Find a Walk
A reservoir, then the South Downs Way past pretty villages (Jevington and Wilmington) and a ridge walk.
East Sussex TOCW Book 2, Walk 27 • Toughness: 7/10 • Length: 12 miles (21 km)
This South Downs walk heads from inland Sussex to the coast, taking in a variety of scenery along the way. From Berwick the walk cuts across to the peaceful birdwatchers’ paradise of Arlington Reservoir before crossing farmland towards Wilmington, then ascends to the huge chalk figure of the Long Man. From here the route continues to the historic smuggling village of Jevington, then ascends the South Downs to follow ridges of chalk grassland with views in all directions, before descending to the seaside resort of Eastbourne and the possibility of extending the walk to the dramatic heights of Beachy Head.
Note that this walk involves one busy road crossing (A27) at Wilmington.
The South Downs : Windover and 'High and Over' Hills, and picturesque Alfriston. Can be extended with a chalk cliff coastal walk to Seaford.
East Sussex SWC Walk 90 • Toughness: 7/10 • Length: 8 miles (14 km)
This walk looks at territory familiar from other Saturday Walkers Club walks from unfamiliar angles, using entirely new paths to link Berwick, Wilmington, Alfriston and Exceat (pronounced Ex-seet, though Ex-ee-at is a widespread mispronunciation).
The highlights are climbs up two of the most beautiful hills in the South Downs, both of them affording panoramic views. The first of these is Windover Hill behind Wilmington, on which is found the chalk figure of the Long Man of Wilmington – seen at close quarters on this walk. The second is High and Over, a dramatic vantage point above the Cuckmere River, with views down towards Cuckmere Haven and the sea.
Before and between these two hills are two fairly flat sections – one approaching the South Downs ridge from the north, and the other along the pretty valley of the Cuckmere River south of Alfriston. Both Wilmington and Alfriston have wonderful pubs for lunch, though in the latter village you may prefer to sample one of its two tea rooms. An alternative start from Berwick also takes in a popular pub in the village of Alciston and another near Berwick church, which was decorated by members of the Bloomsbury Group.
The walk ends at the Cuckmere Inn by Exceat Bridge, from where there are very regular buses back to Seaford - or you can walk to Seaford via Cuckmere Haven and the over the cliffs of Seaford Head, a beautiful 6km (3.7 miles) extension, with stunning backward views of the chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters. Alternatively if you are feeling energetic you can walk over the Seven Sisters to Birling Gap and East Dean.
Note that this walk is perfectly practical in winter – the lowland areas can be muddy, but no more so than anywhere else. However, it is worth noting that from October to March the sun shines into your eyes more or less constantly from Berwick to Exceat – perhaps not a great hardship if the weather has otherwise been grey and bleak.
A long almost circular walk via the Sussex Border Path, Sussex Villages, and the South Downs Way ridge from Ditchling Beacon to Wolstonbury Hill
East Sussex SWC Walk 108 • Toughness: 8/10 • Length: 16 miles (27 km)
This walk takes in Sussex landmarks including three windmills, two golf courses, ponds, a water tower, picturesque villages and The Sussex Downs with panoramic views of surrounding countryside and the South coast. Initially following the railway track south towards Hassocks, the walk goes east through a local rural park area and climbs up to a distinctive water tower visible for miles around. Continuing on with constant views of the Downs to the south, passing stables, farms etc, it joins the Sussex Border Path, which divides east and west Sussex, and travels south towards Ditchling (the recommended lunch stop for the short walk, and a possible early lunch stop for the main walk). Later, the path steeply ascends near Ditchling Beacon. After a descent for lunch at the Plough at Pyecombe, there is a gentler climb up Wolstonbury Hill. There follows a descent to Hurstpierpoint (and its College); the route almost coming full circle -just skirting Burgess Hill on the way to Hassocks.
Coastal walk via Eastbourne's promenade, Beachy Head and the 7 Sisters, then inland over the downs to East Dean. Return by bus.
East Sussex SWC Walk 60 • Toughness: 5/10 • Length: 7 miles (12 km)
The bulk of this walk reverses the end of the Seaford to Eastbourne walk from Time Out Country Walk Book 2. This brings you along Eastbourne’s pleasant seafront, and up onto Beachy Head for lunch, and then down to Birling Gap for tea. After Birling Gap there is a gentle climb inland, with fine sea and downland views, to the village of East Dean, where there are further refreshment options, and frequent buses back to Eastbourne.
