This East Sussex based village is located near Lewes on the edge of the South Downs. There's some excellent elevated walks along the Downs with a popular local nature reserve and viewpoint withing walking distance. The area is also known for its race course and Plumpton College, an institution which farms over 2500 acres of land and has become one of the leading centres for land-based education in the UK.
This circular walk from the village visits some of the highlights of the area including Plumpton Palace, Ditchling Beacon, the Clayton Windmills, Ditchling village, Stoneywish Country Park and the neighbouring village of East Chiltington.
The walk starts in the village though you could also start from Plumpton Station. The station is located just north of the route at Plumpton Green.
From the village it is a short stroll west to Plumpton Place where you'll find a Grade II* listed Elizabethan manor house. The route then heads south past Plumpton Bostall to join with The South Downs Way on Plumpton Plain. You can follow the waymarked trail west past Streat Hill to the Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve. The reserve includes lovely chalk grassland which is covered in wildflowers and butterflies in the summer months.
The route then continues west to visit the Clayton Windmills. Known locally as Jack and Jill, the site includes a Grade II listed post mill and a tower mill.
You then head east to Burnhouse Bostall where you can pick up a section of the Sussex Border Path. Follow the trail north and it will take you into Ditchling village. From here you head east through Stoneywish Country Park to Hayleigh Farm, Streat Place, Plumpton Racecourse and East Chiltington. From here you head south past Novington Manor to return to Plumpton.
Plumpton Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Plumpton Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Plumpton OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Plumpton Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Back in the village head to the Half Moon Inn for some post walk refreshments. The former 19th century coaching house serves high quality food including an excellent Sunday roast. There's ample parking and a lovely garden for summer days. You can find them on Ditchling Road with a postcode of BN7 3AF for your sat navs.
The country trails on the Downs are ideal for fit dogs. The Half Moon Inn mentioned above is also dog friendly.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
If you continue west along The South Downs Way you could visit one of the major highlights of the area at the Devils Dyke.
If you head south east towards Lewes you can pick up the Lewes to Alfriston Walk or the Lewes to Eastbourne Walk and head to the coast.
Just a couple of miles to the south of Lewes you'll find the interesting village of Iford. The historic settlement includes 18 listed buildings, a 12th century church and a sundial marking the Greenwich meridian which runs through the village. From here you can enjoy a walk up to the viewpoint at Iford Hill on a particularly lovely section of the South Downs. On the Iford walk there's also Rodmell where you can visit the National Trust's Monk's House. The 16th-century weatherboarded cottage was once the home of author Virginia Woolfe and her husband. Next to the village there's also the Castle Hill National Nature Reserve. The significant site includes chalk grassland with ancient settlements and lots of interesting flora and fauna to see.
The Falmer to Lewes Walk starts from nearby Falmer and will take you up to the lovely ridge top walk at Blackcap which lies just south of the village. There's some fascinating ancient sites, pretty wildflowers, a variety of butterflies and tremendous views over the Weald from here. Falmer itself is also very attractive with its 17th century church, large pond and green which is ideal for picnics.
For more walking ideas in the area see the South Downs Walks page.