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Looking Towards Beddingham Roundabout - - 972632.jpg
Looking north on the A26 at Beddingham
Beddingham is located in East Sussex
Beddingham shown within East Sussex
Area 11.4 km2 (4.4 sq mi) [1]
Population 242 (Census 2011)[2]
• Density 25/km2 (65/sq mi)
OS grid reference TQ445078
• London 45 miles (72 km) N
Civil parish
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LEWES
Postcode district BN8
Dialling code 01273
Police Sussex
Fire East Sussex
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament
Website Parish Council website
List of places
East Sussex
50°51′06″N 0°03′07″E / 50.8518°N 0.0519°E / 50.8518; 0.0519Coordinates: 50°51′06″N 0°03′07″E / 50.8518°N 0.0519°E / 50.8518; 0.0519
Beddingham Church

Beddingham is a village in the Lewes district of East Sussex.


Beddingham is located at the junction between the London to Newhaven (A26) and south coast (A27) roads south-east of Lewes. The parish of Beddingham was joined with that of Glynde shortly after the Second World War, to make the combined parish of Glynde and Beddingham.[3]


The area was settled in pre-Roman times with many tumuli in the surrounding hills originating in the Iron Age.

The Roman villa at Beddingham 50°50′52″N 0°04′16″E / 50.84771°N 0.07115°E / 50.84771; 0.07115 was excavated by David Rudling between 1987 and 1992. Construction began in the late first century AD, and the villa was occupied until the mid fourth-century. There was a wooden roundhouse built originally (around 50 AD) before Roman construction began towards the end of the century.[4]

When the Saxons came, one of the buildings on the site was hollowed out, presumably to be used as a Sunken Feature Building (Grubenhaus). It is interesting that the fill of the cut contains a mix of Late Roman and Early Saxon pottery, suggesting some degree of continuity of settlement.[5]

Beddingham was a Saxon royal minster. It was probably seized by Offa of Mercia following his annexation of Sussex early in the 770s.[6] One of his coins was found there.[7] Once back in Saxon possession, the land was bequeathed by King Alfred to his nephew Aethelm, and the manor was later held by Earl Godwin.

The manor of Preston in Beddingham (or 'Preston Becklewin') was originally held by the Abbey of Bec and passed to King's College, Cambridge, at its foundation.[8]

The original church was wooden. The Normans used local flint from the South Downs to construct the present building. The noted horticulturist Frances Garnet Wolseley, 2nd Viscountess Wolseley was buried in the churchyard in 1936.

The 13th century farmhouse at Itford Farm (Grade II*listed) is being converted into a youth hostel (YHA) and outdoor activity centre to be known as YHA South Downs, and is due to open in Spring 2013.


There are two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) within the former parish.

The track that runs from Little Dene up to the Firle Escarpment was laid down as a tank road during the Second World War. This was intentionally abandoned after the war, although it is still used by farm vehicles.[11]


Virginia Woolf spent holidays and weekends during 1912–19 at Asham House, just off the road between Lewes and Newhaven. The house was then surrounded by the cement works that opened in 1932 and became derelict. The Grade II listed house was demolished on 12 July 1994, to allow expansion of Beddingham landfill site.[12]

Tea at Furlongs 1939, by Eric Ravilious

Peggy Angus rented Furlongs, a cottage at the foot of the South Downs. There she hosted a circle of artistic friends, including Eric Ravilious, Tirzah Garwood and John Piper. Ravilious, in particular, was inspired by the landscape to produce some of his most famous works, such as Tea at Furlongs.[13]


An experimental flotation kiln was built within the face of Asham Quarry in 1928. In 1927 a chemist, Geoffrey Martin, had patented a kiln designed to enable cement to be manufactured more cheaply.[14] The experimental kiln, to the patented design, was constructed by hand. The experiments lasted three months in late 1929.[15] The kiln was demolished when the quarry was converted into Beddingham Landfill site.

The Rodmell Works was established as a cement works with a rotary kiln in 1932, adjacent to Asham Quarry. The works were worked with a 2-foot (0.61 m) narrow gauge tramway. Cement was carried to Asham Wharf, on the Ouse, by an aerial ropeway; there it was loaded into boats that had to be piloted up and down the Ouse by tugs. Clay from Piddinghoe and coal for the kilns were shipped in. The works closed in 1975.

Beddingham Landfill site[edit]

In 1979 the cement works and quarry were converted into Beddingham Landfill Site, which was above a water table and was not initially lined.[16] The site was licensed to accept industrial, commercial and household waste; there was no sub-division of the site to keep these different waste streams apart.[17] As part of the preparation for waste disposal, more chalk has been quarried, and sold for use in construction and agriculture.[18]

Three pits have been used for disposal. The first two were relatively low lying, penetrating below the depth of the groundwater table, and were not lined; these were filled and capped in 1985. The third pit is higher, deeper and larger, and has been filled in two stages: the northern half (1985–95) and southern half (1995–present). The northern half was not lined; the southern half has been lined with a layer of clay and a geo-membrane liner.[19]

pit filling date area (ha) waste volume (m3) average waste depth (m) base level (mAOD) stratum leachate (m3/yr)
1 1980–85 8 800 10 −3 to +5 gault clay 16000
2 1980–85 5 500 10 +3 to +8 cretaceous clay 22480
3 N 1985–95 8.8 2400 30 +10 to +19 chalk  ?
3 S 1995–present 10 2990 30 +15 to +21 chalk  ?

