Photo of Houghton Bridge

 

This is recommended if you have a good level of fitness and are short on time. If you can spare another day you’ll get more of a chance to enjoy some of the places of interest along the South Downs Way.

Distances are on the path and don’t include getting to and from your overnight stops.

Winchester to Cocking – 35 miles

Discovery Notes

There are currently temporary route signs just after Exton where it’s easy to get lost, so look out for the signs.

Highlights

  • The cathedral city of Winchester.
  • Beacon Hill – it’s a nature reserve and commands outstanding views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Old Winchester hill – great views and there is a fine Iron Age hill-fort site at the top.
  • Meon Springs – beautiful spot where you can get refreshments and fill up your water bottles.
  • Butser Hill – highest point on the South Downs Way at 270 metres.
  • Queen Elizabeth Country Park – large area of beautiful mixed woodland.
  • Harting Down – fantastic views across the Weald, it’s possible to see the North Downs on a clear day.
Cocking to Ditchling – 35 miles
Jill the Windmill

Discovery Notes

Fantastic views along the ridge of the downs and out to sea, enjoy!

Highlights

  • Heyshott Down – great views inland.
  • Bignor Roman Villa – dating back to 3rd Century AD, with amazingly preserved mosaic floors. It’s 1.5 miles from the South Downs Way and just off the old Roman road Stane Street.
  • Bignor Hill – fantastic views right along the Downs.
  • Amberley Working Museum – excellent museum of local history, just off the way.
  • Amberley village – one of the prettiest villages in the South Downs, just off the way.
  • First views of the sea to the south.
  • Views of Amberley Brooks nature reserve after climbing out of Houghton Bridge and Amberley.
  • Chanctonbury Ring – said to be haunted, it’s the site of an Iron Age hill-fort dating back to the 6th Century BC. Fantastic views out to sea and along the downs.
  • Bramber Castle – the remains of a Norman castle on the banks of the River Adur, around a mile from the way.
  • River Adur – views south towards the stunning hillside Abbey at Lancing College.
  • Fulking Hill – spectacular 360° views.
  • Devils’s Dyke – legend has it that the Devil dug the valley to drown the parishioners of the Weald.
  • Jack & Jill Windmills – famous local landmarks that can be seen from miles around.
Ditchling to Eastbourne – 30 miles
Photo of Alfriston

Discovery Notes

After Alfriston it’s the alternative inland route to Eastbourne for cyclists via Jevington. It’s not as spectacular as the Seven Sisters but still very pleasant indeed. If you can spare the time (and energy!), we would recommend leaving a day at the end to walk from Eastbourne over the Seven Sisters. Cycling the whole of the South Downs Way is a fantastic achievement, so well done!

Highlights

  • Ditchling Beacon – heading east from here, there are fantastic views inland across the weald and towards ashdown forest.
  • Iford Hill – great views inland towards Mount Caburn to the north and the sea to the south.
  • Monk’s House, Rodmell – this was the home of Virginia Woolf, now owned by the National Trust and open to the public.
  • The picture postcard village of Alfriston, right on the way.
  • Windover Hill – great spot for expansive views.
  • The Long Man of Wilmington – standing 70 metres high, it’s only around a mile off the way and well worth the detour.
  • The pretty downland village of Jevington.