Holiday cottage, Amberley, West Sussex
Little Barn, as its name suggests, was once used for agricultural purposes. Internally no trace of that usage remains! It has been skillfully converted into a charming holiday cottage offering every modern comfort. The quality of the conversion of the barn is so good that it has been nominated for an award by the local authority’s planning department. As well as under floor heating to provide comfort in the colder months it has large windows opening onto the extensive timber decking outside. This is one of the highlights of Little Barn, providing guests with uninterrupted views over the Amberley Wildbrooks to the north, and what a view. Very few houses in Amberley, let alone anywhere else, have such a breath taking outlook on the doorstep.
As you enter Little Barn there is a spacious hall with ample space for shoes and coats. From there you enter the vaulted kitchen/dining room which has a lovely feeling of space and light. The kitchen is fully equipped to allow you to make the most of your stay if you decide to cook, although with the local pub within walking distance you may choose to eat out every night. At the opposite end of the room there is a table and chairs for dining, although if the weather is fine you will want to eat outside on the decking and enjoy the fabulous views. The decking extends to a second level leading to steps that take you to the lower gardens..
A single step from the central dining area leads to the bedroom with king sized ‘And So to Bed’ period style bed, and adjacent shower room with large shower cubicle, basin and WC. A heated towel rail adds to the comfort and ensures warm towels at any time of the year.
Stairs lead from the dining area up to the mezzanine sitting room. Up here you get a close up view of the amazing old timbers making up part of the roof structure of Little Barn. Some of the beams are quite low and others are at floor level, also the ceiling slopes so some care needs to be taken. There are two large arm chairs and a separate area with two sofas and the TV, and the whole mezzanine has immense character due to the timber work and the sloping ceiling, just mind your head when you stand up and move around!
Amberley is at the foot of the South Downs and is noted for its many thatched cottages. It is a village that has managed to retain its character and appeal over the centuries and it will delight. The River Arun with its tidal plain cuts through the South Downs at Amberley. The South Downs Way crosses the river beside the village where a walk either east or west will soon present you with stunning Downland views and total seclusion.
The tidal river plain north of the village forms the Amberley Wildbrooks — a Site of Special Scientific Interest known for its wildfowl and maintained by Sussex Wildlife Trust. The RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks neighbours Amberley, and is a wetland haven for bird life, and an overwintering ground for many migrant species. It has many opportunities for studying the wild life from several strategically located hides.
Only a mile away is the Amberley Working Museum which was used as a set location for the James Bond Film ‘A View to a Kill‘. It is a 36 acre open air museum set into a chalk quarry and is dedicated to the industrial heritage of South East England. Depending on the timing of your visit there are many themed events so it is worth taking a look to see what is on.
Two miles to the east Parham House and Gardens is an imposing Elizabethan house facing the Downs. The rooms are graced with fresh flowers cut daily from the four acre walled garden. The main rooms are the Great Hall, Great Chamber and the Long Gallery which at the top of the house does leave a tremendous visual impression.
Five miles downstream from Amberley immediately south of the Downs you come to Arundel, a historic market town dominated by the symbolic castle and the rising spire of the cathedral. If you fancy making your visit a little different why not catch the train one stop down the line and come back on the river, but do allow plenty of time.
The town offers a plethora of craft and antique shops as well as restaurants and tearooms. A trip to Arundel would never be complete without visiting the castle. The seat of the Dukes of Norfolk and set in 40 acres of sweeping grounds and gardens, Arundel Castle has been seasonally open to visitors for nearly 200 years. It is one of the great treasure houses of England and to climb the 131 steps to the Keep to take in the views is worth the effort.
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