East Sussex is a large sunny county, in southeast England. It’s not too far from France, which you can see on a clear day over the water (around 20 miles). It’s home to the ancient fishing port of Hastings and the nearby hilly town of Rye, where Spike Milligan is buried (his epitaph is thought to be the funniest in history: ‘I told you I was ill!’)
Further along the coast lie the sunny towns of Bexhill and Eastbourne, and further west is the city of Brighton, home to England’s first Green MP and a thriving artistic veggie community. Inland are lots of beautiful villages, many nestled among the South Downs National Park. The town of Battle was the real scene of the Battle of Hastings.
Local Food in East Sussex
- Ashurst Organics delivers organic veg boxes to your door (get 90p discount to collect locally). You can opt for spuds or no spuds, and they also deliver local bread, apple and pear juice. Based in the village of Plumpton near Lewes, The farm grows over 40 types of veggies on 15 acres of land, with a glasshouse, to extend the season. During the Hungry Gap, they import from France and Spain, but nothing is air-freighted.
- Barcombe Nurseries grows organic veggies just outside Lewes on a 10-acre farm, with free delivery of greens, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, potatoes, apples and juice. Plus there are seasonal treats like spring rhubarb and summer figs. Out of season, they offer produce from other local farms and Southern Europe.
- Simply Veg delivers local food to customers in the Horam, Heathfield and Wadhurst areas. You can also order a range of natural chutneys and jams.
- Hankham Organics have worked to restore a vast dilapidated glasshouse that took 4 years and a rainwater harvesting system. Choose from a vegetable or fruit box, which includes locally grown organic apples and potatoes.
- Infinity Foods is a thriving workers co-op in Brighton, with its own wholesale business. This is la locally-owned natural supermarket that offers organic fruits and veggies, vegan groceries, freshly baked bread, natural toiletries and eco-friendly cleaning products (with refill stations).
- HISBE (stands for ‘how it should be’) is one of England’s first locally-owned supermarkets. Nearly everything sold here is from local producers.
- Due to the land in East Sussex, it is home to many good vineyards. Vegan-friendly organic ones include Davenport Vineyards, Sedlescombe Vineyards and Breaky Bottom (for Sussex champagne!)
Zero Waste East Sussex
- Zero Waste Eastbourne sells bulk groceries and non-food items, with no plastic packaging. A lot of items support local business: coffee comes from a roastery in Litlington, and menstrual pads come from 10 minutes up the road.
- Wastenot is a zero waste shop in Brighton that sells items for the kitchen, bathroom and travel. All designed to cut down waste and reduce your impact on the planet. For the online store, everything is sent in plastic-free packaging.
- Common Cause (Lewes) runs the farmers’ market, a community allotment and orchard, and runs local seed swaps. You can also take local pruning courses. Just up the road in Brighton, Moulsecoomb Forest Garden has restored derelict land to create a thriving garden for local people, which supports native wildlife, and helps those with social challenges and learning disabilities.
- Brighton Community Compost Centre collects garden waste then sells back the beautiful organic compost to local community projects, at less price than from the garden centre. The compost is also used to grow veggies for a box scheme in nearby Newhaven. Fresh compost is toxic to pets.
- Magpie (Brighton) collects most items for recycling, including clothes and furniture that are sold through its Shabitat store, to people on low incomes. You can also buy furniture made from recycled wood at Brighton & Hove Wood Recycling Project or Community Wood Recycling Project (Hastings).
Local Money in East Sussex
- East Sussex Credit Union is a local bank run by and for local people. With branches throughout the county, it offers a wide range of savings accounts, and members get discounts on local bus services and gyms. They cannot offer Sole Trader accounts, but do offer accounts to save for businesses.
- The Lewes Pound is one of the few local currencies in England. Traded like gift vouchers, pick up beautifully designed security-watermarked pound notes from local outlets, then use them to support local shops and services.
Animal Friends in East Sussex
- There are so many animal shelters in England, it’s not possible to list them all on this site. So many innocent animals need loving homes. Some local shelters are Raystede, Kit Wilson Trust, Sussex Pet Rescue, Waifs & Strays, Barby Keel, Hollyview Animal Sanctuary, Celia Hammond Trust and City Cat Shelter.
- If you find injured wildlife, most vets can help. But you are likely to find more expertise (and quicker response) from a local wildlife rescue. Ones in East Sussex include East Sussex Wildlife Ambulance, Roger’s Wildlife Rescue and Folly Wildlife Rescue. There is also a farm sanctuary: Hugletts Wood (near Heathfield). You can search by location (and species) for a more extensive list at Help Wildlife.
- Guide to East Sussex Pub Walks offers 20 circular routes from 2.5 to 7 miles, centres around pubs recommended for good food and a warm welcome. Explore Pevensey Levels, Beachy Head and Seven Sisters Country Park. Take in pretty villages of Alfriston and Firle, tranquil waters of the Arlington Reservoir and the glorious Rye coast. Also find rural pathways, fields, meadows, quiet lanes and waterways that make East Sussex perfect walking country.
- East Sussex: A Dog Walker’s Guide (2016) offers 20 circular routes, carefully designed with maximum off-lead time and minimum exposure to roads. Routes vary from 2.5 to 6 miles, with info on distance and terrain, likely livestock, number/type of stiles and nearest vet. Walks include Seven Sisters Country Park, the Cuckmere River, Ashdown Forest, the Cuckoo Trail and Bodiam.