South Downs Walks
Use the links to view full route information including elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.
You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the South Downs Walk Map>>
|Amberley Circular Walk||6 miles (9.5 km)||The delightful village of Amberley is located at the foot of the South Downs, in the Horsham District of West Sussex. There's lots of lovely walking trails to follow through the surrounding countryside and along the River Arun.|
This circular walk makes use of the South Downs Way and Wey South Path long distance trails to take you along the river and through the surrounding South Downs countryside. It's about a 6 mile hike with some moderate hill climbs and great views to enjoy from the high points.
The walk starts from the train station which is on the Arun Valley Line, with regular services to Bognor Regis, Portsmouth and London. You could also start from the village centre if you prefer.
After leaving the train station you head south along the river toward North Stoke. Here you turn east and follow country lanes to Camp Hill and The Burgh.
The route then turns north to Downs Farm before heading into the village. It's very picturesque with several thatched houses and the 12th-century Amberley Castle. There's also the splendid Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre. Here you will find a 36-acre open-air museum, dedicated to the industrial heritage of South East England and with a special interest in aspects of the history of communications and transport. It's located next to the train station so you can pay a visit at the start or end of the walk.
To extend your walking in the area head north from the village and visit the lovely Amberley Wild Brooks Nature Reserve.
You could also head east along the South Downs Way and climb to Rackham Hill and Kithurst Hill. If you head west you can visit Eartham Woods and explore the expansive Slindon Estate. Here you'll find miles of footpaths and bridleways to follow through the 1400 hectare estate.
There's also the Amberley to Arundel Walk which takes you along a lovely waterside footpath next to the River Arun. View Full Details>>
|Amberley to Arundel||12 miles (20 km)||A popular riverside walk along the River Arun from Amberley to Arundel. The walk takes you along a delightful waterside footpath and includes a visit to the splendid Arundel Castle and Arundel Park on the return leg.|
The walk starts in Amberley where you follow a public footpath west towards Bury. Here you pick up the riverside trail and follow it south past Houghton, South Stoke and Offham before coming into Arundel. There's great views of the medieval castle as you pass through the town.
On the return leg you pick up a section of the Monarch's Way long distance trail to take you through the expansive Arundel Park. Here you'll find woodland trails, a lovely lake and the splendid Arundel Wetland Centre where you can look out for a wide variety of wildlife including water voles and rare geese.
The trail eventually leads you back to Houghton where you pick up the river again and follow it back to Amberley.
If you would like a shorter walk you can always just catch the train back from Arundel to Amberley rather than come back through the park.
To continue your walking in the area you could try our Amberley Circular Walk which takes you onto the beautiful South Downs to the south of the village.
You could also visit the Slindon Estate and Angmering Park Estate Woods where there are more fine trails to try. View Full Details>>
|Angmering Park Estate Woods||5 miles (8 km)||The expansive area of woodland surrounding the Angmering Park Estate has miles of public bridleways and footpaths for walkers and cyclists to try. As well as the sheltered paths through the pretty woods there are some nice open fields and good views across the surrounding countryside to enjoy. The area is particularly magical in the spring when there are carpets of bluebells to see.|
The woods are located just to the east of Arundel. You could reach the site by following the Monarch's Way along the river and then east to the woods. This route, however, starts from The Dover car park north of Angmering, near Hammerpot. From here you head north west along the trail to Wepham Wood. Here you pick up a section of the waymarked Monarch's Way long distance trail, heading east to Michelgrove Park. You then turn south through Patching Rough woods, before passing through Surgeon's Fields and the Hammerpot Copse to return to the car park.
To extend your walk you can head west along the Monarch's Way and visit Arundel Castle and Arundel Park. Here you'll find more nice woodland trails and footpaths around Swanbourne Lake and along the River Arun.
Also nearby is the wonderful Slindon Estate with miles of trails to try. View Full Details>>
|Arundel Castle and Arundel Park||9 miles (14 km)||This circular walk takes you through the parkland and countryside surrounding this restored medieval castle in West Sussex. The walk starts near the castle and picks up the Monarch's Way long distance walking trail to take you into Arundel park. You'll pass Swanbourne Lake and follow footpaths through woodland and grassland to the River Arun. The route then follows a lovely riverside footpath back towards the castle. You'll pass the splendid Arundel Wetland Centre where you can look out for a wide variety of wildlife including water voles and rare geese.
The castle itself is well worth visiting with lovely gardens and a fascinating history, though there is a fee for entry to the grounds.|
The Slindon Estate is located just a few miles to the west of the castle so you could continue your walking in the area by visiting this 1400 hectare estate.
If you follow the Monarch's Way east you will soon come to Angmering Park Estate Woods. There's miles of good cycling and walking trails to try here.
There's also the Amberley to Arundel Walk which takes you along a lovely waterside footpath next to the River Arun. View Full Details>>
|Beachy Head||4 miles (6 km)||This exhilarating walk takes you along the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, at Beachy Head on the South Downs. The cliffs rise to a height of 162 metres (531 ft) with fabulous views along the coast to West Sussex and Dungeness in Kent. |
You can start your walk from the good sized car park on Beachy Head Road. From here you can pick up the trails on to the The South Downs Way which will take you along the headland. You could also start the walk from the nearby town of Eastbourne and follow the Wealdway along the beach from the town centre. See our Eastbourne to Beachy Head Walk for details and a map.
As well as the magnificent views there's some lovely countryside to explore inland. Look out for lots of wildflowers in the summer and a variety of birdlife which includes Lapwing, Skylark and Perigrin Falcon.
After your walk you can enjoy refreshments at the Beachy Head cliff top pub which is next to the car park.
