A Compendium of Sussex Walks

Tag: Sussex walks (Page 1 of 4)

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.




Alfriston and the River Cuckmere

Church of St. Andrew, Alfriston, England Crop - May 2009

Alfriston and the River Cuckmere (South Downs National Park, PDF)

  • 6.4 miles, 10.3k with shorter circular options
  • pub and tea rooms in Alfriston, Seven Sisters Visitor Centre and Litlington.
  • riverside, quiet roads and downland walking with several stiles and short steep climbs
  • accessible by bus

buscup of tea

A varied walk which takes in the historic downland village of Alfriston, the River Cuckmere, Friston Forest, the hidden flintstone village of West Dean, and the small attractive village of Litlington, where there is a choice of two good places to stop for refreshments – the Plough and Harrow pub and Litlington Tea Gardens (summer only).

Along the way, you’ll also visit the hill of High’n’Over, known for its White Horse (an impressive but relatively recent creation) carved into the hillside on the way up.  During the 19th century, the horse was cut into the downs to the west of the village, replacing an earlier one known to have been present from some years earlier. From the top of the hill, there are fine views over the Cuckmere River, Friston Forest and the village of Litlington.

For an alternative walk in the area, you could try the National Trust’s Over Hill and Under Vale at Frog Firle Farm.

Alfriston Clergy House Walk

Alfriston Clergy House

Alfriston Clergy House Walk (National Trust)

  • 4-5 miles, 2 to 2-and-a-half hours, moderate walking
  • pubs and tea rooms in Alfriston, and the picturesque Cricketers in Berwick and Rose Cottage Inn in Alciston, just off the main trail
  • accessible by bus

buscup of teahistoric attraction

This walk starts in Alfriston within the  South Downs National Park where you can also visit the National Trust’s first property, acquired in 1896,  the 14th century Alfriston Clergy House.  Heading north, you reach the downland village of Berwick where the cottage style Cricketers pub makes a good stop as does a visit to the church for a look at the murals by Bloomsbury Group artists. There are fine views later in the walk over Alfriston and the spire of St Andrew’s Church, known as the ‘Cathedral of the Downs’.

The Airman’s Grave, Ashdown Forest

The Southern Slopes and the Airman’s Grave (PDF, Friends of Ashdown Forest)

Purple Heather on Ashdown Forest

  • 2 miles plus optional extension to tea rooms
  • tea rooms at Duddleswell (extend the walk – see map on PDF)
  • One longish but mostly gentle climb back to the ridge

Part of the Exploring Ashdown Forest on Foot series of guides, this walk has some wonderful views to the South Downs and takes in a lonesome memorial to the crew of a World War Two plane.

Combine this walk with other walks in the series, try Pooh Walks from Gills Lap.

Hangleton Manor Walk

Hangleton Manor Walk (Hall & Woodhouse, PDF)
Hangleton Manor pub

  • 2.8 miles, 70-90 mins
  • moderate walk up to the Downs
  • starts and ends at the Hangleton Manor pun
  • accessible by bus

cup of teahistoric attraction

An undulating walk on to the South Downs around Hove taking in the Benfield Hill Nature Reserve. Good under foot with far reaching views, there’s lots to enjoy. The walks starts and ends at The Hangleton Manor, an old manor house, now a a pub and a grade II listed building – the the oldest domestic secular building in Brighton & Hove dating back to the 1500s. This makes the Hangleton the ideal location for a short pub walk with the option of a pint and bite to eat before or after a walk up to the Downs above Hove.

Hangleton Manor history (Wikipedia)


Walks on the Slindon Estate

Slindon Wood - geograph.org.uk - 166111
Slindon Estate Walks – Treasures in Trust (AA) and A Walk with Views (Guardian Great Britsh Walks)

  • 6 miles, 3 hours (Guardian walk) or 4 miles, 2 hours (AA Walk).
  • moderate downland walking
  • a tea room in Slindon, and pub nearby
  • accessible by bus

cup of tea

The Slindon Estate, 7 miles from Chichester and managed by the National Trust,  is an impressive 1,400 hectares of woodland, downland, farmland, and parkland. it includes the very attractive flint village of Slindon itself with lovely houses and a fine setting at the foot of the South Downs. Two walks are offered here to make the most of it.

This Guardian walk, featured in its Great British Walks Guide in 2012,  captures the grand scale and variety of the Estate. Beginning at the village, it heads north towards Bignor Hill, through sun-dappled woodland, and down the route of the famous old Roman road of  Stane Street past fields of downland  sheep. The route’s description leaves something to be desired, so make sure you have an OS map with you (and it’s probably best working out the route in advance on the OS map).  You’ll probably go wrong otherwise, particularly as some steps seem to be missing i.e. getting from Stane Street to the 6 Posts sign!

