In a nutshell
Over 50 historic buildings from across the Weald and Downland area of Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent have been dismantled and then reconstructed across a lovely 40-acre site in the South Downs national park. The collection of buildings represents almost a thousand years of rural life in south-east England: furnished just as they would have been in the past – complete with roaring fires – the homes, farms and public buildings. There’s a sense of exploring a real village as you stroll between them along green paths, stopping to climb the stairs of a 17th-century craftsman’s cottage to lie on the straw bed or sheltering from a shower in a smoky, 14th-century hall.

Fun fact
In the Tudor kitchen of the Bayleaf farmstead, visitors can taste some of the stranger sweet/savoury taste combinations enjoyed in the 1540s: beef with prune pottage and walnuts, and unusual green leaves such as lovage, fat hen, coleworts and nettles.

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Vijay Nanda

The author Vijay Nanda

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