To extend your walk you can continue west along the coastal path to Birling Gap and the Belle Tout Lighthouse. Beyond there is the fantastic Seven Sisters Country Park at Cuckmere Haven. Here you will find more great cycling and walking trails along the coast and the River Cuckmere. View Full Details>>
|Bignor Hill||7 miles (11.2 km)||This walk or cycle climbs to Bignor Hill from the village of Amberley in West Sussex. It's a moderate climb of about 3.5 miles, following the South Downs Way for the duration of the route. It's a good path which is also suitable for cycling. If you prefer a shorter walk then you could park at the car park just half a mile west of the hill, and start your climb from there.|
This route starts off from Amberley train station, following a section of the River Arun out of the village. The waymarked path then heads west, past Coombe Wood before skirting the northern edge of Houghton Forest. You then climb past Bury Hill and Westburton Hill before arriving at the Bignor Hill summit. At over 700ft the hill commands wonderful views over the South Downs to the coast.
To extend the walk you could follow the Monarch's Way south west along the Stane Street Roman Road to visit Eartham Woods. To turn it into a circular route you could head south east into Houghton Forest and return on the woodland trails to the village.
You could also explore the countryside around the village on our Amberley Circular Walk. View Full Details>>
|Birling Gap||2 miles (3 km)||Visit Birling Gap and enjoy a splendid coastal walk to the Belle Tout lighthouse. The area is run by the National Trust so there are great facilities with a good sized car park, cafe, shop and visitor centre on the cliff top. This walk starts from the Birling Gap car park just a mile south of East Dean at the end of Birling Gap Road. From here you can pick up the trails along the The South Downs Way to the lighthouse. Belle Tout has been used many times in films and tv because of the spectacular location. It has been called 'Britain's most famous inhabited lighthouse'. There's fantastic views along to the nearby Beachy Head and 500 acres of open chalk grassland with a wide variety of butterflies and wildflowers to look out for. |
To extend your walk just head east along the The South Downs Way to Beachy Head. Here you can walk across the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain with fabulous views and Perigrin Falcons to look out for. Continuing east from the headland will take you into Eastbourne.
If you head west you will soon come to Seven Sisters Country Park where you can explore the beautiful Cuckmere Haven on foot or by bike.
The village of East Dean is also nearby so you could start the walk from here and follow bridleways south to the coast. Just beyond East Dean you will find Friston Forest which has miles of good mountain bike trails and footpaths. You can visit these locations on our splendid South Downs Circular Walk which starts at the Birling Gap car park and takes you on a tour of the surrounding area. View Full Details>>
|Black Down||4 miles (6 km)||Climb to the highest point in the South Downs on this challenging route in Sussex. The area is run by the National Trust and includes a series of well defined paths taking you to flower-rich meadows, ancient woodland and copses. There are fabulous views over the Weald from the Temple of the Winds, at the southern end of Black down. The English Channel can also be seen through the River Arun gap on a clear day. The circular route below starts at the car park near the Temple of the Winds and takes you north across Black Down to Boarden Door Bottom.|
Cyclists can also enjoy a number of easy bridleways or more challenging mountain bike trails which run across the area.
The Sussex Border Path walking trail runs through Black Down so you could pick up this trail and head west to the nearby Marley Common to continue your walk.
Black Down is located just a few miles south of Haslemere town centre. View Full Details>>
|Brighton to Lewes||7 miles (11.2 km)||A walk across the South Downs from Brighton to Lewes using a mixture of roads and footpaths. There's splendid views across the Downs and a visit to the Castle Hill Nature Reserve to enjoy.|
Starting from Brighton train station head north east towards the racecourse. After passing along the northern side of the course you come to the Drove Road, a track which you can follow up onto the South Downs. You'll pass Newmarket Hill and the Castle Hill National Nature Reserve where you will find chalk grassland, wildflowers and wonderful views to the coast. Look out for flora and fauna including carpets of yellow Birds-foot-trefoil, pink Thrift to bloom, various butterflies and the Lesser Whitethroat bird.
The route then heads past Kingston near Lewes village. The pretty village includes a pond, a number of picturesque cottages and a local pub The Juggs, which is housed in a 14th-century cottage.
Continue along Jugg's Road and you will soon come into Lewes, passing the 15th-century timber-framed Anne of Cleves House, before finishing near the castle. Lewes Castle stands at the highest point of the town and can be visited by purchasing tickets from Barbican House opposite the entrance gate.
In Lewes you can extend your walk by visiting the delightful Mount Caburn Nature Reserve.
The South Downs Way National Trail crosses the area, so you could pick up the trail to extend your walk. View Full Details>>
|Brighton Way||54 miles (87 km)||A super route though the South Downs from Horley to Brighton. The trail passes Crawley, Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill before finishing on the south coast. The walk has several train stations dotted along the route so you can easily do this one in manageable sections. Highlights include the Ardingly Nature Reserve and reservoir near Balcombe. The walk also climbs Ditchling Beacon where there are fabulous views of the South Downs. View Full Details>>|
|Butser Hill||1 miles (1 km)||Climb to the highest point on the South Downs on this walk near Petersfield.|
There's a good sized car park off Limekiln Lane just to the west of the hill. From here it is a short climb to the 271 metres (889 ft) high summit of the hill. At the top you can enjoy wonderful views over the South Downs to the Isle of Wight.
The area is also a nature reserve with woodland, lowland, chalk grassland habitats. Look out for variety of butterflies including Duke of Burgundy, Chalkhill Blue and Silver-Spotted Skipper.
