Willow Cottage

Willow Cottage is located near the villages of Udimore and Winchelsea in East Sussex, both about a mile away. The main town of Rye is 3 miles away and Hastings is 13 miles away.


Willow Cottage was created in the summer of 2016 by Nina Mahaffey, to provide holiday accommodation to visitors to the area. It lies in the grounds of Carpenters Meadows which was built in 1967. From 1988-2002 Spike Milligan, the well-known comedy genius, author and poet lived at Carpenters Meadow.


The incredible views to the South span from Dungeness nuclear power station in the East (15 miles) over the English Channel, the citadel hill of Winchelsea village to the town of Hastings in the West. The sandy beach of Camber Sands lies near Rye (3 miles) while the pebble and sandy beach of Winchelsea is the closer. (1 mile) 

Walkers and birdwatchers can enjoy a footpath leading across the marshes to Camber Castle built by Henry VIII. Local attractions include miniature or full-size steam train rides, local vineyards, stately homes, castles, gardens and beaches, including the beautiful nearby Camber Sands.


Artists and photographers will especially enjoy the scenery; big skies, winding roads, and picturesque villages with ancient inns and tea shops. A truly relaxing and wonderful holiday destination.

The Legend

Willow Cottage and Carpenters Meadow lie on ‘Dumbwoman’s Lane’. According to the local legend, an unfortunate lady who lived there had her tongue cut out during the times when smuggling was rife in the area from the 15th to the 19th century. Whether it was as punishment for notifying  the local customs officers to the deeds of the notorious ‘Winchelsea smugglers’ or to prevent her alerting them after witnessing them, the truth is unclear. The signs ‘Dumbwoman’s Lane’, at the top and bottom of the lane are frequently used as photo spots and occasionally taken away completely by visitors apparently.


Hastings is a historic town and borough in the county of East Sussex, within the historic county of Sussex, on the south coast of England. The town is located 24 mi (39 km) east of the county town of Lewes and 53 mi (85 km) south east of London, and has an estimated population of 90,254,[2] which makes it the 66th largest settlement in the United Kingdom.[3] 


Historically, Hastings can claim fame from the Battle of Hastings, and later because it became one of the medieval Cinque Ports.


Hastings was, for centuries, an important fishing port; although nowadays less important, it still has the largest beach-based fishing fleet in Europe. The town became a popular spot for 'taking the waters' (therapeutic bathing in the sea) in the 1760s, and then, with the coming of the railway, a seaside resort. 



Winchelsea is a small town in the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex, within the historic County of Sussex, England, located between the High Weald and the Romney Marsh, approximately two miles (3 km) south west of Rye and seven miles (12 km) north east of Hastings. The town stands on the site of a medieval town, founded in 1288, to replace an earlier town of the same name, sometimes known as Old Winchelsea, which was lost to the sea. The town is part of the civil parish of Icklesham.

It is claimed by some residents that the town is in fact the smallest town in Britain, as there is a mayor and corporation in Winchelsea, but that claim is disputed by places such as Fordwich. The mayor of Winchelsea is chosen each year from amongst the members of the corporation, who are known as freemen, rather than being elected by public vote.

Winchelsea Church


The first recorded mention of the church of St Thomas in Old Winchelsea came in 1215.It was named in honour of the Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in his own Cathedral in 1170. The town was then a flourishing seaport on the shingle, but in 1250 it was battered by a phenomenally high tide which ‘flowed twice without ebbing with a horrible roaring and a glint as of fire on the waves.’ Thirty-seven years later further floods virtually destroyed the town and changed the course of the River Rother.

Spike Milligan’s famous grave ‘I told you I was ill’, albeit in Gaelic, lies at the North end of the Winchelsea cemetery which often draws a small crowd. 


Winchelsea town should not be confused with Winchelsea beach, the latter being the houses along the coast road. Winchelsea town likes to consider itself the upmarket end with many of its aged inhabitants coming from the professional classes. 


Camber 5 miles; Hastings 12 miles; Battle 16 miles.

Rye is a 13th century cinque port in East Sussex, host to the River Rother, Romney Marshes and a history dating back before the Norman Conquest.


A cobbled town offering an excellent array of unusual shops, antique emporiums, galleries selling local artist paintings and pottery, Rye also has a delightful range of tea rooms, restaurants, pubs and historic inns. There is also a weekly general market on Thursdays, as well as a farmers’ market every Wednesday morning.


The town played host to BBC film crews for nine weeks in the summer of 2014, while filming of the TV series Mapp and Lucia took place, which has now been made into a DVD. All coastal scenes were filmed in nearby Camber Sands and bits of filming also took place in Hastings and the Tenterden Town railway station.

Nearby Attractions