Welcome to West Dean Parish Council

The civil parish of West Dean includes the settlements of West Dean, Chilgrove and Binderton. It is situated in the Lavant Valley, approximately five miles north-east of Chichester in West Sussex, reached from the A286 and B2141. The area of the Parish is around 6,136 acres, with a population in 2011 of 481.

The Parish Council was established under the Local Government Act 1894. Although there have been many changes over the years, we are here, as the third tier of Local Government and closest to the community, to work on your behalf. We welcome your comments and suggestions, whether by talking to your nine local councillors or the Clerk, by email, telephone, or by speaking during the Public Session at our meetings. All meetings are open to the public, when time is set aside to listen to local residents.

West Dean Parish Council meets every other month, in January, March, May, July, September and November. All meetings take place on Wednesday evenings at West Dean College at 7.30pm, with the exception of the Annual Parish Meeting for Electors in March, which begins at 7pm. The Annual General Meeting, which marks the beginning of each new Council Year, is at the beginning of May. Elections are held every four years and advertised in advance.

The Parish Council owns the large West Dean Cemetery, immediately south of the A286. It can be reached through the Listed Grade II Lychgate in Cemetery Lane, or the large gate next to The Selsey Arms. The Cemetery is open for burials and interment of ashes.

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West Dean stands wholly in the South Downs National Park. The village is on the Monarch’s Way long-distance footpath, which runs 615 miles from Worcester to Shoreham-by-Sea, being roughly the path taken by King Charles II after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester. The route through the Parish passes from Stoughton Down, across the A286 and River Lavant, then climbs to the Trundle at the top of St Roche’s Hill to Goodwood Racecourse.

West Dean is also very close to the South Downs Way and stands at the end of the five mile long Centurion Way, which starts at the southern end of Westgate in Chichester (near Bishop Luffa School), with many interim access points and interesting sculptures along the way. The route connects with the South Coast Cycle Route at Fishbourne.

Kingley Vale stands at the edge of the Parish, renowned for its yew trees, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve, with Bronze Age and Roman earthworks and many other interesting features.

The Saxon Parish Church of St. Andrew stands adjacent to West Dean College, which like most of the cottages in the village, is built of flint with brick quoins.

West Dean CE Primary School is led by Mrs. Gill Moss, Headteacher. This very thriving local school has been awarded “Outstanding” by Ofsted and is at the heart of the community.

West Dean College and Conference Centre, housed in the Georgian Gothick West Dean House, was built in 1804. It is a leading independent Higher Education College providing a wide variety of arts and crafts study from post-graduate to part-time day courses. It belonged to the Peachey family until acquired by William James in 1891, when it was remodelled then donated in 1964 to the Edward James Foundation by his son, Edward James. Harold Peto designed the world-famous walled gardens. There is also a park and arboretum.