long man's walking guide to Sussex

A Compendium of Sussex Walks

Page 2 of 9

Petworth House and Park Walk

Petworth House

Petworth House and Park Ancient Trees Walk (National Trust)

  • 4 miles.
  • Moderate walking.
  • Chance to visit Petworth House.
  • Restaurant and coffee shop at Petworth House.
  • accessible by bus.

cup of teabushistoric attraction

A circular walk exploring the ancient trees that dominate the skyline of Petworth Park, featuring some of the oldest and largest trees in the country. The gnarled and twisted bark of these magnificent ancient specimens make natural and amazing works of art.

Nestled in the South Downs National Park, Petworth House is a large impressive mansion surrounded by a 700 acre deer park landscaped by Capability Brown, and houses a renowned art collection.

Whilst not on the walk itself, the attractive market town of Petworth is a short diversion away, literally just the other side of Petworth House, and has a range of independent shops, pubs and restaurants.

Fishbourne & Bosham Walks

Fishbourne and Bosham Walk (Emsworth Walks)

(the link to the PDF on the website does not seem to be currently working so see also http://www.ifootpath.com/display-ifootpath-walk?walkID=5177)

Two Villages and a Ferry (PDF, Chichester Conservancy)

cup of teabustrainhistoric attraction

The shorter 5 mile walk provides the chance to visit both Fishbourne and the historic village of Bosham, while enjoying the scenery and reed beds at the top of Chichester Harbour.  Bosham is an attractive harbour side village with pubs and some boutique-style shops. Its greatest claim to fame is that this is where King Canute reportedly tried to hold back the tide. This walk passes nearby Fishbourne Roman Palace, the remains of a large Roman home built in the 1st century AD, around thirty years after the Roman conquest of Britain. The Palace is especially known for its impressive mosaic floors,

The 10 mile walk starts in Bosham, and heads out on the same path as the first walk towards Fishbourne. Cutting across the peninsula, the route passes through reedbeds to a traditionally managed meadow. Heading down the Fishbourne Channel, the route takes in the tiny village of Dell Quay and passes through two marinas before arriving at Itchenor for the ferry crossing (seasonal) across the channel before returning to Bosham.



Pagham Harbour Walk

Sidlesham Quay - geograph.org.uk - 501560

Pagham Harbour and Sidlesham Quay (PDF, West Sussex County Council)

  • 3.0km (1.9 miles) return trip (Shorter circuit – 1.1km/0.7 miles)
  • Easy Countryside Trial – one of a series of routes that may be enjoyed by all including wheelchair users, families with pushchairs – note it is a bit bumpy near Sidlesham Quay
  • Crab and Lobster pub (accessible to wheelchairs) in Sidlesham

disabled access signbuscup of tea

This walk is a short circular easy access trail from the Pagham Harbour Local Nature Reserve visitor centre. The area is one of the few undeveloped stretches of the Sussex coast, and an internationally important wetland site for wildlife with interest in all seasons for flowering plants, butterflies, summer breeding birds and the winter visiting seabirds. This walk is a little inland from the sea.

Part of the walk follows the track of the old light railway known as the ‘Selsey Tram’, which ran between Chichester and Selsey until 1935. The walk takes you past an accessible bird hide with good views all along the margins of the harbour as far as Sidlesham Quay, an attractive little mill hamlet at the top of Pagham Harbour.

Highdown Trail

Highdown Hill

Highdown Trail: History, Myth and Beauty (PDF, Worthing Heritage Trails)

  • short 2km walk on the Downs north of Ferring on the edge of Worthing
  • Highdown Tea Rooms and Highdown Gardens on route
  • The Highdown Hotel has a restaurant and bar, and attractive  garden
  • mainly grass, occasional flint and chalk footpath. Moderate climb to the summit and hard going for wheelchair users and pushchairs

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A short but interesting walk up to Highdown Hill’s fine views. Although a relatively small hill, its unique position as the only hill on the Sussex coastal plain gives it commanding views along the coast, from Beachy Head in the east, to the Isle of Wight in the west. It is said to be the traditional burial place of the kings of Sussex, and the remains of a Saxon cemetery as well as a Roman bath house have been found on the hill.