The shorter AA walk provides an easier woodland walk, but still offers some  fine views.

Note that the Newburgh Arms, mentioned in the AA walk, is now sadly shut. The Spur, a traditional pub with a skittle alley, is a detour away along the A29. The village also lost its post office and shop in recent years, but a a new community shop and licensed cafe opened in 2012 at the Slindon Forge in Reynolds Lane, going away from the village towards the A29.

Amberley, Burpham and North Stoke Walk

Burpham Church

Burpham Church

Amberley, Burpham and North Stoke Walk (PDF, Souths Downs National Park)

  • 10 miles, 5 hours, with a shorter option for a 2.5 mile Amberley Walk.
  • downland walking, no stiles, some gates
  • plenty of pubs and a tea room at Amberley and by Houghton Bridge near the station, plus The George at Burpham.
  • accessible by bus and train

traincup of tea

This is an area of fine downland walking with river valley views, and picturesque villages. The popular pub, The George in the attractive village of Burpham (Local tip: Burpham is pronounced ‘Burrfam’) makes a convenient stopping point at about the halfway mark. Amberley village is a little detour but is a picture postcard village of thatched flint cottages.

Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre, near the start/finish of the walk, is a 36 acre open air museum dedicated to the industrial heritage of the south east. The main chalk quarry at the museum is famous for being the location of the mine in the James Bond film View to Kill. The Bridge Inn and Riverside Cafe Bar are at the start/finish of the walk situated by the river.

For a bit of luxury and history, stay in nearby Amberley Castle!

Note that Amberley Station is at Houghton Bridge, a 15 minute walk away from the village. To visit the extremely attractive and mostly traffic-free village, you’ll need to detour from the main walk or you could do the short walk instead or if you’re feeling fit, add it on to the main walk.




Stanmer Park Walks

Stanmer Experience Walks – Healthwalks and Nordic Walking (PDFs)

Stanmer Church

Stanmer Church

  • variety of walking routes to choose from – regular and Nordic – about 2.2 miles to 5.8 miles
  • fairly flat with some inclines
  • pub, tea room and toilets in Stanmer village. Pub at Falmer.
  • accessible by bus and train

trainbuscup of tea

A choice of walks starting in Stanmer Park.  Stanmer is a beautiful downland park containing the grade I listed Stanmer House (now partly a pub), the flintstone Stanmer Church, a pond and a  quiet village street cut off from the world with a good value tea shop. The walks take you through Stanmer Great Wood and onto the South Downs. Free guided weekly walks also available.

The Nordic Walks are three starter trails are available for beginners to learn Nordic Walking on accredited courses.

Some parts of the first health walk are suitable for wheelchair/buggy. Disabled parking and accessible toilet available.


Easy Countryside Trails in West Sussex

Easy Countryside Trails (PDF, West Sussex County Council)

  • 14 walks from 0.3 miles to 2.7 miles
  • Mostly flat or surfaced but check individual routes, no stiles or steps
  • Facilities vary according to individual walks
  • some walks accessible by bus

disabled access signbuscup of tea

West Sussex County Council have produced an excellent booklet on Easy Access Trails in West Sussex. The walks are suitable for all including wheelchair and pushchair users, families, children with scooters, and less mobile people. Featured walks include Pagham Harbour, Arundel Park, Chichester Harbour, Chichester Canal, Southwater Country Park and Ardingly Reservoir. Many make excellent short walks, and are good options for winter walks. The booklet has very good maps and route descriptions to help you on your way.

Centurion Way Railway Path

Cycle path sculpture at Fishbourne - geograph.org.uk - 48319
Centurion Way (PDF, South Downs National Park, full route) or Centurion Way Chichester to Lavant (PDF, part route) (West Sussex County Council)

  • 2 and a half miles one way from Chichester to Lavant or 5 mile return
  • 2.8 miles extra to walk on to West Dean making the whole walk just over 5 miles one way
  • Mostly flat, tarmacked or with compacted stone
  • pubs at Lavant, West Dean, and in Chichester, a mile from the route’s start.
  • accessible by bus and train – extra 1 mile walk to/from railway station

disabled access signtrainbuscup of teaflowercycle

The Centurion Way is a route for cyclists and walkers between Chichester and West Dean. The route is along the old Chichester to Midhurst Railway which opened in 1881 to improve access to London. The railway’s decline started with the withdrawal of passenger services in 1935 and the line north of Lavant was closed completely in 1957.The section between Lavant and Chichester was used for the transportation of sugar beet and gravel. However, this ceased in 1991 and the tracks were removed in 1993. Two years later, the first stretch of the Centurion Way opened,the name suggested by a local schoolboy and is based on the fact that the path crosses the course of a Roman road. There are sculptures along the route relating to local history.

Just beyond the walk  are  West Dean Gardens and a little further on, the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum.

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