History - The Woodhorn Group
History as told by John Pitts
The Pitts family have farmed at Woodhorn Farm since 1882 when my great grandfather, Fred Pitts, moved here from Devon. I am therefore the 4th generation farming at Woodhorn. Farming remains at the heart of our Business but we have diversified and grown significantly over time.
The land that we farm was, once, under the sea and the mixed soils here ( gravels, brickearths and so on) are all ice age marine deposits that go back at least 500,000 years. Archaeologists have found flint tools made by the earliest humans including early Neolithic flints (4000–3400BC) which are now in store at Chichester Museum and the land has been farmed continuously ever since.
In the late 19th century a huge agricultural recession prevailed as a consequence of cheap food flooding the country from the Empire. In Sussex the big landowners such as the Church could not find tenants to farm their land. A group of West Country farmers saw an opportunity and got together, hired a train on which they loaded their cattle and sheep, horses, carts and ploughs and left Devon to ‘go east’. My Great Grandfather, Fred Pitts, was one of these pioneers and took the farm at Woodhorn on in 1882.