A new immersive walking tour launches this week to celebrate the many great writers, poets, artists and musicians who have drawn inspiration from the beautiful South Downs.
In Their Footsteps takes people on a fascinating audio tour of three venues in the National Park and the stunning countryside and villages that surround them.
The free tour, which is downloadable as an app on mobile phones, follows the lives and experiences of many celebrated artists, including Virginia Woolf and the world-renowned Bloomsbury Group.
The experience has been spearheaded by the South Downs National Park Authority working in partnership with Charleston, National Trust Monk’s House and Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft.
In Their Footsteps launches as venues re-open their doors this week and to coincide with National Walking Month and International Museum Day.
Anooshka Rawden, Cultural Heritage Lead for the National Park, said: “We’re really thrilled to be launching an app that will give people the chance to experience the National Park from a completely new perspective.
“In Their Footsteps provides an opportunity to walk the paths of artists and writers whose work was inspired by this spectacular landscape.
“Not only is it a celebration of the artists and writers of the past, but we also hope it will help inspire new generations of creative talent.
“Cultural venues across the National Park have worked so hard to stay afloat and reopen again. Please consider visiting one of these venues, and taking a walk in the footsteps of the artists and writers they celebrate.”
Stephanie Fuller, Director and CEO of Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft, said: “Working with the National Park team on the In Their Footsteps app was a really great experience. It was a chance for the museum to bring to life the stories and experiences of the original group of artists and craftspeople who came to Ditchling in the early 20th century.
“The landscape and environment of the South Downs was a huge influence on their creative practice and ever present in their daily lives, in a way which is still true for many people living in Ditchling now. Giving visitors an insight into that experience makes a really strong, clear link between the museum and its collection and the importance of place to the development of Ditching as a creative community.”
There are three tours to choose from:
Your tour will begin at Charleston Farmhouse and journey through the countryside, finishing at Berwick Church.
This tour follows the lives of the artists who sought retreat here, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and explores what life was like here during the Second World War.
Visit Charleston’s website here and plan your visit.
Starting at Southease Railway Station, you will walk the same paths that Virginia Woolf once walked, passing through Rodmell and along the banks of the River Ouse.
You will hear about the huge impact that the South Downs had on Virginia’s life, including her love of walking and her decision to make Monk’s House at Rodmell her “address for ever and ever”.
Visit the National Trust’s website for Monk’s House and plan your visit.
Ditchling was home to a community of artists and makers in the 20th century and many of their works are now held at the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft. This tour will guide you through the local landscape, highlighting landmarks linked to the artists and makers that lived here.
Visit the website of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft and plan your visit.
People can download the app from their phone’s app store, either by searching “In Their Footsteps” or following the below links:
The National Park Authority hopes to add new content to the app later this year.