Cocking is a small village in the South Downs National Park, about three miles south of Midhurst in the county of West Sussex.
The centre of the village is roughly where the Blue Bell village pub/hub and the Post Office lie; on opposite sides of the main A286 highway.
The village nestles beneath Cocking Down over which the A286 runs south for 8 miles to Chichester, the local cathedral city and county town and north for 3 miles to Midhurst, heart of the South Downs National Park. The South Downs Way runs along the ridge of the Downs above Cocking on its route from Eastbourne in East Sussex to Winchester in Hampshire. Hikers and cyclists beating that long distance path can drop down Cocking Hill into the village to see the fascinating History Column and 11th Century Church. Whilst in Cocking they can refresh themselves at the Post Office or Moonlight Cottage Tea Rooms. They may also simply want to visit our village ‘just because it’s there’.
There is evidence, in the form of tumuli, of Bronze Age settlement in Cocking. Over the centuries, the Romans, Saxons, Normans and Cluniac monks were also here while the village is named after Cocca, a Saxon warlord who thought that this was a good place to put down roots. The Domesday Book has an entry for Cochinges and at the other end of the time line, you are now reading about Cocking on the World Wide Web. If you are interested in the history of the village, look no further than the excellent “A Short History of Cocking” published in 2005 by the Cocking History Group. Sadly, it is now out of print, but there may still be a copy to view in the village Post Office, itself situated in an old toll house. Today, Cocking finds itself right in the middle of the South Downs National Park. Much in Cocking seems timeless, but change is continual.
Present and future
Recent developments in Cocking include:
- Conversion of the Blue Bell village pub by the community and its re-opening as a ‘Community Hub’ serving many purposes, including country pub, café, restaurant and B&B accommodation
- The re-opening of the Post Office and Village Stores