A new exhibition exploring creativity on the downland opens at The Beachy Head Story this weekend, with activities for all the family taking place throughout the half term holidays.

The free Creativity on the Downs exhibition opens at The Beachy Head Story downland attraction and visitor centre on Saturday 10 February and runs until Sunday 14 April.

People have been making and creating things on the downland for thousands of years and now there is a chance for visitors to the exhibition to make their mark.

Visitors can uncover the stories woven, fired and carved into both objects and artwork and make their own creations within the new exhibition.  The display will be accompanied by a series of events exploring creativity on the downs including guided photography and archaeology walks for adults and families, along with children’s craft workshops and talks.

From pottery to fabrics, downland visitors can discover some of the objects used in creating clothes and shoes including a prehistoric spindle whorl, Saxon loom weights and a gilded wool comb. 

Visitors can also, for the first time, see fragments of decorated iron age pottery, a roman burial urn and a large medieval cooking pot used by past downland residents.

For those looking to capture their own work of art, a photography and archaeology walk takes place on Saturday 10 February at 3pm (age 14+), along with a family walk at 2pm on Wednesday 14 February.  Throughout both walks there will be an opportunity to uncover the stories of the landscape and explore key elements of photography, of perspective, composition and light with photographer Rachel Kiley.

The walks are open to all creative abilities, from seasoned photographers wanting to explore the downland in a new way, to complete beginners hoping to improve smartphone photography skills. All forms of camera are most welcome.

Living within the South Downs National Park, professional photographer Rachel Kiley loves immersing herself in the rich and wonderful landscape, which informs much of her own creative practice and work with others.

Councillor Margaret Bannister, Eastbourne Borough Council’s Lead Member for Tourism, Leisure, Accessibility & Community Safety, said, “There is so much history linked to the downland and this exhibition will explore that heritage and give people the chance to see how our ancestors lived in years gone by.

“The photography and archaeology walks will also give an interesting insight into the history of Eastbourne and people can hone their photography skills while taking in what is one of the most photographed areas of the country.”

The Creativity on the Downs exhibition is part of The Big Dig Project, run by Eastbourne Borough Council and part of the Changing Chalk Partnership.

The Big Dig aims to uncover the development of a downland settlement from a small farming community to a thriving conurbation through community test-pitting across the town of Eastbourne.

Led by the National Trust, Changing Chalk is a multi-partner project connecting people, nature and heritage in the eastern South Downs. It is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players. Together the project works towards creating a sustainable future – restoring lost habitats, bringing histories to life, and providing new experiences in the outdoors.

Entry to The Beachy Head Story is free and Photography & Archaeology Walks cost £5 per person for the adult walk and £2.50 per person for the family walk.  For more information or to book online visit HeritageEastbourne.com