Highdown Gardens contain a collection of rare plants and trees, collectively deemed a National Collection. The gardens, set in a former chalk pit, is owned and maintained by Worthing Borough Council with admission being free.


Brightling, Dudwell Valley, Bateman’s: Forests and Follies

"Mad Jack" Fuller's tomb

Forests and Follies (PDF, Fancy Free Walks)

  • 9 and a half miles (15k)
  • moderate walking – long twisting trails where you need to be watchful, nettles in summer.
  • vist Bateman’s, Jacobean house and former home of Rudyard Kipling with attractive garden
  • Swan Inn at Woods Corner (start/finish), The Wheel in Burwash Weald, tea room at Bateman’s
  • accessible by bus

buscup of teahistoric attraction

This walk is a great adventure in the High Weald with long woodland trails, sudden views and unexpected encounters. See much celebrated follies, including an observatory, temple and pyramid, built by eccentric landowner “Mad Jack” Fuller.

Mad Jack (1757-1834) was a Brightling squire addicted to building follies.



This walk provides a short optional excursion to a famous country house, Bateman’s, former home of Rudyard Kipling. Bateman’s is a 17th-century house located in Burwash, East Sussex, England. Author Rudyard Kipling lived in Bateman’s from 1902 to his death in 1936, and his wife left the house to the National Trust on her death in 1939.

Weirwood Bluebell Railway Walk

Stone Farm Rocks crag - geograph.org.uk - 1672314

Weirwood Bluebell Railway Walk (Bluebell Railway Walks)

The Weirwood Walk (Gravetye Manor, PDF)

  • Choice of two slightly different walks – one of 4 miles (Bluebell Railway Walks) and the other of 5 miles (Gravetye Manor Walk)
  • can be muddy after wet weather
  • take a train ride on the  Bluebell Railway and stay/dine in style at Gravetye Manor

trainbuscup of tea

These varied circular walks take in Stone Farm Rocks, Weirwood Reservoir Nature Reserve and the steam trains of the Bluebell Railway, which runs for 11 miles (17.7 km). The railway operates between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, with intermediate stations at Horsted Keynes & Kingscote, allowing you to combine the walk with a trip on the railway. And of course, you’ll see bluebells along the way during the spring.

Weir Wood Reservoir was created in the mid-1950s by damming the River Medway. It is used for sailing and fishing, and known for its range of resident and migrant birds such as great crested grebes and herons.

Stone Farm Rocks are a series of sandstone crags, some as high as 8 metres (26 ft) high , and is owned by the British Mountaineering Council who run it for the benefit of climbers. 

See Bluebell Railway Walks for more opportunities to combine walking and taking a trip on the railway.

If you feel like treating yourself, stay at Michelin starred Gravetye Manor overnight or for a meal or afternoon tea. The manor was built in 1598 and is known for its gardens.


Three Circular Walks in Angmering

Bluebells at Angmering estate - geograph.org.uk - 1277660

Angmering Walks (PDF)

  • Choice of 3 walks – Copse Walk: 4 and 3/4 miles, Parkland Walk: 5 and 1/2 miles, Woodland Walk: 7 miles
  • mostly flat, sometimes muddy
  • pub along the way – The Woodman Arms
  • accessible by bus

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These three walks explore the fields, woodland and paddocks around the Angmering Estate in the South Downs National Park, north of Angmering village and the A27. The private Angmering Park Estate dates back to at least 1279 and is well known for its fantastic display of bluebells in the spring. It even hosts an annual 10k bluebell trail run (now sold out for 2016 ).   The third of these walks – the Woodland Walk – is the best for bluebells.

These walks are well described and illustrated, but the details may be  little dated, not that much changes too fast on the estate.

For a longer walk (11/12 miles), try the  circular walk walk between Burpham and Angmering Forest (Fancy Free Walks, PDF)

For more woodland and Bluebell walks nearby, see the World’s End Patching Walks.