The walk is not quite a reverse of the book route, however, as if you follow its suggestions, it takes a slightly different route along the seafront promenade out of Eastbourne, and uses the lower clifftop route to Beachy Head, which may be unfamiliar to walkers. This route stays close to the sea along the foot of the downs (with wonderful wild flowers in late June and July), and then at the last minute makes a very steep beeline up the hill (with exhilarating backward views) to arrive directly at the Beachy Head pub.
The best walk in the book! A South Downs ridge, picture postcard Alfriston, Cuckmere Haven (beach), and cliffs with views of the Seven Sisters. Long but worth it.
East Sussex TOCW Book 1, Walk 31 • Toughness: 8/10 • Length: 14 miles (23 km)
Everyone's favourite walk in the book. It starts with a South Downs Ridge walk. Lunch is in the picturesque village of Alfriston. After lunch there is Cuckmere Haven (a pretty river valley), and a coastal cliff walk into Seaford. You can swim at Cuckmere Haven or Seaford.
Near the start, the route goes through Firle Park and then follows the South Downs Way for much of the day, with not as much climbing as Walk 25's arduous route into Hastings, and with marvellous views across the lush valleys to the north and down to the sea. There are three lovely villages to enjoy during the course of the day, all with open churches: West Firle, West Dean, and (the suggested lunchstop) the old smuggling village of Alfriston, which likes to call its church a cathedral.
There is slightly further to walk after lunch than before it. From Alfriston the route follows the riverbank through the Cuckmere Valley and through Friston Forest down to Exceat, an extinct village on the edge of the Seven Sisters Country Park, where there is a Visitors’ Centre. The Vanguard Way then leads through the Seaford Head Nature Reserve – hoopoe, bluethroat and wryneck have been seen here – to the beach at Cuckmere Haven. This is in season a good enough place to take a dip or just to enjoy a front-stalls view of the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters.
Finally there is a walk along the coastal path and down into Seaford, a seaside town with a long esplanade and reconstructed shingle beach.
Over the South Downs to Brighton, the liveliest city on the South Coast
East Sussex SWC Walk 50 • Toughness: 7/10 • Length: 12 miles (20 km)
Different from walking the South Downs ridge, this route traverses north to south exploring hidden valleys, woods, open access and park land. The goal is the lively town of Brighton and the sea but first you will pass through the pretty village of Ditchling, walk over Ditchling Beacon, through Stanmer Park and the University of Sussex to Falmer, the only pub stop on the walk. There is a natural breaking off point at Falmer but those who persevere walking towards Brighton will be rewarded with a lovely view of the sea from kemp town Racecourse and an easy path into Brighton. The boardwalk, pier, seafront bars, Mediterranean cuisine, fish and chips or oysters and champagne and the Lanes await you.
For the walk, you need OS Explorer Map 122 and preferably a compass. It is advisable to take plenty of water and some food as the only available refreshments, apart from the Deli at Ditchling Village some 2.5 kms into the walk, is a small café at Stanmer and the Swan Inn at Falmer is some 12 kms and 3.5 to 4 hours into the walk. The Swan stops taking orders for food at 2pm. (Possibly 2:30 if you ring the landlord Tel: 01273 681842).
An energetic walk over the South Downs with great views, 3 hills, 3 pubs, and a ridge.
East Sussex SWC Walk 47 • Toughness: 7/10 • Length: 14 miles (24 km)
This is an energetic walk (550 metres or 1,600 feet of ascent) over three distinct downland ridges, with magnificent views throughout. One of the pleasures of the walk is that the entire route is in view for much of the walk, so you can look back at the terrain you have already done or ahead to the delights to come. Navigation is easy, the walking is over wide and distinct paths, and while there are three substantial climbs, most of the walk is flat, gently undulating or downhill.
As well as plenty of grand downland walking, the route includes a start and finish in historic Lewes, quaint corners of which you see both at the start and end of the walk, an optional detour to Mount Caburn (Iron Age fort) with its dramatic viewpoint of the whole circuit, and the pleasant small village of Glynde. You also pass the remote station of Southease, with its YHA cafe nearby.
