Perhaps of all the Brighton suburban areas Coldean is the most well defined and self contained. Unlike its neighbours Moulsecoomb or Hollingbury, it sits snugly in a steep sided valley (‘dean’ is AngloSaxon for valley) on the extreme north-east of the city. It is surrounded by the rural splendours of WildPark, the Ditchling Road ridge and the wooded expanse of Stanmer Park, and even on its southern border, where it abuts the busy Lewes Road, has a fine expanse of urban parkland.
In 1066 the manor of Falmer was held by the Priory of St. Pancras at Lewes, but in 1776 it was sold to Thomas Pelham, later the Earl of Chichester. It was part of the Stanmer estate of 4,958 acres acquired by Brighton Corporation in 1947. The inappropriately named ‘Falmer Diversion’ A27 road scheme was completed in 1981, splitting the village in two. (Tim Carder: Encyclopaedia of Brighton)
Stanmer lies on the northern fringe of the city and is a rare feature in the urban area: an isolated agricultural village, a mansion set in a landscape park, a church next to a duck pond, and a working farm in the village street complete with calves and plentiful supplies of cow muck!
The Stanmer estate has extensive woodlands and is surrounded by the South Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Only the University of Sussex on its eastern border reminds you it is not a Thomas Hardy film set! Beloved by locals as a green lung, it has been the scene of major rock concerts and is an increasing lure to bands of ‘travellers’ who find its unfenced acres an easy settlement area.