IMAGINE going to work in the middle of the countryside.

Parking is free, there’s no heavy traffic at rush hour time and the views looking out over the South Downs are simply stunning.

Imagine no more because a new rural business centre has opened in the village of Barcombe, near Lewes.

It’s the brainchild of Nigel and Maria Greenwood, founders of So Sussex which organises outdoor activities, events, challenges and festivals.

They have worked with local landowner Nick Lear with support from the Leader scheme and East Sussex County Council rural development funding to bring the idea to life.

Leader is designed to support rural businesses to create jobs and support the rural economy.

It is a French acronym which means “liaison among actors in rural economic development.”

It is an EU-funded rural grant programme designed to support local businesses.

Maria said: “We ran So Sussex from home for nine years developing events such as Elderflower Fields Festival, Into The Trees and our Schools Without Walls together with our friends and colleagues

“But as So Sussex grew we found that we were having meetings in our kitchen, and that couldn’t go on for ever.”

Fast forward to October 2017 and the Spithurst Hub business centre became a reality.

It is a co-working space with offices, private desks and hot desks.

Maria said: “We are already proving popular with people working in London who don’t want that long journey every day.

“We have some parents who work from home but they miss social interaction so they come to us.

“We already have an artist who hires space from us as does a metal fabrication company, a graphic designer and university professor and others.

“We can boast a beautiful location and we have big plans for the future too.

“We are aiming to develop exciting outdoor meeting spaces, a wild life friendly garden with a pond and even have plans for an outdoor kitchen.”

The business centre is already attracting clients from Brighton, Haywards Heath, Uckfield and other locations nearby.

Maria, 46, said: “We are an unusual business centre and we are proud of that.

“It’s a calm, comfortable place with a professional yet homely and welcoming atmosphere.

“We also offer conference facilities to stage training sessions, team building events or board meetings.”

Food is also an important part of the set up and light lunches are offered to users on certain days and we can provide fully catered events.

Maria said: “We aim to use locally sourced food as much as possible and enjoy incorporating foraged food.

“We also bake our own sourdough bread here and there is often homemade cakes available.

“It’s early days but the signs are very promising and we want people in here all the time.

“This project is turning into what we envisaged and that is very pleasing.

For more information go to or contact to arrange a visit.

The idea for So Sussex was born in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile more than ten years ago.

Maria said: “It was further developed high up on the Altiplano in Bolivia and in our campervan in New Zealand, in between snow-boarding and penguin spotting.

Maria and Nigel were inspired by interesting people they met when travelling who had set up small, independent ventures.