Fans of the comedy Only Fools and Horses may remember a scene with Del Boy reluctantly taking off on a hang glider. This scene was filmed on the western slopes of Butser Hill. View Full Details>>
|Chanctonbury Ring||4 miles (6 km)||Climb to this early Iron Age hill fort on the South Downs and enjoy wonderful views over the surrounding countryside and coast. The hill is also an important area for flora and fauna, including the protected Great Crested Newt which can be found in the dew pond on the hill.|
Chanctonbury hill stands at a height of 238 metres (781 ft) a few miles north of the coastal town of Worthing. You can start this circular walk from the car park on Washington Bostal, just off the A24. From here you pick up the South Downs Way and follow it east to the hill. After exploring the fort and taking in the views you descend to Chalkpit Wood where you follow the Wiston Bostal track towards Chanctonbury Ring Rd. Here you turn west and follow a bridleway through woodland passing Owlscroft Barn and Combe Holt, before returning to the car park.
A shorter alternative route is to start from the car park on Chanctonbury Ring Road and climb to the hill fort from there.
If you would like to extend your walk then we recommend you head south from the hill to the nearby Cissbury Ring. The historic site can be reached by following a bridleway south from Chalkpit Wood for about 2 miles. It is the second largest hill fort in England, dating back to around 250 BC.
You can also continue along the South Downs Way in either direction. Head west and you will come to Kithurst Hill, Springhead Hill and the village of Amberley. Head east and you will come to Bramber Castle on the River Adur.
Also nearby is the mysterious Clapham Wood near the village of Clapham. View Full Details>>
|Cheesefoot Head||7 miles (12 km)||This circular walk visits a large natural amphitheatre near Winchester before exploring the surrounding area on a network of footpaths. It's an undulating route with some moderate climbs and lovely views over the South Downs, The New Forest, the Isle of Wight and Butser Hill.|
Start the walk from the Cheesefoot Head car park a few miles east of Winchester, near the small village of Chilcomb. From here you can pick up the King's Way and the South Downs Way to take you past the site and into the surrounding countryside.
Start by heading south along the King's Way through Longwood Warren before bending round to the east. You'll pass pockets of woodland before coming to Lane End and Beauworth. Here you turn north along Holden Lane, following the South Downs Way across Gander Down. You then turn south, passing the woodland in the Temple Valley before returning to the car park. View Full Details>>
|Cissbury Ring||2 miles (3 km)||Visit this historic hill fort in West Sussex and enjoy terrific views over the South Downs countryside on this circular walk. It's a very beautiful place with rolling hills, patches of woodland, wildlife-rich chalk grassland, wildflowers in the summer and a series of good footpaths and tracks to guide your around the area.|
At 60 acres the fill fort is the second largest in England, dating back to around 250 BC. It also contains a Neolithic mine, one of the first flint mines in Britain.
You can start the walk from the Storrington Rise car park which is less than a mile west of the hill. Then climb east towards the hill fort which stands at a height of around 600ft. The area is wonderful for flora and fauna in the summer months. Look out for bee orchids, field fleawort and round-headed rampion. Around the wildflowers you will see many different types of pretty butterfly. Keep your eyes peeled for chalkhill blues, dark-green fritillaries and marbled whites.
The area is located just north of Worthing so you could walk there from the town. You can follow a bridleway from the outskirts across Findon Valley to reach the site.
The Monarch's Way long distance footpath passes just to the north of the hill so you could pick this up to extend your walk. If you head east you could visit Bramber Castle and Upper Beeding on the River Adur. The The South Downs Way also passes close to the site.
There's lots of different bridleways you can pick up around the hill too. You can follow them across Canada Bottom and Tenants Hill for more great views over Worthing to the coast.
If you follow the paths north you will soon come to Chanctonbury Ring Hill Fort. The fort dates from the early Iron Age and at a height of 238 metres (781 ft) commands fine views of the area.
Also nearby is the mysterious Clapham Wood near the village of Clapham. View Full Details>>
|Clapham Wood||2 miles (3.5 km)||These mysterious woods are located in the Arun District of West Sussex, next to the village of Clapham. The woods are most well known for paranormal activity including several UFO sightings. They also have some nice public footpaths to follow through the woods. The woods are surrounded by some lovely Sussex countryside and have bluebells growing in the spring. There's parking available at the south western corner of the woods.|
To extend your walking in the area you could climb to the hill forts at nearby Cissbury Ring and Chanctonbury Ring. View Full Details>>
|Cuckmere River and Cuckmere Haven||10 miles (16 km)||This lovely waterside walk takes you along the Cuckmere River from Alfriston to the beautiful Cuckmere Haven on the south coast. The walk starts in Alfriston and follows the riverside path to Exceat, passing the famous chalk White Horse on the way. You continue to the coast and Cuckmere Haven where you will find a shingle beach and wonderful views of the Seven Sisters Cliffs. The route then passes along the beach and picks up the South Downs Way to take you into the popular Seven Sisters Country Park. In the park there are 700 acres of parkland with wonderful views over the South Downs.|
The walk continues to Exceat where you cross the bridge and follow the footpath along the western side of the river to Alfriston. It's a super walk and very flat and easy apart from a short climb on the coastal section. The area is also a nature reserve with species-rich chalk grassland and wildflowers. Look out for wildlife which includes a variety of butterflies and wildfowl.
If you enjoy this walk then you could try the Long Man of Wilmington walk which also starts in Alfriston and takes you up to the iconic chalk figure.
