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About Small Dole

A Rural Parish

The intriguingly named tiny village, about 8 miles northwest of Brighton, is the home of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, which has its headquarters at Woods Mill.

A water mill has been on the site since the time of the Conqueror.  It was a working mill until 1927, becoming a tea garden in the 1930s.  In 1950 it was bough by Dr J N Douglas-Smith, whose family gave it to the Trust in 1966.  The mill has 4 storeys, and much of the machinery can be seen, as well as many other interesting exhibits.  Outside there is a Nature Trail, plus the “The Ancestors” – carved statues of knights in armour.  Their origin is not known, although they are not of great age, but little boys love them !

An interesting description of the mill as it was nearly 30 years ago appears in the Sussex County Magazine, July 1956.  The author, John Blaxland, concluded his article with the following:  “I felt that in every inch of the mill, the streams and the Ancestors, I had caught a glimpse of an age that will never return  the Era of the Millstone.

As well as a good place to spend an afternoon, Woods Mill may encourage you to support the Sussex Trust, by becoming a member.

N.B.  The village information above is taken from The Wet Sussex Village Book, written by Tony Wales and published by Countryside Books.  Click on the link Countryside Books to view Countryside’s range of other local titles.