Keymer means ‘cow’s pond’ in Old English.

About Hassocks

Hassocks at the foot of the South DownsHassocks comprises the old parishes of Clayton (meaning settlement on the clay) and Keymer (meaning cow’s pond.) The name Hassocks is thought to have come from the name for rough tufts of grass in surrounding fields.
There are spectacular views of the South Downs from the village and, if you go the top of the Downs, views across the Weald to the North Downs.  

Artefacts and remains from Stone Age, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman and Anglo Saxon times have been found in the area and the remains of a Bronze Age fort can be seen at the top of Wolstonbury Hill. It is thought that metal workers visited the area in about 600bc. Visit Wolstonbury Hill on Walk 5.

Evidence has also been found of a Roman road leading towards a settlement at Stonepound (now a busy road junction on the A273 linking Hassocks with Hurstpierpoint.)

Clayton Railway TunnelThe London & South Coast Railway reached Hassocks in 1841. During the construction of the line and Clayton Tunnel, over 6000 workers and 900 horses were used. Over 400 of the workers (‘navvies’ or navigators) were housed in huts near the line or in cottages around Keymer parish. Hassocks Station was originally called Hassocks Gate after the tollgate which stood on the main road near Stonepound. Best viewed from the roadbridge on the A273, Clayton Railway Tunnel at 1¼ miles is the longest tunnel on the London to Brighton Line. The Victorian folly above the entrance was built at the request of the landowner.

Today Hassocks offers a variety of shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs and leisure opportunities including cycle hire, walking and cycle trails, horse riding, golf, tennis, squash and bowls.

There is a village market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Hassocks is twinned with Montmirail in France and Wald-Michelbach in Germany and regular visits take place to and from both twin towns.

The telephone dialling code for Hassocks is 01273 if dialling from within the UK. To dial from outside the UK, check the international code from your country, then dial +44 and omit the (0) from the numbers listed on this site.
While you’re in the Hassocks area why not explore our neighbouring villages of Hurstpierpoint and Ditchling.


To the west of Hassocks is the parish of Hurstpierpoint which is mentioned in the Domesday Book. "Hurst" is the Saxon word meaning ‘wood’ and "Pierpoint" comes from the Pierpoint family who came to the area after arriving in England with William the Conqueror in 1066. Many of the village’s buildings date from the eighteenth century or earlier.

Holy Trinity Church in Hurstpierpoint was designed by Sir Charles Barry who also designed the Houses of Parliament in London.

Hurstpierpoint includes the smaller settlements of Goddards Green and Sayers Common.

Cycle Route 1 takes you to the eastern edge of Hurstpierpoint.

Visit Hurstpierpoint, Goddards Green and Sayers Common on Cycle Route 2.

Visit Hurstpierpoint on Walk 4

For more information about Hurstpierpoint including the Hurstpierpoint Heritage Walk and map click here


To the east of Hassocks, Ditchling lies just inside the South Downs National Park. This ancient parish dates back to at least the year 765AD and is thought to have been owned by both Alfred the Great and Edward the Confessor.

The Parish Church of St Margaret of Antioch is of Saxon origin and Anne of Cleves House, opposite the Church, was part of Henry VIII’s divorce settlement with Anne, his fourth wife. 

In the twentieth century, Ditchling became a centre of the Arts & Crafts movement, attracting artists such as Eric Gill, Edward Johnston, Hilary Pepler and Frank Brangwyn. Their story is told in displays at Ditchling Museum. For opening times click here 

Above Ditchling to the South stands Ditchling Beacon, third highest point on the South DoDitchlingwns at 248m and offering spectacular views over the Weald and towards the North Downs or towards Brighton and the south coast. Ditchling Beacon is owned by the National Trust and there is a charge for using the car park. The Beacon is on the South Downs Way, a popular walking and cycling route from Winchester to Eastbourne. The Beacon is accessible from Ditchling village via the very steep and busy Beacon Road and from Clayton via the Jack & Jill Windmills. Cycle to Ditchling Beacon and the top of the Downs via the all together more leisurely Windmill Cycle Route 5.

To the north of the village is Ditchling Common Country Park. Much of the park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is made up of grassland, scrub, woods and open water. It is especially attractive when the bluebells are in flower in the spring. Popular for walking and horseriding. There is a signed nature trail. Fishing is allowed in the pond but fishermen must obtain a permit first. For more information click here. Car parking is available off Folders Lane East.

For more information about Ditchling click here.