Our South Downs Circular Walk also passes through the area. It will take you on a tour of the surrounding area, visiting Friston Forest and Birling Gap. View Full Details>>
|Devils Dyke||2 miles (4 km)||This circular walk explores this beautiful valley near Brighton. The valley stretches for about a mile through the South Downs. It is the longest, deepest and widest 'dry valley' in the UK. The area is criss crossed with footpaths and bridleways making it an ideal location for walking and mountain biking. As well as stunning views across the south downs you will pass lovely meadows with a variety of flowers, an Iron Age Hill Fort and the remains of a Victorian funfair. In the summer months you can enjoy a sea of pink Orchids with a variety of butterflies including Adonis blue, chalkhill blue and silver spotted skipper. You can easily extend your walk by heading east onto Newtimber Hill where you will find one of the finest examples of chalk grassland in the country, ancient woodland and rare plants and flowers such as burnt orchid and juniper tree.
Also on the route is the Devils Dyke Pub where you can have some lunch while enjoying some wonderful views.|
This route starts at the parking area at the western end of Devils Dyke and makes use of the the South Downs Way and other footpaths to take you around the Dyke. The area is managed by the National Trust so there are good footpaths and an excellent cafe.
This route is designed for walkers but there are many bridleways running across the area so mountain bikers can enjoy the Dyke too.
If you'd like to extend your walk you could follow the South Downs Way east and visit Ditchling Beacon - the highest point in East Sussex.
If you head west along the South Downs way you can visit Edbarton Hill and Truleigh Hill with its distinctive radio masts. The hill was originally the site of a radar station during the Second World War. View Full Details>>
|Ditchling Beacon||5 miles (8 km)||Climb to the highest point in East Sussex and enjoy wonderful views of the Weald and the Downs on this circular walk. The lovely chalk grassland of the area is covered with a variety of flowers and plants during the summer months. Look out for marjoram, thyme and different types of orchid with butterflies such as the Chalkhill Blue flying around them. |
The walk begins in the village of Ditchling just to the north of Ditchling Beacon and follows the Sussex Border Path to Burnhouse Bostall. You then pick up the South Downs Way and head to the beacon passing the Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve on the way. You then descend to Ditchling following bridleways past Wick Farm and Stoneywish Country Park.
If you'd like to continue your walking in the area then you could head west along the The South Downs Way to the beautiful Devils Dyke.
The video below shows the area well from about 7:00 minutes on. View Full Details>>
|Downs Link||36 miles (58 km)||This is a terrific walking or cycling path running from St Martha's Hill to Shoreham-by-Sea and linking the North and South Downs National Trails.|
View Full Details>>
|Eartham Woods||3 miles (5 km)||This large area of beech woodland near Slindon has some nice footpaths to follow. The woods are a great place to see bluebells in the spring months. You may also see deer, woodland birds and various butterflies as you make your way through the forest. You can start your walk from the car park located at the south eastern end of the woods, just to the north of the village of Eartham.|
The woods are part of the wider National Trust owned Slindon Estate. The 1400 hectare estate has miles of excellent trails with wonderful views over the South Downs to enjoy.
The Monarch's Way also runs through the woods. You could pick up the long distance trail and head east to the nearby Houghton Forest. Goodwood Country Park is just to the west. View Full Details>>
|Firle Beacon||4 miles (6 km)||This circular walk takes you to the splendid Firle Beacon in the South Downs. The route makes use of the The South Downs Way and various bridleways and country lanes to take you to the beacon from the pretty village of Firle.|
The start point for the walk is the little village of Firle, located just a few miles from Lewes. You can enjoy a stroll through the village with its three pubs, old church, cricket green and little pond. You will also pass Firle Place and its surrounding grounds. The old manor house was first built in the late 15th century by Sir John Gage. The route follows a bridleway around the grounds of the house before ascending to Firle Beacon. From the 712 feet (217 m) summit there are wonderful views over the Weald towards the south coast. The Firle Escarpment is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The large area of chalkland is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Look out for the rare spider orchid Ophrys sphegodes and Exmoor Ponies as you make your way through this lovely area.
From the beacon summit you descend on the South Downs Way before picking up Firle Bostal country lane to take you back to the village. This lane is shown on the google street view link below.
It's easy to extend your walk by continuing west from the beacon along the South Downs Way to Beddingham Hill. Another option is to start the walk from the nearby village of Alfriston on the Cuckmere River. You can then follow the South Downs Way to the beacon via Bostal Hill.
You could also visit the lovely Mount Caburn Nature Reserve with its interesting plants, flowers and wildlife. View Full Details>>
|Friston Forest||5 miles (8 km)||Enjoy miles of cycling and walking trails in this large forest on the South Downs near Eastbourne. There are trails for mountain bikers ranging from gentle off road trails to an exhilarating single track ride. There are two fairly easy waymarked trails for walkers. Look out for wildlife including rare butterflies and deer. |
This circular route starts at the car park and takes you along some of the bridleways in the forest. It also visits the pretty village of West Dean.
It's easy to extend your outing by visiting the nearby Cuckmere River and Cuckmere Haven and Seven Sisters Country Park. You could also pick up the The South Downs Way which runs past the forest.
Our South Downs Circular Walk also passes through the forest. It will take you on a tour of the surrounding area, visiting Seven Sisters Country Park and Birling Gap. View Full Details>>
|Harting Down||3 miles (5.5 km)||This large area of chalk downland on the South Downs is managed by the National Trust. It's a wonderful place to go for a walk with splendid views over the downs and an abundance of flora and fauna. The area is covered with wild herbs, wild flowers and pyramidal orchids attracting butterflies such as the Duke of Burgundy fritillary and the Grizzled Skipper. |
This circular walk starts in the National Trust car park and follows the South Downs Way to Beacon Hill - the highest point on Harting Down. The route then heads to Little Round Down where you will follow woodland trails through a large area of Yew woodland. Look out for wren, thrush and finch in this area. The final section climbs Harting Hill through more woodland to return you to the car park.
