South Downs Way Sussex
Location: Southern England.
Length: 165km (101 miles) (bridleway route is 8km (5 miles) shorter). Average number of days to complete: 8 walking, 3 cycling.
Users: 100% for walkers, horse riders and cyclists except at Alfriston / Eastbourne and the Meon Valley where there are split bridleway and footpath routes.
Highest point: Ditchling Beacon 248m (814ft).
Start point: The Youth Hostel at City Mill, Water Lane, Winchester.
Finish point: The Western End of Eastbourne Promenade.
Landscape: Wide grassy or flinty tracks on chalk downland, grazed by sheep on the hills with arable crops below. 100% within Sussex Downs and East Hampshire designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, soon to become a National Park. The western part of the downs is rolling farmland, the West Sussex Downs are dominated by a steep, often wooded scarp with views across the Weald below, while the East Sussex Downs are classic open grassland running down to the sea cliffs.
Highlights: Winchester Cathedral, Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Parham Deer Park, Chanctonbury Ring, Dew Ponds, Adur Valley, Devils Dyke, Ditchling Beacon, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age monuments, Long Man of Wilmington, Ouse valley, Cuckmere Haven, Seven Sisters, Beachy Head, blue butterflies.
Famous Associations: Writer Virginia Woolf (lived at Rodmell), painter Vanessa Bell (Berwick Church), Lytton Strachey (biographer), painter Duncan Grant (Charleston farm house), author Tom Paine (Lewes), Yeats and Whistler (Steyning), Kipling (Rottingdean), Belloc, Jeffries, and now Andy Goldsworthy’s chalk stones!
Trail Officers favourite part: Seven Sisters and the Cuckmere Valley, a glimpse of an older, wilder England.
Nearest towns: Eastbourne, Winchester and Alfriston are on the route. Steyning (1km (½ mile)), Storrington (1½ km (1mile)), Pulborough (13km(8miles)), Midhurst (6km (2 miles)), Petersfield 6km (4miles)), Newhaven (5km (3miles)), Lewes (6km (4 miles)), Portsmouth (19km (12 miles)), Alton (24km (15 miles)), Brighton (11km (7miles)), Shoreham (6km (4miles)), Worthing 6km (4 miles)).
Access: London Victoria to Eastbourne trains take 90 minutes, Trains to Lewes from London take 50 minutes. Change at Lewes for Newhaven (10 minutes), Seaford (15 minutes) and Southease. London Victoria to Brighton is 50 minutes by train via Hassocks. London Waterloo to Winchester is 60 minutes. There are good local bus services in places (eg the South Downs Conservation Board “Breeze up to the Downs” promotions, Devils Dyke open top bus to Brighton, and buses from Brighton to Eastbourne via Alfriston and Beachy Head).
Information available: A National Trail Guide by Paul Millmore published by Aurum Press (£12.99). ISBN 1 – 85410-769-0. Also Harveys route strip map .from Harvey maps 01786 841202 www.harveysmaps.co.uk An accommodation guide, £2.50, is available from the National Trail Officer (cheques payable to Hampshire County Council).
Contact for all information and advice: Bill Jenman, Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Gravel Hill, Horndean, Hampshire, PO8 0QE.
Telephone: 00 44 (0) 2392 59 76 18.
For places to stay near this National Trail click here
For more information contact:
South East Tourism - 0871 572 2475
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Previous destinations of the month:
Starry Starry Night, Look You – Dark Skies Tourism, South Wales | Mills and Hills in Central Lancashire, Lancashire | Get Fit on the North York Moors, North Yorkshire | A West Country Christmas – Dorset in December, Dorset | Nottinghamshire – Rural and Urban, Nottinghamshire | The Test Valley, Hampshire | Ashdown Forest, Sussex | The Rugged Northumberland Coast , Northumberland | The Resorts of North Devon, Devon | The Queen's London, London | Denbighshire , North Wales | York and Its Surrounds, North Yorkshire | The High Weald of Kent, Kent | Leisure, Luxury and Retail Heaven in Leeds , West Yorkshire | Rejuvenate Yourself in Rejuvenated Belfast , Belfast | Seasonal Fun in Brum, West Midlands | Autumn in the Southern Chilterns, Buckinghamshire | Cheshire Peaks and Plains, Cheshire | Essex’s Colne Valley, Essex | Cardigan Bay, West Wales | South Wales Valleys, South Wales | Highland Perthshire, Perthshire | South Downs National Park, Sussex | Royal Wedding London, London | Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire | The Oxfordshire Cotswolds, Oxfordshire | Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire | Edinburgh at Christmas, Edinburgh and the Lothians | Marvellous Manchester, Greater Manchester | The National Forest, Derbyshire | East Lothian, Edinburgh and the Lothians | Regency Brighton and Hove, Sussex | Isle of Purbeck, Dorset | The Somerset Levels, Somerset | Llandudno, North Wales | Hereford, Herefordshire | Cheltenham, Gloucestershire | Bristol, the Great West City, Bristol | Weardale, County Durham | Festive London, London | Islay, Isle of Islay | Blackpool and the Lancashire Coast, Lancashire | The Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire | Land of the Prince Bishops, County Durham | The North Cornwall Coast, Cornwall | Torbay, Devon | Dumfries & Galloway, Dumfries and Galloway | West Highland Way, Argyll | Caithness and Sutherland, Highlands | Harrogate & its Surrounds, North Yorkshire | Sheffield, South Yorkshire