The walk passes 3 good pubs, and 3 train stations on the way (between the 3 hills, so if you want to drop out, its quite easy). You can do the walk either clockwise or anticlockwise, and directions are given for both in the attached pdf
South Downs Way along a chalk ridge in the morning, remote Rodmell for lunch, then back up and over the downs to the coast. Undercliff path, or bus to Brighton
East Sussex TOCW Book 2, Walk 24 • Toughness: 4/10 • Length: 9 miles (16 km)
This fine South Downs walk follows ridges of chalk grassland offering panoramic views in all directions. It begins in the historic town of Lewes, then the route quickly rises to follow a ridge along the top of the Downs before descending for lunch to the picturesque and historic village of Rodmell with its literary associations. In the afternoon it gently climbs back over the Downs to the sea to emerge at the town of Saltdean, with the option to continue for a further 8.5 km to Brighton.
Walk options: The directions for the following variations appear at the end of the main walk text. (see p260).
a) Alternative return to Lewes via Northease Manor: This route, which is lower-lying than the main walk route, takes you inland via Northease Manor. You follow the main walk directions to point , then follow the directions for this option at the end of the main walk text.
b) Shorter walk ending at Southease: You can reduce the length of the walk to 12.5km (7.8 miles) by ending at Southease and returning by train to Lewes from there. Follow the main walk directions until point , then follow the directions at the end of the main walk text.
c) Lewes to Seaford walk (via South Downs): For the ultimate, invigorating long walk (24.8km/15.4 miles) from Lewes to Seaford, you can take the short walk option (b) above, ending at Southease station, then take the separate Southease to Seaford (walk 26, option (a) in this book) which starts at Southease station.
Both these options use the fine downland start of the main walk, which climbs from Lewes to the South Downs ridge, with magnificent views across the plains of the river Ouse.
Long. A steep hill (views) to Glynde. Lunch in quiet West Firle, then the South Downs Way (chalk ridge), with a flat valley walk back to historic Lewes
East Sussex TOCW Book 2, Walk 25 • Toughness: 7/10 • Length: 14 miles (23 km)
Each of the three sections of this walk makes a fine walk in itself. Put together, they make a grand day's circuit in stunning scenery.The main walk starts in the historic town of Lewes with the early section having fine views over the town and castle. After reaching a secluded valley, skylarks can often to be heard whilst hovering in the sky. The mid section along the South Downs Way offers extensive views both inland and towards the port of Newhaven with the Channel beyond. The final stretch re-enters Lewes along the levee beside the River Ouse.
The walk has 360 metres of ascent spread over three steepish hills, but in between there are long sections which are mainly level. The main walk is not well suited to December and January due to the limited daylight.
The best walk in the Southeast! A dramatic cliff walk passing Cuckemere Haven, the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head as the South Downs meets the sea. Ends with Eastbourne's promenade and pier.
East Sussex TOCW Book 2, Walk 28 • Toughness: 9/10 • Length: 13 miles (22 km)
This classic cliff-top walk – one of the finest coastal walks in England – affords stunning (and very famous) views of the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters, and the renowned Beachy Head, before ending in the elegant seafront town of Eastbourne. There is quite a lot of climbing and descending on the walk – indeed, apart from the section around Cuckmere Haven and the finish along the Eastbourne seafront, almost none of the route is flat – but somehow in the grandeur of the scenery the effort is not noticed.
In summer, the walk also offers numerous opportunities for a dip in the sea: which is best will depend on the tide. Seaford and Eastbourne beaches can be swum at any state of the tide. At Cuckmere Haven and Birling Gap, however, there are awkward underwater rocks that are well covered at high water and exposed when the tide is out, but covered by shallow sea for a period in between; nonetheless, if you catch these beaches at the right time, they make a wonderfully scenic place for a dip.
Take care near the cliff edges on this walk, as they are crumbly and liable to collapse: the official advice is to keep 5 metres from any cliff edge (advice regularly ignored by summer tourist: but don’t copy them!).
2 Long Ridge walks over open downs, beautiful Alfriston for lunch, and Eastbourne pier and prom. to finish.
East Sussex SWC Walk 25 • Toughness: 7/10 • Length: 16 miles (27 km)
This walk along the South Downs Way (SDW) consists of 2 spectacular ridge walks with a picturesque village in the middle for lunch and Eastbourne promenade, beach and pier to finish. Its a long (so summer only) but very rewarding walk. The route is well waymarked, the paths are easy walking, and the route is easy to follow. The South Downs are treeless and open, so there are good views throughout.