It's a splendid area with fabulous views across the Weald, the North Downs and towards the coast and the Isle of Wight. Look out for Fallow deer, Turtle Dove and Skylark on the downs.
The whole of this route is designed for walkers but you can mountain bike across Harting Down on the South Downs Way from the car park to Beacon Hill. View Full Details>>
|Highdown Hill and Highdown Gardens||3 miles (5 km)||This walk visits Highdown Gardens before climbing Highdown Hill in the South Downs. The walk begins at the car park at Highdown Gardens. Both the gardens and parking are free, though you are free to make a donation if you wish. You can then follow a series of footpaths through the park with its beautiful collection of rare plants and trees. The chalk gardens are situated on Downland countryside with wonderful views towards the sea. Highlights include two pretty ponds with fish, toads and newts, a Himalayan Birch Bark Cherry Avenue, a Rose Garden and a Herb Garden. |
After touring the gardens you can then continue your walk to Highdown Hill. The hill stands at 81 metres (266 ft) and is a popular spot for walkers. From the summit there are wonderful views of the coast including the Seven Sisters and the Isle of Wight.
Highdown Hill and Highdown Gardens are located in between Littlehampton and Worthing. View Full Details>>
|Hinton Ampner||1 miles (1 km)||Explore the beautiful gardens surrounding this stately home near New Alresford in Hampshire. Here you will find cloud topiary, a walled garden, a sunken garden and fabulous views over the South Downs. You can also extend your walk into the wider estate. Head east towards Joan's acre wood where you will find ancient woodland and an abundance of wildlife. View Full Details>>|
|Houghton Forest||4 miles (6 km)||These woods near Arundel have good mountain bike trails and some nice footpaths to try. You can park at the Whiteways Countryside car park, just off the A29 at the south eastern end of the forest. From here you can pick up the trails heading north west through the woods. You could also follow either the Monarch's Way or South Downs Way from the village of Houghton. You can also extend your walking in the area by continuing along either of these long distance trails or the Midhurst Way which also passes through the forest. View Full Details>>|
|Itchen Way||31 miles (50 km)||Follow the River Itchen from its mouth at Woolston to its source near Hinton Ampner on this beautiful waterside walk. |
You start near Woolston station near Southampton Docks and head north through Southampton and a lovely riverside park near Swaythling. The path continues past Southampton Airport and through Eastleigh before arriving at Winchester with its impressive cathedral. Here you can take a small detour to climb the lovely St Catherine's Hill and enjoy fine views over the town below, the River Itchen and the surrounding countryside of the South Downs.
From Winchester you then turn east towards Itchen Abbas and New Arlesford with the final section passing through Cheriton and finishing at National Trust owned Hinton Ampner. View Full Details>>
|Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve||4 miles (7 km)||Enjoy a walk around this interesting and beautiful Nature Reserve in the South Downs, near Chichester. There are well defined paths with fabulous views over the South Downs towards the south coast. The reserve also contains one of the finest yew forests in Europe, including a grove of ancient trees which are among the oldest living things in Britain. View Full Details>>|
|Lavington Common||3 miles (5.5 km)||Enjoy a peaceful stroll across the Lavington and Duncton Commons on this easy walk near Midhurst in West Sussex. There's miles of good footpaths taking you across attractive heathland and woodland. It's a great place for wildlife with woodlark, nightjar, tree pipits, stonechat and reptiles including the rare sand lizard. The site also includes Merlin's Wood with its tunnel of rhododendrons. You can pick up the trails from the car park on Duncton Common Road. Heading west will take you across Lavington Common while heading east takes you across Duncton Common where there are more woodland trails and a pretty stream.|
The Serpent Trail long distance footpath runs across the common so it's easy to extend your walk. If you head west the trail will take you to Iping Common and Stedham Common where there are more nice heathland trails and a large pond. The The South Downs Way passes across Graffham Down just a mile to the south of the common. View Full Details>>
|Lewes||6 miles (9 km)||This circular walk around the county town of East Sussex includes riverside paths, lovely views of the South Downs and a visit to Lewes Castle. The attractive town is located a few miles north east of Brighton, in a pretty area of the South Downs. As such there's several good options for walkers with some good hill climbs and waterside walks along the River Ouse to enjoy.|
This walk starts at the 11th century castle and heads east along the High Street to the river. Here you pick up the Sussex Ouse Valley Way to take you north along the River Ouse to South Malling and Offham. This section runs past the Offham Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest where you can look out for birds such as mallards, mute swans, grey herons and moorhens. After passing through Offham you turn south to pick up a section of the Greenwich Meridian Trail which leads you through the countryside and back to the town.
To continue the walk you could follow the river in a southerly direction and visit the village of Rodmell. Here you can pick up the South Downs Way long distance trail.
One of the higlights of the area is the nearby Mount Caburn. Here you will find a lovely nature reserve and wonderful views from the 480-feet (146m) hill summit.
Another good option is to follow the Sussex Ouse Valley Way in a north easterly direction to Barcombe Mills. Here you can enjoy waterside trails, a small reservoir and a delightful riverside pub.
Another major highlight of the area is the climb to Firle Beacon. Near here you can also visit Charleston, the delightful home and country meeting place for the writers, painters and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury group.
