Art for Art’s Sake
The visit to Chiddingly by the famous artist Pablo Picasso in 1950 is the inspiration for this short walk around the Chiddingly area, including some classical church sculpture, a famous artist’s house and the pub where Picasso may have failed to get served to the landlord’s eventual loss. Farley Farm is open to the public – see the Farley House and Gallery website.
LENGTH – 2.5 miles
TIME – 1.5 hours
START – Chiddingly Church, Church Lane, Chiddingly, BN8 6HE (NGR 544 142)
PARKING – Chiddingly village car park, Church Lane, Chiddingly.
TOILETS – No public toilets available.
REFRESHMENTS – Pubs at Chiddingly and Gun Hill and café at Muddles Green.
CAUTION – Some areas can be muddy in wet weather, take care.
This walk contains stiles.
Step by Step Guide
Exit the Car park onto Church Lane, passing Chiddingly Church on your left (1), and the Village Green on your right (2). Continue right onto Highlands lane past The Six Bells pub.
Continue along the road until you meet the junction with Parsonage Lane. Opposite the junction, you will find a footpath. With Chiddingly Place on your right, carry on along this.
Continue between two boundaries, along the footpath and take care when walking through the wooded area as this can be muddy and prone to flooding. When meeting the footpath junction within the wooded area, turn right and then left, where you will reach a pond and a footbridge. After the footbridge, take the left hand path, keeping the boundary to your left through the field.
Continue through Hoad’s wood, along the footpath between two boundaries (4), until you reach Muddles Green.
Turn right along the road, passing Chiddingly Primary School on your left and continuing straight when you meet the junction. You will come across Farley Farm (5) and Chiddingly Village Shop and Café on your right.
When you reach the junction with Rosemont and Scrapper’s Hill, turn left onto Scrappers Hill and take the path on the left shortly after passing the houses.
Continue between the two boundaries, passing over a footbridge and the Cricket Ground (6).
Continue on along the footpath until you reach Chiddinly Church where you will find the car park on your right, and The Six Bells pub opposite (7).
Points of Interest
Beneath the 130 feet high spire of Chiddingly church is the Jefferay monument. This magnificent alabaster carving shows Sir John Jefferay (d 1578) casually propped on one elbow above his second wife, Alice. Frowning down on them from the sides are his daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, Edward Montague. Around the base of the monument are a series of stone drums representing giant round cheeses.
Adjacent to the car park is a village green containing five sculptures carved from a single, local oak tree. Four figure representing both a family and the seasons are grouped around a plinth denoting various village locations, people and stories.
Chiddingly Place was originally a brick, ‘E’ shaped Elizabethan manor house in which the Jefferay family lived. However, it fell on hard times and was reduced to the central portion and the shell of the eastern wing, before a recent, tasteful restoration of the eastern wing to form a second dwelling. Parts of the architecture are works of art in themselves, especially the magnificent chimneys and ornamental brickwork. It was from here that the family is said to have set out to walk on a row of cheeses to the church, which were moved along by their servants as they went, forming a row of “stepping stones”, to keep them out of the dust and mud of the common highway.
In 1999, a metal detectorist found a sculpted figure of a boar, designed to be worn as a hat badge. These badges were made to commemorate the coronation of the King Richard III in 1483, who was killed two years later at the Battle of Bosworth by Henry VII the first Tudor monarch. Such badges are common in bronze or pewter, but this was a silver example and its loss must have been keenly felt by its owner.
Farley Farm has a blue plaque on the wall denoting it being the home of the American surrealist photographer, model and war correspondent, Lee Miller. Miller set up her own photographic studios in Paris and New York before marrying and moving to Cairo. She then met surrealist artist Roland Penrose and moved to London at the outbreak of World War II, before working as war correspondent and photographer during the conflict. After the war, they moved to Farley Farm in 1949 and lived there for 35 years with their home being opened to many other famous painters and artists and becoming filled with their art and sculpture collection.
As the land rises towards the church, the dispersed nature of the settlement becomes apparent. It is said that Chiddingly, like Rome, is founded upon seven hills: Thunders Hill, Gun Hill, Pick Hill, Stone Hill, Scrapers Hill, Burgh Hill and Holmes Hill. Whilst this walk has shown that a small village has several artistic claims to fame, any further comparisons with the “Eternal City” may be stretching things a little.
During his visit to Farley Farm in 1950, Picasso is said to have ventured up from Farley Farm to the village pub, the Six Bells in search of some lunch. He had insufficient English money to cover the cost and, in desperation, offered the landlord a signed sketch by himself. Having no idea who he was, the landlord refused and asked him to leave, thereby inadvertently turning down a valuable artwork for the cost of a “pie and a pint”.
Whilst we have taken reasonable endeavours to ensure the information is up to date and correct, you will be using the information strictly at your own risk. If you come across any inaccuracies whilst you are on your walk, please contact Wealden District Council’s Community and Regeneration team.
The self-guided walk descriptions are provided to help you navigate your way, however we recommend that you plan your route prior to walking the route and that you carry an Ordnance Survey map of the area being walked and follow your position on the map as you proceed.
Please note, we cannot be responsible for the conditions of the footpaths and land and you are responsible for your own safety.