The walk starts in Southease, right on the SDW, and climbs the first ridge straight away, up to Firle Beacon. There is an alternate start in Glynde in case the trains to Southease don't line up.
At the end of ridge is Alfriston, a pretty village in a pretty valley with a village green dominated by a large church. 2 good pubs and a village shop to choose from for lunch.
After lunch, follow the northern leg of the SDW up and over Wilmington Hill to Jevington (pub) before a final climb to head south along another ridge towards the coast.
Rather than follow the offical SDW route downhill, continue on to the coast, then follow the 'other' leg of the SDW down in to Eastbourne. Follow the prom for a swim in the sea and chips by the pier.
The flat, open Ouse valley to Rodmell and Kingston, then an open chalk ridge to Rottingdean and Brighton.
East Sussex SWC Walk 65 • Toughness: 4/10 • Length: 9 miles (16 km)
A loop to Rodmell for lunch, then up and across the South Downs. Finishes by the sea.
East Sussex TOCW Book 2, Walk 26 • Toughness: 6/10 • Length: 11 miles (18 km)
Shoulder of Mutton Hill (steep, fine view) and a very walker friendly pub
Hampshire TOCW Book 2, Walk 11 • Toughness: 5/10 • Length: 10 miles (17 km)
Much of this walk follows the Hangers Way, a long distance path which lies within an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The name Hanger derives from the old English "Hangra" meaning a wooded slope. Much of the walk is in unspoilt countryside which remains as it was several hundred years ago. The very steep ascent of Shoulder of Mutton Hill may be slippery in winter when the slightly longer alternative route is advised. Whichever route is taken the view at the top is spectacular.
A historic Cathedral City, St Catherine's Hill and downland.
Hampshire SWC Walk 15 • Toughness: 4/10 • Length: 11 miles (18 km)
This walk takes in all of its major historical points of interest in the ancient city of Winchester, and some of its prettiest streets. It then carries on out along the idyllic River Itchen to St Catherines Hill, the iron age hillfort, from where there are spectacular views of the city. From here the route crosses some typical Hampshire downland, before descending to a section of ancient watermeadows and to a newly refurbished riverside pub for lunch.
In the afternoon, the walk again climbs up onto the downs, giving fine distant views of Winchester Cathedral, before descending to the ancient Hospital of St Cross, along the watermeadows and past Winchester College to tea in the Cathedral refectory.
The walk directions pdf (see link in the button menu above) includes a detailed history of Winchester and the historic sights visited
Out along the foot of the South Downs above Wild Brook wetland to Storrington for lunch, and back along the ridge of the Downs.
West Sussex SWC Walk 11 • Toughness: 5/10 • Length: 11 miles (18 km)
This walk has the same finish along the crest of the South Downs as SWC Walk 8 Billingshurst to Amberley or SWC Walk 9 Pullborough to Amberley, but it takes in a slightly longer section of the ridge than those other two walks (5km or 3.1 miles). It also has a more varied and interesting climb up on the downs.
The morning is flat, first passing through the river meadows of the Arun to the picturesque village of Amberley, and then following a route along the foot of the downs, with fine views up onto the ridge one way, and down onto the marshland of Amberley Wild Brooks the other. You get a brief taste of the Brooks, before passing through the park of a stately home, Parham House, and to lunch in Cootham.
After lunch there is a long but reasonably well-graded climb up onto the downs (which is what earns this a toughness rating of 5), and then there is an easy walk with fine views along the top of ridge, ending with a descent to Amberley.
This is a good all-season route, with the only potential problem being the short section crossing the meadows from the River Arun to Amberley village, which can be very wet or even flooded in winter. It can be avoided by turning right out of the station and following the main road to the village. The road curves left and in 600 metres, you ignore a minor road uphill to the right. Ignore a signposted footpath to the left in 300 metres, but in 600 metres more, after the road makes a long curve right, take a footpath on the left. This brings you into the village at a road T-junction: go straight across the main village street and on up another road: this curves right to bring you to the site of the (closed) Black Horse pub, para 13 in the walk directions.
