This map plots the settings and references in Cold Comfort Farm

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SUSSEX
Sussex Farm
Creative Commons AttributionSussex Farm - Credit: Margaret Anne Clarke

 

Sussex
Public DomainSussex - Credit: Hogweard, Wikimedia Commons

 Cold Comfort Farm is set primarily in Sussex.  An English county on the South Coast, Sussex borders Surrey, Kent and Hampshire.

 

One of the most important physical features of Sussex is the area of chalkland known as the South Downs, extending from Hampshire in the West to Beachy Head in East Sussex. The Starkadders' farm is located on the "Downs".

The area was also home to artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and in the 1920s and 1930s their charmingly eccentric house, Charleston, became the country retreat for the Bloomsbury Group, including writers E.M. Forster and Virginia Woolf.

 

View of the South Downs in Sussex
Creative Commons AttributionView of the South Downs in Sussex - Credit: Les Chatfield, Wikimedia Commons

 

North end of the Causeway, Horsham
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeNorth end of the Causeway, Horsham - Credit: Colin Smith, Wikimedia Commons

The towns and villages within easy reach of Cold Comfort Farm, namely Howling, Beershorn, and Godmere, are fictional.  But there are references to real places: Flora Poste worries that Elfine might go 'all arty-and-crafty' and 'keep a tea-room in Brighton' and Elfine herself declares that if she fails to marry Richard Hawk-Monitor, she could always 'get a job in an arts and crafts shop in Horsham'.

The Brighton Pavilion
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Brighton Pavilion - Credit: Paul Ashwin, Wikimedia Commons

Brighton is a large coastal town situated close to the border between East and West Sussex; Horsham is a small town about 18 miles to the north-west of Brighton. Assuming these towns are relatively close to Cold Comfort Farm, we have some idea of its imagined location.