The landfill material at Beddingham has consistently been 60% domestic, 30% non-hazardous industrial/commercial and 10% cover (clay/chalk capping).[20] Waste typically includes 15,000 tonnes per year of disposable nappies.[21] In the late 1980s the site was used to dispose of cow carcasses suspected of having BSE[22] in an unlined pit.[17] By the early 1990s the Environment Agency was authorising the disposal of low-level radioactive waste at the site,[23] including some from the University of Sussex;[24] 4.5 cubic metres were disposed of in 1993.[25] Other hazardous material has included waste from the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry, tyres and asbestos.[20]

A leachate treatment works was built in 1987, comprising two collection lagoons fitted with surface aerators. In 1988 consent was obtained to discharge the aerated leachate to the River Ouse via a ditch on the floodplain, although by 2003 this had not yet been used to discharge any leachate. The accumulated leachate is periodically removed, or used in summer to suppress dust on the landfill.[26]

The three unlined pits were used for 'dilute and disperse' disposal of waste; accordingly they are continually releasing leachates into the groundwater. The groundwater flows westwards and is assumed to discharge where the chalk meets the alluvial Ouse floodplain. The discharge runs through open drainage ditches and into the Ouse via tidal flaps. These wetlands lie within a conservation area (SNCI) and are close to another at Lewes Brooks (SSSI).

In 1997 the water quality at a number of surface water sites on the floodplain of the River Ouse were monitored, and it was found that the water quality at some sites may be contaminated by leachate from the landfill site.[27] The macroinvertebrate communities at the same surface water sites may be affected.[28]

The leachate from the first two pits is typical of older landfill sites, being neutral in pH, but with high concentrations of NH3-N (260–350 mg/l), Cl (1300–1500 mg/l) and metals including Fe (5–15 mg/l).[29]

In 2005 the Environment Agency refused the operator a Pollution Prevention and Control permit for the site (essential for its operation), because leachate from the landfill posed an unacceptable risk to groundwater surrounding the site; further improvements to the site's liner system were also required.[30] These issues were resolved.

The site was profitable for Viridor, the waste management company operating the site. In 2008–09 the site contributed £4.4m to Viridor's profits.[31]

In 2009 the site became full and closed on 16 May. The operator stated that the site will restored to downland.[32]

Gases from the waste are collected and used to generate around 4.9MW of electricity, which is enough to power most of the houses in the nearby town of Lewes. This generation of electricity is continuing after closure.[33]


  1. ^ "A vision of Britain through time". University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 10 May 2009. 
  2. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Hampden. A., 1997: A glimpse of Glynde. The Book Guild. pp. 2, 89
  4. ^ Russell, M., 2006: Roman Sussex. Tempus. pp. 166–169
  5. ^ Russell, M., 2006: Roman Sussex. Tempus. p. 205
  6. ^ Combes, P., 2002: "Bishopstone, a pre-Conquest minster church". Sussex Archaeological Collections 140 (2002), 49–56.
  7. ^ from 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article on Sussex
  8. ^ King's College Estates Records, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge
  9. ^ "SSSI Citation – Firle Escarpment" (PDF). Natural England. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  10. ^ "SSSI Citation – Asham Quarry" (PDF). Natural England. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  11. ^ Longstaff-Tyrrell, P., 1998: Tyrrell's List: the Artefacts of Two Great Wars in Sussex.
  12. ^ Asham Award site
  13. ^ "Peggy Angus" (PDF). September 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  14. ^ Geoffrey Martin, British Patent No. 276.066 (application date 17 May 1926; complete acceptance date 17 August 1927)
  15. ^ Martin, R. G., 1992: "Experimental Cement Shaft Kiln at Beddingham". Sussex Industrial History 22:21–35
  16. ^ Hansard, 29 April 2003, Column 344
  17. ^ a b Hansard, 4 June 1997, Column 208W
  18. ^ "East Sussex and Brighton & Hove Minerals Local Plan" (PDF). 18 November 1999: 5–6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 31 December 2008. 
  19. ^ Sally M. Mackenzie, 2004, "The Use of Native Wetland Plants for the Phytoremediation of Landfill Leachate", unpublished PhD thesis, University of Brighton. p. 19
  20. ^ a b Glenn J Langler, 2004, "Aquatic Toxicity and Environmental Impact of Landfill Leachate". Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Brighton, p. 16.
  21. ^ Hansard, 19 June 2003, Column 584
  22. ^ Hansard, 21 May 1997, Column 96
  23. ^ Hansard, 19 November 1997, Column 202
  24. ^ Hansard, 2 November 1994, Column 1150
  25. ^ Hansard, 26 January 1995, Column 308
  26. ^ Sally M. Mackenzie, 2004, "The Use of Native Wetland Plants for the Phytoremediation of Landfill Leachate", unpublished PhD thesis, University of Brighton. p. 20
  27. ^ Knox, K. 1997. Development of a groundwater trigger level scheme for Beddingham Landfill Site. Report by Knox Associates, Nottingham, for Haul Waste Limited. December 1997.
  28. ^ Environment Agency. 1998. "Beddingham Landfill Site – assessment of the ecological quality of adjacent wetland habitats and recommendations for their future protection and monitoring". Sussex Area Biology Team. December 1998.
  29. ^ Sally M. Mackenzie, 2004, "The Use of Native Wetland Plants for the Phytoremediation of Landfill Leachate", unpublished PhD thesis, University of Brighton. pp. 20–21
  30. ^ Hansard, 4 July 2005, Column 1W
  31. ^ Viridor. "2009 Annual Report and Accounts". Retrieved 17 December 2009. [dead link]
  32. ^ [1]
  33. ^ "Landfill will close for 'restoration programme'". The Sussex Express. 15 May 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2009. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Beddingham at Wikimedia Commons