South Downs in the morning, then follows the river Arun to Historic Arundel (Castle, Cathedral)
West Sussex TOCW Book 2, Walk 22 • Toughness: 5/10 • Length: 9 miles (15 km)
This is a very beautiful and not too strenuous Downs walk which starts with a slow gradual climb amongst a luxuriance of wild flowers throughout the summer months. It takes in the pretty village of Burpham for lunch. After lunch it meanders along the River Arun to Arundel allowing a visit to the castle for those who arrive before 4pm. Arundel is also remarkable for the fact that it contains 5 branches of Peglers, the specialist walking and expedition outfitters with their young and friendly staff.
The South Downs with good views in the morning. Lunch in a small village. A gentle afternoon stroll through the West Weald with downland views to finish.
West Sussex SWC Walk 39 • Toughness: 6/10 • Length: 10 miles (18 km)
This walk starts with a climb up out of Amberley village and the Arun valley onto the crest of the South Downs following the South Downs Way (SDW) on a wide chalky track for 5km to Bignor Hill, with magnificent views.
Leaving the SDW, it descends to lunch at a remote rural pub, The White Horse Inn, Sutton (01798 869221)
In the afternoon it is flatter and more wooded Rother valley, coming to a tea stop in the White Heart Pub (01798 873321) by the lovely medieval bridge at Stopham.
Its a few km from there to Pulborough station - there is a shorter direct route along the road. NB There are no facilities near the station.
A contrast between peaceful villages in the Arun Valley and an attractive old town with a castle and cathedral.
West Sussex SWC Walk 100 • Toughness: 6/10 • Length: 13 miles (23 km)
The full Main Walk goes from Amberley station to Arundel, completes a circuit back to Houghton Bridge and then takes a different route to Arundel again. The advantage of this unusual walk design is that you can choose to do only the first two-thirds or the last two-thirds of the full route as circular walks from Amberley and Arundel respectively, or indeed just one of the three legs as a short walk.
From Amberley station, the walk crosses Houghton Bridge to go along the west bank of the River Arun, then reverses the start of Book 1 Walk 32 (Arundel to Amberley) by climbing over the South Downs through Arundel Park. The feature which dominates the town is Arundel Castle, the principal seat of the Dukes of Norfolk; there was a Norman fortification on the site but the present building is predominantly Victorian. It is open to the public from April to October; admission (2016) is £9-18. On the way into the town you go past the ornate Roman Catholic Arundel Cathedral, completed in 1873 in a French Gothic style, then the interesting parish church of St Nicholas: its unique feature is the separate Fitzalan Chapel, determined in 1879 to be part of Arundel Castle and hence Roman Catholic.
The walk now gets progressively easier. It returns to the other side of the River Arun and goes upstream for a short distance before heading into the low hills to the east, on the edge of the large Angmering Park estate. It soon descends into the neighbouring villages of Wepham and Burpham (pronounced Burfam), where it temporarily rejoins the Book 1 route. Instead of that walk's steep climb onto the downs, however, the route stays in the Arun valley and rejoins the river shortly before Houghton Bridge. You can explore the industrial heritage of south-east England in the nearby Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre, open from March to October; admission (2016) is £11.50.
The final leg along the valley back to Arundel is also undemanding. Two interlacing routes are given, one along the centre of the...
Arundel Castle, its parkland, and the South Downs
West Sussex TOCW Book 1, Walk 32 • Toughness: 7/10 • Length: 11 miles (19 km)
This lovely South Downs walk passes through Arundel, which has a very pretty and historic centre, aa Cathedral, and a very large and picturesque Castle, and then through the castle's landscaped parkland. Amberley, at the end of the walk, has a pretty riverside tea garden and a recommended pub.
The walk starts and ends along the River Arun. It goes up Arundel’s old High Street, lined with ancient buildings, to the Duke of Norfolk’s castle. The Norfolk family have been Roman Catholics for centuries, hence you pass the only church in the UK that is part Catholic and part Protestant (the Catholic part is their chapel, separated off by an iron grille).
You pass the impressive Roman Catholic Cathedral (free entry, recommended) then enter the 1,240-acre Arundel Park (the park is closed on March 24th each year, but the public footpaths should remain open on that day). From the Hiorne Tower, you descend to Swanbourne Lake, then go up and through the Park to exit it through a gap in the wall, to walk above the River Arun again.
The route leads you to the isolated hamlet of South Stoke, with its unusual church and from there you walk beside the river all the way to the village of Burpham, with its church, and pub – your lunchtime stop. The walk requires a relatively early start from London if you want to be in time for food at the lunchtime pub; the distance to the lunch pub in Burpham from the start of the walk is 6 miles, 2.5 hours of walking.
