Gliding in West Sussex

Gliding in West Sussex

Gliding in West Sussex can be enjoyed at the South Downs Gliding Club in Cootham.

gliding cootham sussex

Gliding on the Downs dates back to June 1909, when 16 year old Gordon England flew from Amberley Mount, a few miles away from the current site.

Southdown Gliding Club started in 1930, so is one of the oldest in the UK. It is also one of the largest and best equipped voluntary clubs.

The club is closely affiliated to the British Gliding Association, which controls all aspects of the sport. Their location close to the South Downs allows them to soar on the up-draughts or lee waves from the Downs, ride the sea-breeze fronts, or soar in thermals.

Their fleet consists of 3 modern two seat training gliders, 3 single seat gliders, and one motor glider, along with tug aircraft for aero tows.

Members keep over forty privately owned gliders at the airfield. While many members enjoy local flying, some regularly make cross-country flights of 300km or more. Others participate in competitions.

Gliding in West Sussex: Courses

Courses on all aspects of gliding take place throughout the year. Lessons are usually available all year round on a Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

First Lesson

After a ground briefing you are first aero-towed to 2,500 feet. Next the instructor explains the action of the controls and guides you through some simple manoeuvres for a flight lasting approximately 20 – 30 minutes. You will receive a signed certificate to commemorate your flight!

Visits to other gliding clubs both in Britain and overseas are another popular activity.

More details about the Southdown Gliding Club

If you would like to stay locally why not spend a few days at Rosebud Cottage in Steyning … a 20 minute drive from Cootham.

Normans in Sussex

Normans in Sussex

Normans in Sussex

The Normans certainly left their mark at St Cuthman’s and St Andrew’s church in Steyning

norman church steyning sussex

The church has 12th century craftsmanship that is especially fine, even in a county where much good Norman work has survived. Begun around 1080, the original church was cruciform, and nearly twice the size of the present building. It had transepts and a much longer chancel than the present 19th century one, as well as two extra bays at the west end of the nave, where the 16th century flint chequer work tower is now.

With its high roof, crossing tower and clerestory, it must have been an awesome building indeed. The earliest part that remains is that which now forms the chancel arch, immensely high and with decoratively carved capitals.

The surviving bays of the nave arcade, built around 1170/80, have exuberant carving on most of the arches and capitals, each one different, with no shortage of the customary zigzags and scallops as well as many less conventional motifs and designs that repay a really close look

Walk to end of Church Street and you will see the church on your left. Read more here

Read about Steyning

Rewilding at the Knebb Estate

knepp safari wildlife sussex.

Rewilding at the Knebb Estate 

Recent work on rewilding has made the Knebb Estate well known.

white stork knebb estate

They have recently been successful in having white storks next and bring up their young. White storks lived in the area many years ago with name of the local town Storrington boing based on ‘stork’.

This enterprising company offer half day trips round their estate near Dial Post. Your safari will take you to the current ‘hot spots’ of natural interest.

You’re likely to see at least some large herbivores – longhorn cattle, Exmoor ponies, Tamworth pigs, red and fallow deer – as they roam freely in large herds through the Wildland. Birds are also present in huge numbers all year round.

You will check trail cameras for our more secretive residents like foxes, badgers, hedgehogs, weasels and stoats; and stop for a species count at some of their wildlife ‘refugia’ for slow-worms, grass-snakes, toads, field-mice and voles. Spectacular tree-platforms offer panoramic views and a close-up of life in the canopy.

You can travel in an open-sided 14 seater Pinzgauers for larger groups or an open air all-terrain 5-seater Kawasaki,. Mule. Halfway through your safari they stop for coffee, tea and their popular organic homemade cake!

Steyning is just a 16 minute drive from Knepp Safaris (& within easy reach of Brighton)


5000+ years of history at Cissbury Ring!

cissbury ring sussex

Cissbury Ring

Just north of the coastal town of Worthing, Cissbury Ring is one of the jewels in the crown of the South Downs National Park. It’s the largest hill fort in Sussex and has a history dating back over 5,000 years.

cissbury ring sussex

Set high up on a chalk promontory, its ditch and ramparts enclose about sixty-five acres. It dates from around 400 BC and was used for defence for about 300 years.

From the top on a clear day you can see forever:  Enjoy views across to the chalk cliffs beyond Brighton and as far as the Isle of Wight.

Flint Mines

Long before the hill fort was constructed, Cissbury had extensive Neolithic flint mines. Miners used antler picks to dig shafts up to fifty feet deep, with several galleries opening out at the bottom. Flint was the common material for making stone axes to fell timber and work with wood during the Neolithic period.

Steyning museum has an interesting explanation about these mines


New Forest Ponies at Cissbury Ring


Centuries of continuous grazing have produced a marvellous habitat for butterflies and flowers. Rare plants such as the round headed rampion, known as the ‘Pride of Sussex’, thrive here. 

During spring and autumn you can see a wide variety of migratory birds as Cissbury is one of the first coastal landing points after their long flight across the channel.

Getting There

You can walk to Cissbury from Rosebud Cottage, but friends and I recently drove to Findon then followed a 7 mile circular route. You can find details in the Cicerone walks books at the cottage.

Alternatively drive to Findon then leave your car in the small car park at the top of Nepcote Lane and near the base of the Ring.

For more ideas of places to visit, take a look at our Sussex Guide





Lancing’s Widewater Lagoon

shoreham beach-worthing footpath

Lancing’s Widewater Lagoon

During medieval times Lancing’s Widewater Lagoon was a part of an area of salt marshes, creeks and and sea inlets to the east and west of the mouth of the River Adur.

The villages of Lancing and Sompting were on high ground well to the north. The small port of Pende stood west of Shoreham but has long since been lost to the sea. Today it is only marked by Lancing’s Penhill Road – Pende Hill – and the Shopsdam.Widewater Lagoon Lancing Sussex

Today Lancing’s Widewater Lagoon is a beautiful, coastal nature reserve. Find it by taking a short stroll along Lancing seafront. It is between Beach Green and Shoreham Beach.

As the seasons change throughout the year, discover a rich diversity of birds that rest, migrate and reside here. Watch the Little Egret wading through the shallow waters with its elegant, crested plumage. Listen to the haunting cry of the Oyster Catcher or simply sit and watch the swans as they glide serenely by.

All around the banks of this saline lagoon, enjoy the colourful plants and flowers that thrive in shingle and coastal grassland. Rabbits run free from the banked bracken and bats fly silently when the sun has set.

The lagoon is within easy reach of Rosebud Cottage: About 6 miles from Steyning.

Read about some of my favourite things to do in Sussex Sussex Guide


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