The Woodland Trust has some good photos of the Angmering Park Estate on its website.

A Woodland Walk at Nymans

Nymans House


Woodland Walk at Nymans (National Trust)

  • 2 and a half miles (4k)
  • Moderate walking
  • cafe (free to all) at Nymans, Red Lion pub in Handcross (near to the walk’s start/end)
  • accessible by bus

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Nymans is one of Sussex’s great English gardens. Developed from late 19th century, the garden reached a peak in the 1930s and was regularly opened to the public.  The house now survives as a rather romantic garden ruin following a severe reduction of staff during World War II and then a disastrous fire in 1947.

The best option for this walk takes in Nymans Gardens themselves (paid entry or free for NT members) but there’s an option to nearby public footpaths too. Either way, it’s an excellent walk around the surrounding estate amongst rolling hills and woodland in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Cow Wood. near to the gardens, and the woods within the estate in the Ouse Valley,  are noted for their bluebells in the spring.

Shoreham-by-Sea Walks

Souths Down near Shoreham

View from the Monarch’s Way

Shoreham by Sea and Upper Beeding Walks (South Downs National Park, PDF)

  • Two linear walks between bus stops of 4 and 4.5 miles, but you can easily make your own circular walks
  • low beamed Red Lion and Amsterdam pubs at Shoreham at start/end of one of the walks but little else
  • grassy paths and bridleways, uneven at some points, and some climbs
  • Shoreham by Sea train station is within reach of the Shoreham walk and also see Shoreham by Sea and the Downs Link (PDF, iFootpath) for a 7.5 mile circular walk from the station

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A choice of two walks with other options which take you up on the Downs above Shoreham where are are excellent downland views over the Adur Valley and towards the sea.

The Shoreham walk begins at the Red Lion bus stop in old Shoreham, near the wooden old Shoreham Toll Bridge, built in 1781, linking Shoreham-by-Sea to Lancing and Worthing by crossing the River Adur tidal estuary.  From Shoreham, it’s a walk up to Mill Hill Nature Reserve, with great views over the Adur valley and across to Lancing College. In summer, look out for Adonis Blue butterflies. Up on the downs, the route heads eastwards towards Mossy Bottom Farm and then southwards towards Slonk Hill Farm, before returning to the urban fringe.

The Upper Beeding walk starts begins on the South Downs Way, before soon switching to the Monarch’s Way. This 615 mile long distance path is based on the lengthy route taken by King Charles II during his escape after defeat by Cromwell, but perhaps leave that for another day….

Heading southwards, you’ll encounter Thunders Barrow Hill, a bronze age barrow, and The Rest and Be Thankful Stone, a block of sarsen stone measuring roughly three feet square and two feet high, and makes an excellent seat (possibly originating from Southwick Church). You finish the walk by heading over the A27 tunnel at Southwick Hill, opened in 1996 and where the 490 metre long tunnel thankfully preserves a little downland, before getting back to Old Shoreham Road.



Beachy Head to Birling Gap

Belle Tout Lighthouse

Belle Tout Lighthouse

Beachy Head to Birling Gap (South Downs National Park, PDF)

buscup of tea

A walk of  superb sea views and and rolling downland clifftops, with the initial section covering the high Downs on the edge of Eastbourne.  It’s then westwards towards Beachy Head, 500 feet above the sea, and onwards to Belle Tout lighthouse high up on the clifftop.

Belle Tout was built in 1832 but decommissioned in 1902 when the new Beachy Head lighthouse was built at the base of the cliffs. During World War II, Belle Tout was damaged when Canadian troops used it as target practice. In 1999, due to continuing erosion threatening the future of the building the lighthouse was moved 17 metres (56 feet) back from the edge of the cliff.

From the lighthouse, it’s down to Birling Gap, a small settlement crumbling into the sea, but you should be able to visit the National Trust cafe as long as the sea has not made any further inroads!

From Birling Gap, it’s inland towards East Dean, where you can stop off at the picturesque Tiger Inn or the Hikers Rest Tea Room, situated  on the traffic-free village green, where you can get a bus or walk back to the start.




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