About West Stoke
West Stoke is the gateway to the Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve; a beautiful, important and unusual part of the South Downs. You can park at West Stoke and walk along Stoke Down before reaching the slightly steeper climb up to the Nature Reserve itself.
Whilst West Stoke is a small community, it has an interesting showroom – Design Vintage – which has a collection of vintage and industrial furnishings of modern design and Scandinavian influence on sale and a cafe serving coffee and light snacks. It also has its own Village Hall used for weddings, parties, meetings, exercise classes and art shows for up to 40 people. In particular, the Hall is the venue for annual cream teas held every Sunday between June and September. In about 1820, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon bequeathed the hall as a school for the children of the inhabitants of West Stoke. In 1903 a document was signed by the then Duke, which stated that if the school ceased to exist, which it did in 1922, the building should be used for the good of the community. The Hall is now run as a registered charity and managed by a committee of local people for precisely that purpose: the benefit of the local community.
A little history
West Stoke also boasts an 11th century church – St. Andrews – mentioned in the Domesday Book: the ideal picture of a Sussex country church, standing near a C18 manor by a gentle slope of the Downs, surrounded in the churchyard by large yews. In the 13th century the chancel was remodelled and a small tower, incorporating a porch added to the south side of the nave. The chancel was restored in 1841 and later the same century a vestry was added. During redecoration in 1990 fragments of medieval wall paintings, believed to date from around 1200 were discovered and subsequently restored. Christenings, weddings and burials are held at the Church, as well as regular Sunday services; the latter to which all are welcome.