Heading east from the town will take you past the Malling Down Nature Reserve to Glyndebourne. The English country house, is also the site of an opera house that, since 1934, has been the venue for the annual Glyndebourne Festival Opera. View Full Details>>
|Lewes to Alfriston||11 miles (18 km)||A lovely walk from Lewes to Alfriston, first following the River Ouse before picking up the South Downs Way. It's a varied walk running for about 11 miles with flat riverside paths preceding some moderate climbs into the surrounding hills. From the high points there are tremendous views towards the south coast.|
The walk starts on the river at Cliffe, just to the east of the train station and the castle. From here you can pick up the Sussex Ouse Valley Way and follow it south past the Lewes Railway Nature Reserve to Southease. Here you pick up the South Downs Way and follow it east to Beddingham Hill and Firle Beacon. The beacon is one of the highlights of the area with wonderful views over the Weald towards the south coast. The Firle Escarpment is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The large area of chalkland is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Look out for the rare spider orchid Ophrys sphegodes and Exmoor Ponies as you make your way through this lovely area.
After taking in the views the route descends to Bostal Hill before coming into Alfriston. View Full Details>>
|Lewes to Eastbourne||20 miles (32.2 km)||A long walk from Lewes to Eastbourne taking in some of the loveliest South Downs scenery. The route runs for about 20 miles, beginning with a riverside walk along the River Ouse to Southease where you pick up the South Downs Way. You can then follow the long distance trail all the way to Eastbourne, passing Firle Beacon, Alfriston, the Cuckmere River, the Long Man of Wilmington, Windover Hill and Jevington. There's much to enjoy with riverside trails, wonderful views to the coast from the high points and a nice coastal section into Eastbourne at the end.|
This section of the downs is great for flora and fauna with lots of pretty heather and wildflowers to see. You can also look out for wildlife including the delightful Exmoor Ponies.
While the start and end of the route are quite flat, there are some quite challenging hill climbs along the way. View Full Details>>
|Long Man of Wilmington||5 miles (8.5 km)||Climb to this iconic figure on Windover Hill on this splendid circular walk in the South Downs. The walk begins in the village of Alfriston on the Cuckmere River and follows the South Downs Way to the Long Man. It's a fairly easy climb on a good path with splendid views of the South Downs and the coast to enjoy. From the high point you descend to Litlington passing the delightful Lullington Heath Nature Reserve on the way. It's a lovely area made up of chalk heath with heather, bell heather and gorse bushes. At Litlington you pick up the Vanguard Way and enjoy a lovely waterside section along the Cuckmere River which takes you back to Alfriston. View Full Details>>|
|Meon Valley Trail||9 miles (15 km)||This peaceful cycling and walking trail runs along a disused railway track from West Meon to Wickham. There are splendid views of the beautiful Meon Valley and the River Meon to enjoy as well as a variety of wildlife including butterflies, redwing and egrets. View Full Details>>|
|Midhurst Way||19 miles (31 km)||Starting at the striking Arundel Castle, head north through some beautiful Sussex countryside to Midhurst.
The path passes Houghton Forest, Westburton Hill, Bignor, Chingford, Petworth and Lodsworth with fabulous views of the South Downs as you go.
There are several attractions on the route including the splendid Arundel Castle, near the start of the walk. The castle dates from the 11th century and boasts exquisite, stately rooms and magnificent grounds overlooking the River Arun.
The path also passes very near to Petworth House and Petworth Park which holds the 'National Trust's finest art collection displayed in a magnificent 17th century mansion within a beautiful 700-acre park'. The walk also offers fine views of the Rivers Rother and Arundel while also passing the ruins of the fascinating Cowdray House near Midhurst.
This route is quite accessible beginning at Arundel train station while finishing at the bus station at Midhurst. View Full Details>>
|Mount Caburn||4 miles (7 km)||This walk visits the delightful Mount Caburn Nature Reserve in the South Downs. You can reach the reserve by following a footpath from the centre of Lewes. It's just over 2 miles to the reserve from the town with the route crossing the River Ouse before passing Malling Down Nature Reserve, Ranscombe Camp hill, Oxteddle Bottom and Caburn Bottom. |
The reserve consists of managed chalk downland and a Bronze Age hill fort. There is also a wide variety of flora and fauna to look out for. This includes the largest British population of burnt-tip orchid and pyramidal orchids. There are also many different types of wildflowers such as Sweet briar, Marjoram and the bright yellow horseshoe vetch. These attract various butterflies including Adonis, chalkhill blue butterfly and silver-spotted skippers. It's also great for bird watching with Skylarks, meadow pipits, yellowhammers, corn bunting, kestrels, peregrine falcon and buzzards to look out for.
The summit of Mount Caburn stands at 480-feet (146m) and consists of an Iron Age Hill Fort. There are wonderful views of Lewes, Glynde, Firle and the South Downs to enjoy.
After climbing the hill you could visit the delightful Little Cottage Tea Rooms and enjoy a cream tea. The tea rooms are located just to the south of the reserve on Ranscombe Lane.
A shorter, alternative route to the reserve is to start from Glynde Bridge. There is a train station and parking area about a mile from the hill.
If you would like to extend your walking in the area then you could head to the nearby Firle Beacon. It is located just a few miles to the south east and offers great views over the Weald towards the south coast.
A few miles to the north you can visit the delightful Barcombe Mills where there are lovely waterside walks along the River Ouse and Barcombe Reservoir. View Full Details>>
|New Lipchis Way||37 miles (60 km)||This is an exceptionally lovely walking trail that runs from Liphook, in Hampshire, to East Head at the entrance to Chichester Harbour. The path takes you through some of the loveliest parts of West Sussex including greensand ridges,
Wealden river valleys, heathlands, high chalk downland and then finally the coastal plain at Chichester.|
The first section of the walk runs from Liphook to Midhurst, passing through Woolbeding Common before a waterside section along the River Rother takes you to Midhurst.
From Midhurst you continue south through countryside and woodland to Singleton where you will find the fascinating Weald & Downland Open Air Museum. The museum covers 50 acres, with around 50 historic buildings dating from the thirteenth to nineteenth centuries, along with gardens, farm animals, walks and a lake.
