Much of Lewes district in East Sussex is in the South Downs including beautiful downland villages such as Ditchling and Firle, and the small seaside town of Seaford, as well as the historic town of Lewes itself with its castle perched above. There are some good walks along the River Ouse, especially around the picturesque villages of Barcombe, Barcombe Cross and Barcombe Mills. Plumpton racecourse, Charleston (the home of the Bloomsbury Group of writers and painters in Sussex) and Glyndeboune (for Opera in the countryside) are all in the district.
3 short walks of about one hour, can be combined for longer walks.
some stiles, mainly flat
pubs and tea rooms in Ditchling and Keymer
These three short walks start from the village green of Ditchling, a historic downland village near Lewes, with Ditchling Beacon, the highest point on the South Downs, as its backdrop. The first walk takes you across fields and past the fine restored windmill, Oldland Mill. You may want a half-way drink in the Thatched Inn in Keymer. There are fine views towards the downs. The second walk takes you down an old Sussex ‘green lane’ and past some of Ditchling’s fine old houses. The third walk takes you to the village playground, a good way for parents to combine a short walk with children.
The walk descriptions are a little dated, but any changes are largely cosmetic. For example, Dolly’s Pantry is now known as Ditchling Tea Rooms, and Chesterton’s is no more. The tea rooms still make a good stop as does The Bull or The White Horse.
variety of walking routes to choose from – about 7 miles for Stanmer and Ditchling circular walk
easy access route of 5 miles suitable for more robust buggies and wheelchairs
some steep climbs on some of the walks
pub, tea room and toilets in Stanmer village. Pub at Falmer. Ice cream van usually at Ditchling Beacon.
accessible by bus and train
Part of Brighton and Hove Council’s excellent ‘Downs on Your Doorstep’ series of leaflets, this leaflet details walking options starting from Stanmer Park (or Falmer Train Station), including a more substantial walk up to Ditchling Beacon, the highest point in East Sussex. Stanmer is a beautiful downland park containing the grade I listed Stanmer House (now partly a pub), the flintstone Stanmer Church and a quiet village street with a good value tea shop.
Poppies near Ditchling Beacon, July 2016
A profusion of bluebells can be seen on the higher reaches of Stanmer Great Wood during the spring, and you may see poppies in June and July.