Binsted Arts Festival explores a Sussex mystery

Matti and Jack Lambert have drawn pictures of the knucker dragon
Matti and Jack Lambert have drawn pictures of the knucker dragon

An ancient Sussex puzzle which has mystified people for generations is to take centre stage at this year’s Binsted Arts Festival.

The mystery of the strange knucker-holes has been the subject of folklore for hundreds of years.

Binsteds knucker-hole is at the south end of the parish

Binsteds knucker-hole is at the south end of the parish

Legend has it that the holes, which are small, apparently bottomless pools, are home to Sussex’s mythical knucker dragons.

The deep holes, found in Binsted, Sompting, Lyminster, Lancing and Shoreham, strangely never dry out whatever the weather and are permanently brimming with cold, fresh water.

Event organiser Camilla Lambert said: “There is a great deal of mystery surrounding the knucker-hole.

“My grandchildren, Matti and Jack Lambert, have drawn pictures for the festival but the nettles are now too high for a visit to the pool, so it keeps its mystery.”

Binsted’s knucker-hole, which is at the south end of the parish, will feature in a storytelling session by Sussex writer and storyteller Michael O’Leary at the arts festival on Saturday.

Emma Tristram, another organiser, said: “The festival was such a success last year that it has expanded this year, adding an extra day of events.

“The storytelling session is a new addition. Michael O’Leary believes storytelling is for everyone and he will use interaction with his audience in crafting his Legend of Binsted.”

The four day arts festival, from Thursday, June 8, until Sunday, June 11, will also include talks, art workshops, poetry, a concert and an archaeological walk around the area.

Folk musicians Cotillion will present their show The Village, a mixture of readings and music, on Saturday at 3pm. Their concert last year was one of the highlights of the arts weekend.

Poet Clare Best, judge of the festival’s harvest-themed poetry competition, will host a poetry evening on Saturday at 7.30pm, which will include readings by James Simpson, Sussex writer and poet of the natural world.

Most events are in 12th century Binsted Church. Visit www.binsted.org/arts-festival for ticket details.