I particularly recommend visiting the small town of Arundel – just a half an hour drive from Steyning. This famous West Sussex market town is most well-known for its 11th century Castle and its Victorian gothic cathedral.
There are nearly 1,000 years of history at the castle, situated in magnificent grounds overlooking the River Arun. It was built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery. The oldest features are the motte and the gatehouse. The motte is an artificial mound, over 100 feet high from the dry moat, and was constructed in 1068.
The castle is open from Good Friday to the end of October on Tuesdays to Sundays, May Bank Holiday Mondays & August Mondays. Admission costs: Adults £9 (gardens) to £18; Seniors £9 to £15.50; Children £9.
You can visit the cathedral at any time of year and admission is free.
Explore more of the area’s history and heritage at Arundel Museum or look at the town from a different perspective at the Arundel Jailhouse and Ghost Experience!
If you enjoy art you will be happy at one of the superb galleries. Interested in antiques? You’ll find plenty of shops with collectables.
If shopping is your ‘bag’ then you’ll enjoy the wide range of contemporary and traditional independent shops.
Water enthusiasts can hire a rowing boat on Swanbourne Lake or take aboat trips on the River Arun. If you love nature I particularly recommend a visit to the Wetland Centre.
Perhaps you will just want to relax in one of the many cafes, bars and restaurants or in a traditional English pub!
In my photo you can see an example of local flora called Ramsons, or wild garlic (Allium ursinum) whichis in the same family as bluebells. It also grows in woodlands, but tolerates heavier, damper soils, often along stream banks. They produce a globe head of many starry white flowers and can be as spectacular as a show of bluebells. You’ll see it locally around April and May.
I took this photo on the Upper Horseshoe walk … going along a woodland path
If you are a nature lover you can take advantage of courses, talks and walks organised regularly by Sussex Wildlife Trust. They run many of their events in their headquarters at Woods Mill within a mile of Steyning.
Findon Sheep Fair takes place every year in Findon Village on the second Saturday of the month in September.
Festivities start on Friday evening with a funfair on the green and a Barn Dance in the marquee
Saturday is the fair itself, with…
FREE ADMISSION! (car parking £4)
There are craft stalls, sheep displays, sheep judging, a funfair, food stalls, and many other displays on the green.
In the evening, you can dance to live music from the popular local band Murdoch’s Crazy Eyes in the marquee (admission by pre-paid ticket)
An annual three day fair began in Findon, back in 1261, with a government charter . The Sheep Fair proper was started by George Holford on Nepcote Green sometime before 1785. A lamb sale was held on 12th July followed by The Great Fair, always held on 14th September. Before that the sheep had been sold by private deals and the first auction sales started in 1896.
From 1925 sheep were driven in large flocks over the downs to Steyning train station for delivery but this stopped when the Steyning line was sadly closed in the 1960’s. Gradually lorries took over and sheep are no longer delivered on foot in the traditional way.
In the 1950’s the date changed to the second Saturday in September and in 1971 the July lamb sale stopped.
Most dramatically the breed of sheep, which used to be almost all Southdown’s, have tended to be replaced with other breeds so that in recent years very few Southdown sheep have been sold and the most popular rams are Suffolk’s.
How to get to Findon
Travel by car via A283 and A24. It should take about 15 min(7.6 miles)