The afternoon’s walk, up, over and down the chalky South Downs, makes for a nice contrast to the morning’s walk.
There are several stretches that are steep (but with excellent views in compensation) and some of the descents on chalky paths can be slippery in the wet or after recent rain. When coming down off the South Downs towards Amberley, the final leg of the walk, across the south-western section of Amberley Wild Brooks, should not be undertaken in winter or after periods of heavy rain, as your route over the water meadows is likely to...
Starts in gentle countryside, with the South Downs a thin line on the horizon, then via some steep hills and hidden valleys to finish on the crest of the South Downs with a panoramic view
West Sussex SWC Walk 8 • Toughness: 5/10 • Length: 13 miles (23 km)
This walk is an illustration of the maxim that a pleasure deferred is a pleasure intensified. It starts in very gentle countryside, from where there are occasional glimpses of the South Downs as a thin line in the distance. Gradually throughout the day, you get closer and closer to them, and finally there is an exhilarating finish along their crest, with panoramic views of the Arun valley. But way before you get to them, just before lunch, there is a surprise area of High Weald-like territory of steep hills and hidden valleys. Early in the walk, there are some particularly fine bluebell and wood anemone woods, making this a good excursion for late April or early May. The length of the afternoon section - 13.2 km (8.2 miles) means this walk is not viable from November to February.
Black Down (heathland with views) and Temple of the Winds (viewpoint), Lurgashall (picturesque village with pub by the green), Cowdray Estate (romantic ruin by Polo Fields) and historic market town of Midhurst.
West Sussex SWC Walk 48 • Toughness: 7/10 • Length: 13 miles (22 km)
The route leads from Haslemere station through the town’s centre and along the waymarked Serpent Trail through a small Nature Reserve to rise steeply out of town and back down through Camelsdale to then rise with the Sussex Border Path through pastures and pine and heather covered slopes up to the Black Down. Following the crest through open heathland, with far views across West Sussex and out to Hampshire, you reach the Temple Of The Winds viewpoint, with further panoramic views over the Rother Valley to the South Downs escarpment and easterly across to the West Weald.
A long descent through the sloping open grounds of Blackdown House and through bluebell-carpeted woods leads to the classic Sussex village of Lurgashall, with its pub and church at the corner of a picturesque village green and cricket pitch. The afternoon takes you through a mix of flat farmland and wooded hills to the Cowdray Estate, with its golf course-with-views as well as several polo fields, to the romantic ruins of Cowdray House, as captured by JMW Turner.
Climbing from the River Rother’s banks, Midhurst's Norman castle ruins are passed en-route to the old market town's attractive centre with its many tea options.
3 steep hills with fine views before lunch at Devil's Dyke. A gentle ridge walk in the afternoon to Upper Beeding (short bus ride to Shoreham station)
West Sussex TOCW Book 2, Walk 23 • Toughness: 7/10 • Length: 10 miles (16 km)
It is a matter of opinion which is the finest view in South East England, but the amazing panorama from Devil's Dyke on the South Downs escarpment must surely be a strong contender. Such beauty comes at a price, however, and the area immediately around the viewpoint can be exceedingly busy on a fine weekend. However, the South Downs also afford numerous other less frequented viewpoints, and this walk introduces you to several of them, including tranquil Wolstonbury Hill and Edburton Hill.
The morning in particular is a delightful series of climbs and descents on slopes covered by rare chalk grassland. In the afternoon - which is somewhat easier on the leg muscles, though still with a couple of short uphill sections - you follow the South Downs Way for a while across Fulking Escarpment, before descending into the riverside village of Upper Beeding for tea.
An easy southerly trek through East Hampshire.
West Sussex SWC Walk 18 • Toughness: 3/10 • Length: 9 miles (16 km)
An undulating ramble through the little known western reaches of the South Downs. Though there are one or two steep climbs, the gradients are not arduous, and your reward is some fine hilltop views in the second half of the walk.
This is a long but easy walk which explores the water meadows of the River Arun, with the South Downs as a dramatic backdrop.
West Sussex SWC Walk 14 • Toughness: 4/10 • Length: 12 miles (21 km)
The Main Walk climbs gently at first to give a panoramic view of the South Downs from the low hills above Pulborough. It joins the Wey-South Path to go past two medieval bridges across the canalised River Arun, which was part of an important transport link between London and the South Coast in the early 19thC. The walk then goes across the extensive water meadows of Amberley Wild Brooks, an important area for bird-life and wetland plants, coming to the unspoilt village of Amberley for a pub lunch.