The next section then takes you to Chichester, and includes a climb to the top of St Roche's hill where you can enjoy splendid views of the South Downs. Soon after you join a short easy section along a dismantled railway line through Lavant and onto the beautiful cathedral city of Chichester.
The final section then takes you along the Chichester Ship Canal and the Chichester Channel to West Wittering with splendid views of Chichester Harbour as you go. View Full Details>>
|Old Winchester Hill||9 miles (14 km)||This walk takes you up the 197 metres (646 ft) Old Winchester Hill in the South Downs. The hill and surrounding area is a National Nature Reserve with a wide variety of butterflies and wildlife to look out for. These include buzzards, kites, roe deer and foxes. The area is made largely of chalk grassland with extensive scrub and many orchid species. There is also an Iron Age hill fort and earlier Bronze Age barrows and burial mounds.|
This circular walk starts at the village of Meonstoke and makes use of the South Downs Way to take you to Old Winchester Hill before returning via Warnford and Beacon Hill. There are super panoramic views of the South Downs and the Meon Valley from the high points. On a clear day you may even be able to see the Isle of Wight.
If you'd like to continue your walk then you could pick up the South Downs Way or the Monarch's Way which run past the hill. View Full Details>>
|Parham House||2 miles (4 km)||Explore the parkland and gardens surrounding this Elizabethan House near Storrington and Amberley. The gardens include a four-acre Walled Garden, herbaceous borders, a glasshouse, vegetable garden, orchard and a 1920s Wendy House. You can also enjoy a stroll in the extensive pleasure grounds which include a lake, a 19th century summer house, a maze, specimen trees and wild orchids.|
Head into the 875 acre estate on the public footpath and you will find peaceful woodland and a deer park with a herd of 350 fallow deer. There is also an 18th century dovecote and ice house.
Inside the house there is a Great Hall and Long Gallery with fine furniture and paintings. View Full Details>>
|Queen Elizabeth Country Park||5 miles (8.5 km)||Explore 2000 acres of open access woodland and downland in the South Downs on this circular walk or cycle in Hampshire. Highlights in the park include Butser Hill - the highest point on the South Downs with views to the Isle of Wight. There is also a Visitors Centre where you can sign up for a guided walk.|
The park is very popular with mountain bikers with several off road trails running through the park. See the video below for example of what you can expect. View Full Details>>
|River Adur and Bramber Castle||4 miles (6 km)||Follow a waterside path along the River Adur to Bramber Castle on this walk in West Sussex. View Full Details>>|
|Seven Sisters Country Park||3 miles (5.5 km)||Explore nearly 700 acres of parkland and coast on this delightful circular walk through the South Downs. The Country Park is named after the famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs on the Sussex Heritage Coast. On the route you will enjoy fabulous views of the Cuckmere river before heading towards the beautiful coastline.|
There are a number of footpaths and trails in the Park - further information and trail maps can be found in the Visitor Centre. Cycling is permitted on the valley floor and there is a concrete track which offers access to the beach.
If you would like to do the Seven Sisters walk from London then you can catch a train to nearby Seaford from London Victoria station. You can then follow the coast path past Cuckmere Haven to the park. Alternatively you can catch the train to Eastbourne and visit the cliffs by walking along the South Downs Way via Beachy Head. View Full Details>>
|Slindon Estate||7 miles (10.5 km)||The Slindon Estate is a fantastic place for walkers and cyclists with miles of footpaths and bridleways to follow through the 1400 hectare estate. It is made up of a variety of habitats including woodland, downland, farmland, and parkland. All the while there are wonderful views over the Weald, the South Downs and the coast with the Isle of Wight beyond.|
This circular walk starts at the village of Slindon on Butt Lane and climbs towards Bignor Hill and Gumber Corner. Here you pick up the Stane Street Roman Road and the Monarch's Way which leads you into a long woodland section through Nore Wood. It's a lovely section with bluebells, wild flowers and other woodland plants to enjoy. The final section takes you back to Slindon passing the eye-catching Nore Hill Folly.
If you would like to continue your walking in the area then you could head a few miles to the east and enjoy a walk around Arundel Castle and Arundel Park with a riverside stretch along the River Arun.
This route skirts the edge of Eartham Woods which has bluebells and deer to look out for. Houghton Forest is also close by and has more mountain bike trails to try.
The Slindon Estate is located close to Chichester, Arundel and Bognor Regis. View Full Details>>
|South Downs Circular Walk||8 miles (12.5 km)||This terrific 8 mile circular walk visits some of the major highlights of the East Sussex area of the South Downs National Park. You'll take in Birling Gap, Seven Sisters Country Park, Friston Forest and the Cuckmere River and Cuckmere Haven. There's wonderful coastal views, riverside paths, woodland trails and some moderate climbs to enjoy on this varied route which is one of the best circular walks on the South Downs.|
The walk starts from the Birling Gap car park. This National Trust owned area has great facilities and includes the splendid Belle Tout lighthouse. From the car park you head west along the The South Downs Way National Trail. This section of the trail runs along the coast to Cuckmere Haven. This area has a nice shingle beach with wonderful views of the Seven Sisters Cliffs. There's also riverside trails along the Cuckmere River and a wide variety of flora and fauna to look out for.
The route then heads north through the Seven Sisters Country Park. Here you'll find 700 acres of parkland with lots of great cycling and walking trails.
The walk then turns east through Friston Forest, where there are miles of shady woodland trails. You can look out for rare butterflies and deer as you make your way through the forest.
After leaving the forest you turn south, passing through countryside around East Dean, before returning to the car park on the coast.
