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
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.
pubs at East Dean and Exceat Bridge, cafes at Birling Gap and Exceat
Having walked this route recently, this is one of the most challenging walks in Sussex, but it well worth it thanks to the wonderful coastal views. It also passes through Friston Forest and the perfectly preserved downland hamlet of West Dean. The Tiger Inn at East Dean is a wonderfully situated pub on the traffic-free village green.
The walk can be walked in either direction. The prevailing winds are south westerley, along the coast from west to east. If it’s a cold windy day and this is the case, you might do best walking down the Cuckmere Valley first to the coast, and then onto Birling Gap and back through the Forest. Look out for the wind effect on hill-top hawthorn bushes and trees.