White’s House and Gardens.

    PMP outcomes: 4.1 (Conserve Heritage).

  • Seaford Head Archeology

    Seaford Head sits within an important area of chalk downland, in the South Downs National Park and Sussex Heritage Coast, and is owned and cared for by Seaford Town Council. The site includes a Scheduled Monument, comprising a later Bronze Age or Iron Age hillfort and Bronze Age bowl barrow. Scheduled Monuments are nationally important archaeological sites, protected by legislation and selected based on key principles covering characteristics including rarity, survival, condition and potential.

    The Scheduled Monument at Seaford Head has been subject to successive losses due to progressive coastal erosion, and is now on the Heritage At Risk register. A significant cliff collapse in March 2021 highlighted not only the time-critical nature of the current losses to site, but the potential archaeology that sits both within and outside the current Scheduled area.

    This project will deliver a systematic non-intrusive survey of the site, to better understand its significance and archaeological potential. It will also act as a pilot study exploring how to undertake rapid recording of a site in the time-critical context of coastal erosion (including full cost modelling), creating a replicable approach that could be applied to other sites nationally facing similar threats. The project will also inform future activities at the site to better understand and record its archaeological significance.

    Partners: Historic England, Archaeology South East, Seaford Town Council

    PMP outcomes: 4.1 (Conserve Heritage); 4.2 (Promote Contemporary Arts and Crafts)

  • Shifting the Gaze – Micro Bursary Scheme

    Working in partnership with Writing Our Legacy, whose aim is to raise awareness of the contributions of Black and ethnically diverse writers, poets, playwrights and authors born, living or connected to Sussex and the South East, the SDNPA is supporting the delivery of 15 micro bursaries to support emerging and established writers to develop new ideas or produce new creative works inspired by the South Downs landscape.

    Bursary recipients will also receive mentoring and advisory support from New Writing South.

    For more information on this project click here.

    Partners: Writing Our Legacy

    PMP outcomes:4.1 (Conserve Heritage), 4.2 (Promote Contemporary Arts and Crafts), 5.1 (A National Park for All).

  • Tide Mills: A Living History

    Tide Mills is a site that means many things to different people, but it is also being reclaimed by nature at a fast rate. It is a site with a rich and diverse heritage, telling a story of adaptation and change over a 300 year period within a wider landscape setting, in which development is changing the nature and identity of the local area.

    In addition, 15 years of community excavations by Sussex Archaeological Society (SAS) is coming to an end, making this a prime opportunity to tell the story of Tide Mills through excavated objects, and temporary arts installations, using sound, light and performance to connect people with the abandoned village.

    The project will commission artists and performers to deliver socially engaged commissions, each working with community groups and schools in Eastbourne, Bishopstone and Seaford – through a series of workshops and site visits, community groups and schools will work with the artists to create a narrative and vision for the artist commissions, ensuring that the temporary installations at Tide Mills reflect the feelings, responses and thoughts of the people who live around the site. The premise will be a “leave no trace – only memories” approach.

    The project will culminate in three evening events at the Tide Mills site in September 2021, where the artist’s commissions developed with community groups will utilise light, soundscapes, performance and displays to create a high quality arts experience at the site. In addition, objects excavated from the site will be on display to create connections between the people who lived at Tide Mills in its 300 year history, and those people who live in the wider landscape of Tide Mills today.

    Funding for this project has come from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with financial contributions from Arts Council England, SDNPA and the South Downs Trust.

    Partners: Sussex Archaeological SocietyChailey Heritage FoundationSeaford MuseumNewhaven Museum

    PMP outcomes: 4.1 (Conserve Heritage), 4.2 (Promote Contemporary Arts and Crafts) and 8 (Creating custodians).


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