To extend your exercise you could head east along the South Downs Way and visit Beachy Head, the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain. View Full Details>>
|St Catherine's Hill Winchester||1 miles (1.5 km)||Climb this small hill in Winchester for fine views over the town, the River Itchen and the surrounding countryside of the South Downs. It's a very pretty area with the chalk downland covered in wild flowers including bird's-foot trefoil, salad burnet, dropwort and several types of orchid. This attracts 25 different types of butterfly such as marbled white, chalkhill blue and brown argus. There are also the ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort, a 17th/18th century mizmaze and a copse of beech trees containing the site of a 12th century chapel. |
There is a car park just north of the hill where you can pick up the footpaths to the hill. You could also walk from the centre of town which is only about a mile away. If you're coming by bike then National Cycle Network route 23 runs right past the hill along the river.
To turn this into a longer circular walk descend the hill and head south along the River Itchen to St Cross Bridge. Cross the bridge and then return on the other side of the river to Winchester College and the town.
If you'd like to extend your walk then you could pick up the Itchen Way and enjoy a stroll along the River Itchen. If you were to head north along the trail you would soon come to the lovely Winnal Moors Nature Reserve. Here you will find nice footpaths taking you to chalk stream, tall fen, hay meadow and wet pasture, with a wide variety of wildlife to look out for. View Full Details>>
|Truleigh Hill||3 miles (5 km)||This hill in West Sussex has a set of distinctive radio masts on the summit. You can park at a small parking area to the west of the hill and follow the South Downs Way past Beeding Hill to the top of Truleigh Hill. There's great views of the surrounding hills and countryside from the high points. You can turn it into a circular walk by following tracks across Bushy Bottom and then the Monarch's Way back to the car park.|
You could also start the walk from nearby Upper Beeding or Bramley Castle if you prefer.
To extend your walk you can continue east along the South Downs Way to Edbarton Hill and then on to Devils Dyke. The beautiful V-Shaped Valley is a great place for walking and mountain biking.
You can use the google street view link below to follow this part of the trail. View Full Details>>
|West Dean Estate||4 miles (6 km)||This walk takes you around the beautiful gardens, woodland and arboretums in the West Dean Estate near Chichester. The gardens are particularly lovely with a Walled Kitchen Garden, a spectacular 300 foot-long Edwardian Pergola, a Spring Garden and a beautiful parkland walk with views over the South Downs. There are also views of the River Lavant and the wonderful West Dean College building. View Full Details>>|
|West Sussex Literary Trail||55 miles (89 km)||This walk runs from Horsham to Chichester with many literary connections along the way. The walk begins at Horsham, near Percy Bysshe Shelley's millennium fountain, and heads through the South Downs to Chichester with its connections to William Blake and John Keats.|
You will pass through a series of interesting and picturesque towns and villages including Sinfield, Storrington, Amberley and Duncton before finishing near the iconic cathedral in Chichester.
There are many fascinating landmarks and points of interest on the way but of particular note are some of the musuems on the route. First on the path is the Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre. Set in a 36 acre site it details the industrial heritage of the South East with a a narrow-gauge railway and nostalgic bus service to experience.
Also on the route is the delightful Parham House. Located near Storrington, this Elizabethan House boasts a Great Hall and Long Gallery, while the Gardens consist of seven acres of Pleasure Grounds.
Finally, there is the fascinating Weald and Downland Open Air Museum near Chichester. The museum boasts '45 historic houses and agricultural buildings dating from the 13th century to victorian times rebuilt in a magnificent parkland setting'.
Other walk highlights include waterside stretches along the River Arun and around Burton Mill Pond and several wooded sections at various points along the walk.
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|Winchester River Walk||4 miles (5.8 km)||A lovely circular walk along the River Itchen and Itchen Navigation in Winchester. The route uses a section of the Itchen Way to take you along the Itchen Navigation before crossing St Cross Bridge and picking up the Clarendon Way to take you back into the city along the River Itchen.|
The walk starts at the cathedral in the city centre and heads east to pick up the riverside path. You then head south past Wharf Bridge and Tun Bridge before coming to St Catherine's Hill. You can take a short detour from the route by climbing the hill for great views over the South Downs, the city and the river below.
Just after passing the hill you come to St Cross Bridge where you cross the water. Here there's views of the disused Hockley Railway Viaduct which was built in the late 1880s. The newly restored viaduct was officially opened on 26 February 2013 by the World Champion cyclist Dani King.
After crossing the bridge you head along the river towards the noteworthy Hospital of St Cross. The medieval almshouse was founded between 1132 and 1136. It's a Grade I listed building and the oldest surviving charitable institution in the United Kingdom. Most of the historic buildings and surrounding grounds are open to the public at certain times. These include an inner quadrangle with a wonderful Norman church, a classic medieval hall and kitchen, a Tudor cloister and an ancient hall which serves as a tea room. This is a lovely spot for refreshments before completing the final section of the walk which takes you back into the centre of Winchester. You'll pass Winchester College and Water Meadows before returning to the cathedral. View Full Details>>
|Woolmer Forest||3 miles (5.5 km)||This large area of heathland and woodland has public footpaths to follow from the hamlet of Conford in the north eastern part of the site. It is a significant area with a diversity of habitats supporting twelve known native species of reptiles and amphibians. Scenery includes oak-birch woodland, conifer plantations, open sandy heaths, and rough grazed pastures. There's lots of interesting plants and flowers to look out for. Also keep your eyes peeled for birds such as Dartford warbler and European nightjar.|
N.B The Forest is a Range Danger Area and it is illegal and dangerous to enter when the red flags are flying. Access is NOT permitted most weekdays between 8am and 4pm and some weekends.
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