Did you know?

  • East Brighton Park and Sheepcote lie in Black Rock Valley and used to be in Ovingdean Parish.
  • In the 1870s there was a rifle range for volunteer soldiers sited here.
  • The park was acquired in 1913 and laid out with plants and sports pitches in 1925.
  • The first municipal campsite in the country was opened here in 1938.
  • When the film “O What A Lovely War” was made in Brighton, the trenches were built here.
  • The golf course was opened in 1893.

    Bad News - Tipping started in the valley in 1916 and gradually increased until it was on a large scale between 1952 and 1982.
     
    Good News - When a public inquiry turned down the idea of a waste transfer station in the valley in 1979, it was stated: "They [the residents] are entitled, after all the years of detriment to their living standards, to have the opportunity of enjoying the tranquil outlook over an open and green valley that they have been continuously promised"
    Then the Friends of Sheepcote Valley was formed in 1997 and the volunteers have worked with Brighton and Hove City Council since then to improve the area for wildlife and visitors.
     
    Who lived and worked in the Valley?
    New House Farm -
    It is believed that in 1863 William and Esther Holford started renting the farmland in Sheepcote from Charles Beard and a year later he built the farmhouse for them. They were followed by Silas and Beatrice Holford.
     Race Hill Farm - This was situated near the racecourse at the top of the hill. The flint house was built in 1858 and two generations of the Chapman family farmed the land on which the Whitehawk estate was built in the 1930s. Sadly, the house was demolished in the 1950s, but if you explore in the copse, you will discover some remains of the farmhouse.
     Post WW2 - As told by David Baker (Ovingdean farmer) "My father, Frank Masefield-Baker moved to Ovingdean in 1945. He farmed the land around the rim of the valley, including the Wilson Avenue side. Initially the bottom of the valley was full of lorries and trucks left over from the War. When these were cleared the campsite opened. Then gradually the tip encroached. The family continued to farm the rest of the land till 1990, but for the last 5 years it was put into set-aside. I believe I was the last person to drive a combine in Sheepcote in 1985."
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