Meet the Team
Feel the love. The team headed by Michelle Matthews all work hard to ensure comfortable and effortless pleasure in your stay. We try to be as available as possible during your stay, all our guests are considered VIP’S, so we are here when you want us and not when you don’t.
The project to build romantic and special self-catering houses in this wonderful location on the farm was a work of passion, by a build team who had spent the previous ten years working happily together on the estate converting barns and farm buildings.
House on the Brooks was built by local master craftsman Rodney Elliot, who was born in the parish, alongside his son, the goal-keeper of the local net Gary Elliott. Also Captain of the village cricket team. After Rodney retired, Gary continued and built The Mill House alongside local craftsman Brian Norman, Tina Ford with paint brush in hand, Keith Fanning plumbing and Martin Maghay electrics with Mark and Amy Dallyn labouring. In later years the team was joined part time by Kayleigh and Callum both of the Ford dynasty. It’s a family affair. Respected House keepers Olivia, Janet and Tracey, we all muck in when needed.
So the build team a true mix of local talent from the parish. From the artistic design and salvage collection of Mark Dallyn, came the fantastical eclectic mix of the Frida Kahlo homage and the Opium Bed in the Mill House, Chinese Boudoir room. With antique items and statuary re-purposed from around the world.
In Tree Tops the latest wood fired Japanese Sauna and huge solid rock granite Cold Plunge, are nothing less than works of artistic exuberance. Perfect backdrops for film or photoshoots.
The best award we can have is a 10/10 or five star review or a message telling of fun had or experiences gathered in our wonderful area. However we also have grownup awards as follows;
Five Star Gold award (represents top five percent of self-catering property)
Rural Business Awards
Winner Best Tourist Business
Traveller December 2021 Five Star Four Houses on One Estate
We are delighted a large number of guests return to us every year. The Biggest Result for us is if our guests have fun! A bonus is, if they forray into and take pleasure in our unique environment.
Walk from the door in one direction into the wilds of the Brook lands, in another into the woods. Two rivers, with plenty to do; picnic on the riverbank, wild swimming, canoe or paddle board hire, or just laze away the day with your feet in the water. With the wonders of the South Downs National Park and landscape views. Our diverse environment gives a RAMSAR site (2023 with Sea Eagles) and three wildlife reserves an easy walk. We built all our houses, now we run them. The buildings at House on the Brooks were designed and purpose built with as many reclaimed materials as possible. The clay tiles, the roof of a local cinema and the large timbers from local railway bridges. Antique doors and fittings throughout. Local timber and the bricks, from local brickyards helps blend the buildings naturally into the landscape. We have a programe of photovoltaic electricity and grey water where possible. We work with Natural England and RSPB to promote flora, fauna and funga on the estate. We work hard to improve the immediate environment, build ponds and plant trees. We care for and encourage teasels, which are an important seed source for finches. We have embraced re-wilding of parts of the farm and this enable us to boast an extraordinary diversity of flora, fauna and funga.
Waltham Brooks Nature Reserve run by Sussex Wildlife Trust, Pulborough Brooks, and Amberley Wildbrooks RAMSAR site are just a short walk from our estate.
Flora & Fauna
The farm is run with a re-wilding and re-watering programe. Holding water in the ditches and fields. No fertiliser, herbicides, or pesticides. We love our aquatic insects, consequently we have a very rare colony of Club-tailed Dragon flies on the farm for you to enjoy. Our diverse environment gives a RAMSAR site (2023 with Sea Eagles) and three wildlife reserves an easy walk. We also have a Natural England designated breeding area for the rare lapwing. With wild Sussex on the doorstep, our houses are the window into the natural beauty of The South Downs National Park and re-energising soul food for those needing a re-charge.
We are very pleased to have been part of the Barn Owl Box scheme and are delighted that in the past owlets born on the farm have been found to be seen successfully breeding high up on the South Downs. We currently (2020) have one adult in residence.
The mix of our wet brookland and woods nearby ensure a very diverse mix of funga. Including Russula sphagnophila only found in this location in the UK and Eccilia Paludicola only found in this location in the world.
We have planted the rare Black Poplar trees into West Sussex. Where possible and appropriate we plant this native tree, almost extinct in West Sussex thirty years ago. We aim to plant at least one hundred trees a year.
The site of the Hardham Roman fort on the Roman road of Stane Street is on the farm. The earthworks still visible from House on the Brooks. GPR has found many Roman kiln floors indicating a busy early artistic settlement. Julius Caesar is known to have stayed here with other notable visitors being King Ethelred (who in this case was ready) to successfully see off the Viking hordes in a nearby battle.
Constantine the Great also passed through and likely to have overnighted. There are clear links to the spirituality of the neighbourhood by the placing of the nearby Hardham Priory, which may well have been on an ancient site. Evidence of an earlier Iron Age settlement has also been discovered.
