Ashdown Forest Lorna Holdcroft

Arts & Literature

Wealden District has always nurtured artistic talent and no more so than today, with a profusion of local artists, craftsmen and writers having found inspiration here.

If literature is your passion then you will not be disappointed as some of England’s finest writers have lived in this area.

Bateman’s in Burwash, near to the town of Heathfield, was the home of Rudyard Kipling, (1865 -1936), British author and poet famous for work including ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘Puck of Pook’s Hill’. He lived and wrote at Bateman’s from 1902 -1936 and his house is now owned by the National Trust.

Farley House and Gallery near Chiddingly, showcases the work of many famous artists. The Gallery and Farm House are open to the public and exhibitions are hosted there throughout the year.

Did you know?

The Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park, was used in the film 'Room with a View' from E. M. Forster’s book. It was also used for scenes from the 'Railway Children' and 'Khartoum' with Charlton Heston.


Lee Miller

The American fashion model Lee Miller renowned photographer – fashion, portraitist, surrealist and WWII war correspondent lived at Farley Farm House with artist Roland Penrose and their family from 1949 until her death in 1970.

Sir Roland Penrose

Roland Penrose, famous in his own right, was an English Surrealist painter, poet, biographer of Picasso, Miró, Man Ray and Tapiès and a major promoter and collector of modern art. He co-founded the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and was knighted for his contribution to the Arts.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was born in Spain in 1881 but spent most of his adult life working as an artist in France. He is probably the most important figure of 20th century, in terms of art and art movements that occurred over this period. He visited Lee Miller at Farley Farm House in 1950.


J. M. Barrie

The British novelist and dramatist (1860-1937) who is best remembered for creating Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up, whom he based on his friends the Llewellyn Davies boys.  He was born in Kirriemuir, Forfarshire and lived in Chiddingly for 15 years until 1934.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, (1859-1930) lived at Windlesham Manor in Crowborough for 23 years until his death in 1930. A novelist and writer of detective fiction and science fiction, he is world famous for the Sherlock Holmes stories. A statue has been erected in Crowborough to honour his life and the Conan Doyle memorabilia collection is housed at Groombridge Place.

Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) was an English historian and Member of Parliament. His most important work was ‘The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’. He came to live at Sheffield Park with Lord Sheffield and was buried in 1794 at the Sheffield family graveyard in the parish church in Fletching.

Winston Graham

Winston Graham (1908-2003) is best known for the Poldark series of historical novels set in Cornwall which have been adapted for a popular television series.  He also wrote many other novels, including thrillers and historical novels.  He moved to Sussex in the early 60's and settled in Abbotswood, Buxted, where he remained until his death in 2003.

Minnie Louise Haskins

The poet (1875-1957) who wrote 'God Knows' in 1908 and which was quoted by George VI in his finest wartime Christmas broadcast in 1939, also spent her later years working and living in Crowborough.

Malcolm Lowry

Scholar and poet (1909-1957), wrote 'Under the Volcano'.  He lived at White Cottage, Ripe for the last part of his life and is buried in Ripe churchyard.

A. A. Milne

Dramatist, novelist, journalist and children's writer, few writers are as closely linked to the landscape as A. A. Milne (1882-1956).  He made Ashdown Forest and Hartfield famous as the place where the Winnie the Pooh stories were written.

Coventry Patmore

English poet and critic (1823-1896) moved to the 400 acre estate at Temple Grove, Heron's Ghyll in 1865 and wrote 'The Angel In The House', a poem on married love.

Thomas Turner

The diarist, Thomas Turner (1729-1793), lived and worked as a village school teacher and a general stores keeper in East Hoathly from 1750 until 1787.  His diaries, written over a period 11 years, provide an invaluable historic account of 18th century English village life.

Wealden District Council