Finding the fun (and the mud) – Exploring an abandoned location in West Sussex: COCKING LIME WORKS

Last Sunday, I was determined to venture out in the sunshine, find my fix of vitamin D and get familiar with my latest camera addition…

So, while I was enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee on a crisp autumn morning, I asked Google to make a decision for me… “Interesting places to photograph in Sussex” (original… I know).

Fortunately for me, there are a plethora of unique locations to shoot in and around Sussex. On this occasion, one stood out: Cocking Lime Works. It’s not somewhere I’ve explored before but I love the mystery that comes with abandoned and derelict locations. The idea that there was once a hive of activity somewhere, and now, those structures have been left to rot, while nature slowly takes over, weaving into the fabric of the buildings. Cocking Lime Works is situated between Goodwood and Midhurst, in the village of Cocking (...funnily enough)! The abandoned factory and chalk quarry sit just north of the South Downs Way.


From what I can gather, the earliest mentions of Lime workings and excavations date back to the start of the 18th century and only became defunct just before the turn of the millennium. Over the years, it was owned and controlled by various estates, companies and organisations, always for the purpose of extracting lime from chalk. Now, it sits overgrown, hidden from view, begging to be investigated by urban explorers.

So, after working out the best way to access it, I parked up on the downs and wondered down the gated track with my camera in hand. After a little trek, the path opened out to reveal the vast expanse of white chalk cliffs that were once dug out. I’d found the quarry… Good start!

This man-made landscape was peaceful, with nothing but a few inquisitive pheasants, lots of overgrowth and a couple of excavators left to rust in the elements. So, I took some time to shoot the machinery and steampunk-esque leftovers…

The very brief research I had done online beforehand, led me to believe that there was a factory nearby, which would make sense. All that rock had to go somewhere after it was dug out! I made the assumption that it must be downhill… Who wants to cart lorry loads of excavated cliff upwards?!


I looked for it….

I failed.

Then... yet again, I found a use for modern technology. This time using google maps to look at a satellite image and work out where it was hidden. After another short walk down a slippery track, I stumbled across some rusted buildings and a conveyor belt, presumably used to transport rock from the drop off point or breaker. I crawled through a few small gaps and trees to uncover a collection of factory buildings, outhouses, machinery, kilns and overgrown treasure!

I won’t bore you with all the details, but hopefully some of the images will speak for themselves… There really is something fascinating and haunting when you stumble across a hidden world that one day, people 'down-tooled' and just upped and left.

Ooooh... and to top it off, when a sign for The Unicorn Inn caught my eye, it felt rude not to stop in for a local pint! 

Cheerio, pip-pip and bye for now!

*Sourced from Google Maps

*Sourced from Google Maps