Our Farms, on Sompting Estate
The map at the foot of this page shows where each farm is.
is on the west side of the Estate, north of the A27 up Lambleys Lane (so named because it leads to some pastures on Upton Down called Lambs’ Leys). It includes the downland which can be seen from the village, west and north of St Mary’s Sompting church. In the years up to 2000 it was still a mixed farm, with cattle and arable crops such as winter wheat, but only small numbers of sheep (Mrs Coleman’s prize Southdowns flock).
After 2000, the farmers Philip and Claire Bower, whose own farm is in the Steyning Bowl, brought their own sheep and cattle to raise here. They also run a small horse livery with riding school at the old Stable Cross barns. Upton's Farm Environment Plan, in the agri-environment Higher Level Scheme, has enhanced the habitat for ground-nesting farmland birds such as grey partridge, lapwing, and corn bunting. The farm's patchwork landscape, with permanent grass, arable and leys, and small woods and hedgerows, is great for wildlife.
Titch Hill Farm
Our oldest and smallest farm in the high downs, the farmhouse was built in 1761 and later enlarged.
The farm has two small woodlands: the larger one, Titch Hill Wood or 'The Mountain', was planted by the Estate in the late 19th century, mainly with beech and larch. After it was severely damaged in the 1987 Great Storm, some replanting was done but it became overrun with Sycamore which, while good for firewood, does not offer much to wildlife. Since 2000 the Estate has refreshed the woodland planting to include 10 coppice coupes (each half hazel), with glades and forestry paths in between. We have gradually been planting more trees to expand the woodland area on this farm.
Titch Hill Farm is now growing grapes in vineyards and we look forward to offering Sompting Estate wines in the future.
is in the north east of the Estate and Parish. It includes the Beggars Bush car park and picnic area with superb views and walks. In the decade up to 2000, following decades of government intensification policies, Lychpole was just growing winter wheat. Since then, farmers Caroline and David Harriott have successfully reestablished a more traditional mixed farming system to raise and feed thousands of sheep and cattle. In this system, a variety of rotational arable crops such as spring barley, turnips, fodder beet and grass leys, are grown in a patchwork around some permanent grassland. The farming is more sustainable, the soil is healthier, and the landscape is altogether more hospitable as a wildlife habitat. Other conservation work on Lychpole has included dewpond restoration, scrub clearance to favour the unique species-rich chalk grassland of the downs, renovation of overgrown hedgerows full of dead elms, and new hedge planting.
Although formerly based at the farmhouse opposite St Mary's Church, the farm of this name is now almost entirely south of the A27 and is mainly arable farmland growing crops such as wheat or barley. Frank Grantham is the contractor carrying out farming operations for the Tristram family's farming business Church Farm (Sompting) LLP on this area together with his farmland at Old Erringham. The Estate is seeking to develop a new Regenerative Farming plan for Church Farm as a whole.
The lower lying ground used mainly for grazing and hay on the east and west sides, and on the south side down by the railway, is farmed by Frank Grantham and the eastern pastures are designated as a Local Wildlife Site. In 2019, the EPIC project, a partnership between the Estate and the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust, created a new stream course across this farmland.
Yew Tree Farm
now consists of the small area called Malthouse Field, also known as Sompting Paddocks, bounded by the A27, West Street, Church Lane and Dankton Lane. Since the closure of the Croft Meadows / Sompting Paddocks business, this land has variously been grazed by horses and sheep. The Estate has sometimes made it available in the past for community rural events such as agricultural shows or Donkey Derbys, and we may do so again in the future.
Traditional Farm Buildings
At the end of the 20th century, the Estate's remaining traditional flint buildings were crumbling. The Estate has restored Lychpole’s historic farmhouse and (with help from Natural England) traditional barns.