Weald & Downland Blog

Gateway Project update

Work has continued apace with our Gateway Project. Now that the structures of the two complexes have been erected it is possible to get a really good feel for the layout and appearance of the buildings, which externally sit comfortably in the landscape, but internally offer considerably more space than originally envisaged from the plans.... (read more)

The Sussex Wagon

Museum’s Writer in Residence, Suzanne Joinson, has written her second blog as part of a series until May 2017. “I have a strange obsession with carts: anything with a huge wheel and an old handle. It’s wonderful, then, that at the Museum there are a number of colourful transport wagons with no less colourful histories. What... (read more)

Sol and Saxon: their journey so far

In this blog post, we talk to Phil Gorrian, Volunteers Administrator, to catch up with the training of our pair of Sussex Oxen, Sol and Saxon. “Initially a small team of seven was established, who began their training by getting to know the oxen – something we achieved by entering their pen and talking to... (read more)

Gateway Project Update

Visitors to the Museum will have noticed our exciting new Gateway Project buildings by the entrance are developing at a fast pace, and we are endeavouring to keep disruption to a minimum for our visitors. This wonderful new cluster of buildings will provide a welcoming new visitor centre, cafe, shop and community space from spring 2017 –... (read more)

What’s it like to be – Building Conservation Trainee: Cameron Page

Building Conservation Trainee, Cameron Page, reflects on his 6-month placement at the Museum, which ran from January – June 2016. “I have enjoyed working on buildings old and new throughout my career, and over this time I have discovered and embraced the importance of conservation. In 2014 it became a logical progression for me to... (read more)


Visitors to the Museum will have noticed our exciting new Gateway Project buildings have risen from the ground. This wonderful new cluster of buildings will provide a welcoming new visitor centre, cafe, shop and community space from spring 2017. Building contractors, Pilbeam Construction Ltd, began work in March 2016 and you can see their progress... (read more)

What’s it like to be: Collections Assistant – Hannah Keen

Collections Assistant Trainee, Hannah Keen, reflects on her first 6 months at the Museum. Hannah’s 12-month placement, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, runs from February 2016 – February 2017. “I was keen to apply for the traineeship because I saw it as a great opportunity to work with collections in a unique setting. Prior to... (read more)

Southdown Sheep Society 125th anniversary service of thanksgiving

As part of the Southdown Sheep Society’s 125th anniversary, a service of thanksgiving, attended by some 60 members and their families, was held in the tin tabernacle church from South Wonston at the Museum on Sunday 7 August 2016. The atmospheric  service was led by farmers Stephen and Paul Humphrey who farm at East Dean... (read more)

Diary of a charcoal burn

Museum woodsman, Jon Roberts, leads traditional earth-clamp charcoal burns each August in the Museum’s woodyard. It’s a labour-intensive job and involves staying up all night, as Jon reveals. Over the winter months, Jon coordinates a team who have cut our coppice for a number of different uses on the Museum site. This includes cutting, trimming... (read more)

English Scything day

On Sunday 31 July we held a day on English scything and related crafts. This was the first such day that we have held and and we were fortunate to have lovely weather. A team worked to mow the ‘Olympic meadow’ and rake it. This is the area just past Poplar Cottage, and the turf... (read more)