Ditchling cluster: Three vineyards and a museum

Sussex Modern Stories  |  10 minutes read

The artsy village of Ditchling and its surrounding landscape are fertile ground for makers. On this circular bike ride from Hassocks train station there’s the chance to hop between a cluster of vineyards and the best small museum in Sussex. Take it at your own pace, and enjoy.

On the map

Hassocks station

The small local station at Hassocks is on the main London to Brighton line, 50 minutes from London Bridge or just seven minutes if you’re coming from Brighton. Take your own bike on the train, or hire one (advance booking required) from either Hassocks Community Hire at the train station, or Beacon Bikes, who will be happy to meet you and drop off bikes. This route is achievable on a regular bike, but with a few hills along the way, our recommendation would be an e-bike.

Hassocks to Ditchling

Cycle straight ahead out of Hassocks in an easterly direction, past The Hassocks pub, along the high street and through the Keymer part of town. Within five minutes you’ll find yourself in open countryside, climbing a gentle but steady incline on your way up to the artsy village of Ditchling.

Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

Ditchling has long been known as a meeting point for artistic minds, and underneath the village’s pristine, chocolate box facade a bohemian undercurrent still bubbles. Located on the village green at the entrance to the village, the excellent Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft documents the life and work of the artistic community who found their home here in the early 20th-century. Park your bike up, and take some time to explore the museum before heading off to your first vineyard.

Ditchling to Court Garden

Hop back on your bike and turn right out of the museum. Cycle past the duck pond and several houses for around 150m, then take a right down Boddingtons Lane, at the end of which you’ll come out onto part of Ditchling high street. Turn left, and cycle out of the village for half a mile until the turn-off for Orchard Lane on the left, where you’ll see a sign for Court Garden. Follow the lane as it curves to the right, and arrive at the family-run, single-estate vineyard and winery, with its quaint farm buildings and rolling South Downs views. Stop off here to taste their award-winning English Sparkling varieties: the Classic Cuvee, Blanc de Blancs and Sparkling Rose have all scooped international accolades in recent years.

Court Garden vineyard, Sussex Modern

Court Garden to Ridgeview

Back onto the bike, and turn left out of Court Garden estate onto the road. Follow the road for another mile, until you come to the entrance to Court Garden’s neighbours: the mighty Ridgeview Wine Estate. Turn left onto the lane, and follow it all the way to the estate buildings. One of the first vineyards planted in Sussex, the family-run Ridgeview has been producing its world-class sparkling wines for more than 25 years. Taste a variety or two over a refuelling lunch at the estate’s beautiful new garden restaurant The Rows & Vine, open all year round. Be sure to book your table ahead, via their website.

Artelium or bust

At this point, depending on time and energy, you can choose to cycle to Artelium Estate or start looping back. Either way, you’ll start the journey the same way – leaving Ridgeview Estate the way you entered, and taking a left onto the main road. Cycle to the roundabout and turn right onto Folders Lane E, which cuts across the top of Ditchling Common with far-reaching South Downs views to your right. Follow the road as it curves to the right, the route becoming woodier until you reach a grassy intersection with a white signpost. Turning right here onto the quiet Spatham Lane will take you back to Ditchling, from where you can cycle back to Hassocks. Or, stay on the road (signposted Plumpton) for another few minutes until you see Streat Lane on your right. Take this turning and cycle along the quiet lane, through the woodland for half a mile until you see the entrance to Artelium Wine Estate on your right.


Combining wine and art, this artisanal Sussex wine producer has taken the English wine scene by storm since it launched only a few years ago. With a relaxed atmosphere, breathtaking views of the South Downs and a great menu of sharing platters, it’s the ideal afternoon pit-stop. Find a seat on the spacious terrace and enjoy.

The return

Leave Artelium Estate and turn right onto Streat Lane. Follow the lane under the railway bridge, past Elm Grove Farm, meandering through open countryside until you enter the small village of Streat. Keep the church to your right as you follow the lane around it. The tarmac gives way to a track and a slightly bumpier ride for a short while, but stick with it and enjoy the stunning vista to the left, and a closer view of the V planted into the hillside. In less than half a mile, the track meets tarmac once again in front of a farmhouse, so at this junction take a left then follow the lane as it sweeps around to the right, across open fields and farmland for several glorious minutes. At the T junction turn left onto Spatham Lane, then take the first right, back into Ditchling.

Ditchling to Hassocks

Follow the road for a few minutes to the village centre, where you might want to stop off for refreshments or a bite to eat. The Bull (on your right as you reach the village centre) is a cosy country pub with excellent food and six boutique bedrooms, where you’ll always find a warm welcome. Or continue through the village, and after 1.5 miles the road will bring you right back to Hassocks Train Station.


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