Darvell Community • Robertsbridge, East Sussex

Contact Information

Brightling Road
East Sussex TN32 5DR
United Kingdom
Tel:  01580 883300
Email:  darvell@bruderhof.com

Established: 1971

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Emma: My visit to Darvell Bruderhof


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Due to the coronavirus pandemic most visits will be postponed, but please do not hesitate to contact us.

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About Us:
Darvell is the oldest and most populous Bruderhof settlement in Europe. We are similar to other large communities in that we are made up of a mix of families and singles, young and old. Bruderhof children attend our independent school, and adults work within the settlement. Our business, Community Playthings, manufactures classroom and play equipment, and many customers visit our Darvell showroom and workshop to see the products and plan their learning environments. We also make classic Adirondack chairs and tables for gardens.

Our community is located about one hundred kilometers southeast of London in East Sussex near the historic town of Hastings. The rolling hills that immediately surround Darvell include woodlands and hedge-lined fields, usually grazed by sheep and cows. On our property you’ll find brick apartment buildings and communal buildings including a dining hall, meeting room, kitchen, laundry, school, offices, and factory. From 1920 until we purchased the property in 1971, the site was used as a sanitarium for tuberculosis patients.

Connecting with Neighbours:
We welcome friends and neighbours to join us most Saturdays for communal dinners, and we often have seasonal events open to the public. We also occasionally offer our conference room facility, free of charge, to local social enterprises who need a place to meet. Some Darvell members volunteer at a local soup kitchen, and we work in conjunction with local churches and charities to do other social outreach projects.

Point of Interest:
Part of our property used to be a Mesolithic campsite. When we are playing or digging we occasionally find ancient relics: chipped flint pieces, tools from the Stone Age, fossils, and pottery fragments.

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Residents’ Voices:
Several current residents describe life at the Darvell Bruderhof:


Olivia: I’m almost forty years old (Can it be true? Most days I feel like I’m about twenty-three…or sometimes seventy), married to Ian Barth (of Bruderhof Blog fame), and we have four sons, ages two to twelve. Darvell has about three hundred souls living together and we are located in rural East Sussex, surrounded by sheep, cows, and hops! One of the greatest things about our intentional community is that it’s right in the village of Robertsbridge. We get to know loads of neighbors, participate in local fetes, and forge good relationships with the local schools. With four boys it’s perfect to live in the country with loads of opportunities for activities – they enjoy hiking, running, football, horse riding, growing vegetables, and also just playing with mud and pebbles – at least the youngest one.


Richard: I live at Darvell with my wife and our youngest daughter. We have fun exploring God’s wonderful and varied creation. We thoroughly enjoy learning the English wildlife, especially the birds. British bird watchers joke about England’s LBJs (Little Brown Jobs) but I think British birds are great! We love the network of public footpaths leading past centuries-old thatched cottages and villas, past ancient twisted oaks and lichen encrusted hornbeams. The footpaths also lead to frequent interesting encounters with other hikers and nature lovers, many from the village that adjoins our Christian community. And the daily flocks of gulls and other shorebirds are a constant reminder that we are not much more than a half hour drive from the coast.


Sarah: Nestled in the High Weald (officially recognized as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), Darvell is surrounded by rolling hills and the seashore is not far away. Directly between London and Hastings, we are easily accessible by road or rail and we appreciate the many people who stop by to visit us. One thing I particularly enjoy about this community is its cultural diversity, with at least eight different nationalities represented, including my husband who is from South Korea. We’ve found that our different cultures and backgrounds enrich both our marriage and our communal living. I work here as an accountant but since the recent birth of our son I’ve been pretty busy caring for him!