Pub transformed to achieve a new lease of life in sensitive Downland setting.

Jul 21, 2023

Location: Wilmington, East Sussex

Work carried-out: Located in the village of Wilmington which is associated with the famous Long Man feature in the nearby Downland, this pub which had originally been a hotel in 1908, but more recently known as ‘The Giant’s Rest’, had fallen into redundancy.   Having been bought by our client, the case was made to the South Downs National Park authority that it was an important community asset was purchased to thwart an attempt to convert it into apartments.   The Wilmington residents were canvassed about this and whole-hearted support gleaned.   Not a Listed building itself, it is located next to a Listed cottage whose proximity had to be respected.   The building needed to be extended and refurbished with eco improvements, so there was considerable involvement with the Planners and Local Authority Building Control.

Project description: The site of the building is within the SDNP and next to a 17th century Listed building – Rose Cottage.   It would be fair to say that it was not a straightforward application and at times it was difficult to believe that the SDNP officers needed convincing that it would be a community asset despite a large petition of support from the local community.   Nevertheless, with perseverance all the various boxes were ticked and the permission was finally granted.

The premises had been extended badly over the years and there was a need to rationalise the accommodation, so complete restoration followed – fully insulated throughout including a new slab replacing the draughty suspended timber floor, walls, ceilings, traditional double-glazed sash windows, new plumbing and electrics throughout, underfloor heating, new commercial kitchen and toilets including disability access, re-plastered throughout, new roof, draught-stripped doors etc…

At the rear the main East – West ridge and the First & Second Floors are shown extended rearwards by about 3.4m. Extra space was required to ensure each Bedroom would have its own En-Suite and a shared Bathroom. On the floor above the space was allocated for an Office as part of the resident Manager’s suite.

An outbuilding houses plant, some storage and bagged refuse.


Contractor: Colin Smith, Wilmington


This project was awarded a High Commendation in the Sussex Trust Heritage Awards 2023.

Judges’ comments

“An important renovation of a community asset carried out to a high standard.”


We’d love to hear from you about your next project;
Please fill in the form below to get started.