Some of the oldest frescos in the country (11th Century) can be seen in St Botolph’s Hardham Church a ten minute amble from the houses.
The Hardham Canal Tunnel runs under the farm, entrance (now abandoned) near Tree Tops was built to shorten the route to the sea in the late 18th century. The large courtyard in The Timber Barn garden is the ancient kiln floor used to fire the bricks for the tunnel. Subsequently bricks were made for the Amberely railway tunnel which led to the demise of the canals.
Clearly Hardham must have been a happy resource for travellers on the ancient road, fishing in the river and with an artistic community of potters living in dramatic and beautiful natural landscape.
Parham and Petworth House well worth a visit if you are Downtrod Abbey fan, if not and you love gardens don’t miss Parham House garden or the Capability Brown park at Petworth. Check Gardens open programme in local villages. Arundel castle have a wonderous early spring tulip festival, other events include knights and maidens jousting.
WW2 Hardham was bombed in the war and the Old Hammer Mill and lock keepers cottages destroyed. The site of the Roman fort of Hardham is situated between The house on the Brooks and the Mill House,
Our Guests love… hot tubs, walking to the pub, fun on the rivers, canoeing, paddle boarding, wild swimming, going to the beach, wine tours on one of the many, or many of the vineyards that are close by, Foraging for Fungi (April May Autumn) Walking in the woods. Walking across Amberley Wild Brooks to lunch in The Black Horse, or shorter walk to The White Hart at Stopham. (book both in advance) Local pub The Labouring Man or The White Horse in Pulborough. Goodwood Revival and Festival of speed. Arundel Castle tulip festival, Parham or Petworth NT house. RSPB reserve Pulborough, life class drawing. Culture tours of Arundel. Sculpture class. Polo at Midhurst. Butlers in the buff. Shakespeare in the park. Chichester Festival Theatre, Glyndebourne. Goodwood track days or go karts. Clay pigeon shooting. Fontwell racecourse. Golf at West Sussex Pulborough. Parham gliding. Parham Steam rally. Autumn ploughing matches. Point to point racing. Rent a boat from Amberley bridge and potter about on the river. Or just lie in the grass, enjoy the isolated beauty and have a Spritz…
The Timber Barn has a good size banquet hall that can be used as a central point for all of the houses. Corporate team building and think tank usage has been used for companies as diverse as BDO, BP and BBC. The furniture can be re-arranged to suit usage and we can provide local instructors in diverse disciplines or simply guide a local walk or run. The isolated nature of the House on the Brooks and The Mill House are available for very discreet meetings.
We are very conscious of our place in our community as the family have been in residence since 1876. We tend to employ local people, both in the build and the running of our business. We are very pleased to see guests from all over the world enjoy our unique landscape and enjoy using the houses as a base to explore our locality. There are footpaths leading from the houses and maps to show three circular “walks” each taking approx three hours. We encourage guests to use local pubs and restaurants. Cycle to the South Downs down wonderful Sussex bridle paths and Green Lanes, only crossing one main road.
We are delighted to host larger weddings, and welcome differing groups and families from the urban centres, who are assured to find a warm welcome in the countryside.
We make special allowance for local groups who wish to use the barn. We have in the past been very pleased to give free space to host a promotional charity lunch party (50 people sitting down) for our named and supported local Downs Syndrome charity “Aldingbourne Trust” in collaboration with the staff and owners of Field and Fork restaurant. We have also been very pleased to give free space to local Chalk Path Theatre in the Timber Barn .
Situated at the confluence of two river valleys, we are truly in the heart and have close connections with Sussex Wine Country and happy to promote and collaborate our local wineries. Nyetimber, The Stopham Vineyard and Nutbourne are all closeby. We are happy to help with wine tasting trips and accommodation. There are many other local vineyards that are more than a walk away.
The Dallyn Family moved to Sussex in the agricultural depression of the 1870’s. Grazing stock on the wetlands and growing on the sandy banks left behind by the last ice age. Now diversifying into a five star holiday let experience, with very close links to the soil and to the environment.
House on the Brooks
The Sussex Farmhouse Afternoon Tea £25 per person
Home Made Fruit Scones: served with hand churned farmhouse butter or cream And hedgerow or fruits from the farm jam.
Three Home made cakes
Coffee and Walnut
Sandwiches with the following filling on brown bread:
Free Range Egg Mayonnaise & Cress (in season)
Mature Cheddar & Home Made Chutney
Cream cheese and Organic Cucumber
Selection of teas: Fruit tea Green tea Black tea Earl grey
Our ethos is to re-cycle from the build stage to the clearing of the party and aim to ensure carbon-neutrality throughout our guests’ stays through our Sustainability Action Plan.