In the afternoon, the walk continues through Parham Park with its Elizabethan manor house, then past the gliders at Parham Airfield. Towards the end of the day you have the opportunity to spend some time bird-watching in the RSPB Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve at Wiggonholt, which has a tearoom in its Visitor Centre, before a final stretch alongside the River Arun back to Pulborough.
The water meadows are deliberately flooded in winter and can be boggy at any time of the year after heavy rain. This walk should therefore only be attempted in relatively dry conditions.
Historic Pulborough, gentle hills, a gem of a pub, an RSPB marshland, and up and over the South Downs to Amberley.
West Sussex SWC Walk 9 • Toughness: 5/10 • Length: 10 miles (17 km)
Though it traverses similar territory to its sister walk (see Walk Options below) and has the same South Downs finish, this walk has a quite different atmosphere to Billingshurst to Amberley. It first passes through the surprisingly quaint historic centre of Pulborough, tucked away on the edge of the modern village, and then climbs into a delightful area of gentle hills, which afford magnificent views of the Downs to the south and the plains to the north. After lunch in Nutbourne or Marehill, the route takes you along the edge of Pulborough Brooks, an unspoilt marshland area which is now an RSPB nature reserve. The RSPB visitor centre provides a possible tea stop. There is then a three kilometre section on a quiet road that at first passes through woodland, and then the hamlet of Rackham. By now the South Downs loom magnificently ahead, and you climb up onto them by a steep path (different from the one used for the Billingshurst to Amberley walk, incidentally) for a bravura finish with magnificent views of the Arun valley.
A demanding walk, first through park- and woodland, then through the remote westerly valleys of the South Downs
West Sussex SWC Walk 68 • Toughness: 9/10 • Length: 15 miles (26 km)
This demanding West Sussex walk in the undulating western part of the South Downs is characterised initially by a mixture of park- and woodland, then steep lonely valleys and some far views to the main South Downs Ridge.
It starts off towards Stansted House along a 1-mile-long beech avenue – one of the best in England according to Pevsner, and then heads north along the easterly edge of Stansted Forest and across fields via the hamlets of West, Up and East Marden to a very remote pub in Hooksway, with particularly nice views on the route between the hamlets, including up to the northern escarpment of the South Downs.
From lunch you climb back out of the secluded valley on a westerly route to Compton, from where another couple of hills need to be crossed to finish along the westerly edge of Stansted Forest back into Rowlands Castle, with its teashop and a choice of pubs.
The walk (especially the extended version) features several sustained, steep climbs and descents.
Follows the South Downs Way along the ridge of the South Downs. Good views in the morning, a forested trail in the afternoon (travel by bus).
West Sussex SWC Walk 33 • Toughness: 3/10 • Length: 12 miles (20 km)
This is a ridge walk along the South Downs Way (SDW) along a good, easy to follow path. There are fine views in the moring. The afternoon is forested, so even though you're on top of the ridge, its like walking along a forested trail. There might be better views in winter
At Coking its a (regular) bus ride to Chichester. Or stay overnight, and continue along the SDW towards Petersfield
There are no pubs or other refreshment stops on this walk
If you walk in ther other direction, there is a nice pub in Amberley to finish in.
A ridge walk along the South Downs Way, passing Chanctonbury Ring.
West Sussex SWC Walk 26 • Toughness: 5/10 • Length: 14 miles (24 km)
This walk, which can be done in either direction, follows the South Downs Way (SDW). The route follows the crest of South Downs Ridge with good views in both directions, It passes Chanctonbury Ring, a ring of trees planted on the remains of an ancient Hill Fort. This spot has a beautiful 360° views, and is the recommended picnic spot.
Apart from the endings in Lancing or Shoreham, the route is very well way-marked. All the paths are wide, easy to walk on, and easy to follow. The route is almost entirely over an open, treeless, chalk ridge, which is very exposed in bad or windy weather.
At the half way point, there is a break in the ridge, where the route crosses a busy A Road. There is a longer 'via Washington alternative' which avoids this crossing, and passes a walker friendly pub.
This walk can be done with the help of an OS map (or by printing the map segments), but the instructions below alone are sufficient.