The idyllic village of Litlington lies in the middle of the Cuckmere Valley in East Sussex. Nestled in the South Downs, it has the South Downs Way passing through it. This is the well-trodden National Trail which stretches from Eastbourne to Winchester. The village boasts a church, a pub, a brewery, two family-run farms and a range of emerging local businesses. The Village Hall was built in the 1950s. A traditional village hall with a playground to the rear, it has been thoughtfully renovated and improved over the last few years. The Hall serves as a hub for Litlington’s vibrant, rural community.
Lullington is a hamlet neighbouring Litlington further north along the Cuckmere Valley. It lies on a shoulder of the South Downs across the river from Alfriston. The hamlet is spread between the Church of the Good Shepherd, the Old Rectory and the Cottage on the hill, and Lullington Court, Lullington Court Farm and nine other flint and brick dwellings at the foot of the hill. These follow the original contours of early medieval mapping. Lullington Church is reputed to be the smallest church in England.
Westdean is a picturesque village in Friston Forest neighbouring Litlington to the south. It is spread over a wide area: north to Charleston Manor and south to the sea at Cuckmere Haven. The main village is protected by hills and hidden by trees with only one road in and out of the village, which can flood when the Cuckmere breaks its banks. Secluded and peaceful, Westdean has an old-world feel and boasts several well-preserved medieval buildings. The church is mostly Norman, built around 1200, with traces of Saxon origin, making it the oldest church in the Cuckmere Valley. The Parsonage, directly next to the church, has been a village dwelling since 1280 and is one of the oldest inhabited rectories in the country.
Cuckmere Valley Parish
Situated within the South Downs National Park and alongside the Cuckmere River, the villages of Litlington, Lullington and Westdean, together with the Seven Sisters Country Park, form Cuckmere Valley Parish. It was established as a civil parish in 1990. Its precursor, formed in 1974, was the Cuckmere Valley Parish Council. Prior to that each village had its own Village Assembly, a form of local government originating in the Saxon era. Combined as a civil parish only, the villages remain independent ecclesiastical parishes. Litlington and Westdean have their own Parish Church Councils; Alfriston with Lullington is another Parish Church Council. These, with Folkington Parish Church Council make up the Alfriston Benefice.