This is an exhilarating walk along the South Downs Way, a ridge of South Downs chalk grassland with panoramic views inland and out to the sea by Brighton.
On the way up to the ridge, the route passes Butcher's Wood and visits a church in Clayton and a still-working Clayton Windmill. The friends of Jack and Jill windmill sometimes serve tea on weekends.
On the South Downs Way you pass medieval dew ponds and an Iron Age fort at Ditchling Beacon. After lunch, down below in Plumpton, you climb back up onto the downs, before a final walk into Lewes along the River Ouse, then up to the Norman castle and through its gateway into the ancient High Street.
This is an easier walk, with far fewer ups and downs, than Walk 25 from Winchelsea to Hastings.
Its a great picnic walk, as the pub is at the bottom of the ridge, and it would save you descending from the ridge to the pub, then climbing back up again afterwards
There are summer buses from Brighton to Ditchling Beacon. Or, from the lunch pub in Plumpton, you could catch a bus to Lewes, but the buses do not run on Sundays. See Traveline Southeast. Plumpton railway station is about 3 kilometres from the lunch pub.
You could stay on the ridge, and miss out the lunch pub, a little shorter, and much easier
Just after the windmills, if you have a map, you can can make an out-and-back diversion, south for about 1km to the Chattri [Wikipedia] - a moving memorial to Indian soldiers who died of their injuries while at the Brighton Pavillion hospital during the 1st World War. According to their faith, soldiers were cremated here, or buried at Woking Mosque.
The Saxon Church of St John the Baptist in Clayton has eleventh or twelfth-century wall paintings and an entrance path whose rippled effect comes from stone quarried from the fossilised bed of a sea or a river.
One of the Clayton Windmills ('Jill'), a post mill, with its 1852 'Sussex Tailpole' on wheels for changing direction, is normally open to visitors from 2pm to 5pm on most Sundays from May to September and also at certain other times; check on www.jillwindmill.org.uk.
Ditchling Beacon, once an Iron Age fort, with traces of ramparts still visible, was a site for one of the beacons that gave warning of the Spanish Armada.
Anne of Cleeves House is a 15th century timber framed Wealden Hall. It formed part of Queen Anne's annulment settlement from King Henry VIII in 1541, although she never stayed in the House or visited it. Open to the public in February and November, Tuesday to Saturday, from 10am to 4pm, and Sunday, Monday and Bank Holidays, 11am to 4pm; from March to October,Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, Sunday, Monday and Bank Holidays, 11am to 5pm. Admission (2020) £ 6.50 - and for combined ticket with Lewes Castle (see below) £ 13.40.
Lewes Castle (tel 01273 486 290), and the Barbican House Museum nearby, are open to visitors, daily, 11am to 3.45pm November to February, and 11am to 5.30pm, March to October (opening one hour earlier, both periods, Tuesdays to Saturdays), with last admissions 30 mins before closing, admission (2020) £8.50. Combined ticket with admission to Anne of Cleeves House is £13.40. The castle was built by William de Warenne, who fought alongside William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. Its towers were added about the time of the Battle of Lewes. In this battle in 1264, the rebel earl, Simon de Montfort, with an army of Londoners and 5,000 barons, defeated Henry III, who had two horses killed under him and was forced to seek refuge in Lewes Priory. The Mise of Lewes was signed next day and led to England's first parliamentary meeting at Westminster in 1265.
The church at Lewes Priory was larger than Chichester Cathedral but was demolished during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. Only ruins of the priory remain.
The churchyard of St John Sub Castro ('Under the Castle') has an obelisk commissioned by Tsar Alexander II to commemorate the 28 prisoners of war who were captured during the Crimean War and who died in Lewes Gaol in the 1850s.
Tom Paine (1737-1809), author of The Rights of Man, lived in Lewes, and his political debating society, the Headstrong Club, often met at the White Hart Hotel. He subsequently participated in both the American and French Revolutions.