I’ve found another lovely place to visit! It’s Flint Barn which you’ll find on the South Downs Way at Cocking Hill, West Sussex. There’s a car park close by on the main A286 and Flint Barn is a hop skip and a jump away from there.
There’s tons of footpaths and bridleways off this section of the SDW on both sides of the main road, so whether mountain biking is your passion or horse riding, trail-running or walking, there’s plenty of excuses to get out into the countryside and reward yourself before and/or afterwards with delicious food and drink from the barn.
Terena and Fiona run the cafe and you’ll receive a very friendly warm welcome from them, they don’t seem to be phased by muddy boots or bottoms. They serve up truly delicious grub, homemade by Fiona with a breakfast and lunch menu. The menu changes fairly frequently so you won’t get bored and it’s a good excuse to return again and again to try everything on it. The one shown above is an early one taken not long after they’d opened which was in May 2021 and has now become a little more interesting and adventurous to the basic one they began with – see the photo below…
My favourite dish at the moment is their burger: sweet potato, quinoa & black bean, aioli, salad, all placed within a fresh Donker Rye roll, served with fries – I love their fries! I haven’t had a bad experience there yet and I’ve been several times. We tend to start with a coffee and cake, walk or cycle for about 3 hours and head back for a late lunch, and maybe even another cake to take home for later. Naughty.
The menu is vegetarian and vegan/or vegan options so you won’t find any bacon or sausage butties. Breakfast consists of dishes such as avo on toast, porridge (I think), vegetarian/vegan breakfasts and banana bread (shown below). Last time I spoke to them they were thinking of adding scrambled tofu to the menu too.
They serve lovely coffees – using Winchester Coffee Roasters – teas and herbal teas, juices and hot chocolate. Alternative milks are available.
The cakes are smashing, they’re from Cakesmiths who supply lots of our other favourite places to visit such as The Old Forge in Hambledon, Hampshire (they have other suppliers too and have a huge range of cakes available) and Design Vintage in West Stoke, West Sussex. The cakes shown below are all vegan but Flint Barn do sell plenty of non-vegan and GF ones too.
Terena is an amazing woman. I overheard her on one occasion speaking to another customer and I couldn’t help ear-wigging. She mentioned that she also has a full-time job as well as running Flint Barn and got up super early in the mornings in which to do it. The Greening Campaign of which she founded and is now in many counties around the UK. I quickly Googled it and up popped her name and information on what she has, so far, done with her life – here’s a link. Terena was doing sustainable things before it was popular, well, before we’d even really heard about it and maybe didn’t understand how important it was – or is. She was well ahead of us all.
The weather can sometimes be quite different at Cocking Hill compared to elsewhere. A couple of times we’ve set off expecting the same beautiful sunny blue skies we’d left behind us at home only to arrive and find…mist and cloud. On one occasion once we’d climbed to the top of the hill it was simply stunning, we were above the clouds and we had incredibly blue skies with the cloud laid out like a blanket below us, it was magical. Sadly I can’t find any of the photos I took on that particular day.
A walk we enjoy takes in Flint Barn. It starts at the car park but if you want to have Flint Barn in the middle of your walk for lunch, then you can start in Singleton. It’s a lovely 8 1/2 mile walk which takes in Levin Down, the South Down’s Way, the National Trust’s Drovers Estate, West Dean Estate and Cowdray Estate (on which Flint Barn is situated, notice the Cowdray ‘yellow’ paint). You may even come across the charcoal burner shown in the above photo. There’s tons of wild flowers in the summer along the walk too. Or, just take an Ordnance Survey map with you – or use their app – and explore the many paths, you’ll soon find yourself back on the SDW.
We visit Flint Barn and Cocking Hill for walks and a spot of mountain-biking quite often, it’s one of our favourite areas and I hope you’ll enjoy it too.
Ambience – 7
Service – 9
Value – 9
Quality – 9
Overall – 9/10
Living life, absolutely loving Flint Barn!