Farming & Livestock

  • Shire horses working weald & downland museum


Heavy horses can be seen hauling carts and helping with haymaking and harvesting, and Sussex oxen are being trained to pull a cart and plough. Woolly-faced Southdown sheep graze the downland turf and, in spring, lambs are folded in traditional sheepfolds.

Sussex light hens (plus Sid the cockerel) peck in the straw around the Tudor farmstead and stables, and Embden geese graze in the apple orchard. Pigs are lent to the Museum for part of the year.

Traditional cereal and root crops, hops and flax are grown in the Museum’s fields and around the Tudor farmstead. In the late summer, the wheat is reaped and stacked in traditional stooks, before being threshed at the Autumn Countryside Show using a steam-powered threshing machine. The separated grain is used to feed the chickens, whilst the combed wheat reed is used as thatching straw for some of the Museum’s buildings.

Traditional farm buildings – such as barns, stables, sheds and granaries – house agricultural vehicles and farm machinery is also on display. You will find a display of late 19th and early 20th century farm vehicles and machinery in the Vehicle and Implement Gallery next to Whittaker’s Cottages. There are also a number of wheeled living vans (such as the shepherd’s hut above the sheepfold) on display around the site.

Our heavy horses regularly participate in outside events – here is a selection of photos from recent shows.