Early history on the South Downs

This part of the South Downs is particularly rich in early history and landscape history. The hill fort at Devil's Dyke is a great example of an Iron Age fortification and is particularly easy to spot in late winter light. Find out more about early users of the area from Paleolithic man through the early Victorians.

Overview of the foundations of the Iron Age Fort at Devil's Dyke

Devil’s Dyke ancient footfalls and fortification

The South Downs Way, which visitors walk today and cuts across Devil’s Dyke, has its origins in an ancient track that has been used by humans for more than 2,000 years.

Distant view of the hill fort at Devil's Dyke

Fulking archaeology walk

Take a walk through time along the South Downs. Follow the glorious contours of the Sussex Downs; on one side the Weald, to the other the sea.

Close up view of a selection of small stone tools displayed in rows

Prehistoric artefacts on display at Saddlescombe Farm

A collection of prehistoric artefacts suggests human activity as early as the Stone Age in the Saddlescombe area.

Image of Domesday text relating to Saddlescombe

Saddlescombe Farm in the Domesday Book

Domesday Book was the result of a huge land valuation survey undertaken for William the Conqueror who wanted to know how much his kingdom was worth and therefore how much tax he could ask for.

Colour recreation of a downland village and landscape from the 14th century

The Knights Templar and Saddlescombe Farm

The Knights of the Order of the Temple were founded to protect Christian pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land after the Crusaders re-captured Jerusalem. Saddlescombe Farm was given to the Templars in the 1220s by Geoffrey de Say who was the Fifth Earl of Warenne's tenant.

Early 1900s image of oxen and farm workers in field

Saddlescombe Farm history: 1500 to 1800s

Saddlescombe Farm has a rich history from its earliest Stone Age settlement through its its use as a mixed farm today.