Photo of Cocking

This is suitable for anyone with a decent level of fitness. There is one very long day but generally this will allow you to enjoy your surroundings and have a little time to explore the towns and villages you are staying in.

Winchester to Exton – 12 miles / 19 kms

Photo of Winchester Cathedral

Discovery Notes

Starting from the magnificent Winchester cathedral, this is a gentle(ish) introduction to the South Downs Way.

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.

Exton to Buriton – 13 miles / 21 kms

Photo of Buriton

Discovery Notes

Just after Exton there are temporary routes and it’s easy to get lost so take care to follow the signs.

Highlights

  • Old Winchester hill – great views and there is a fine Iron Age hill-fort site at the top.
  • Butser Hill – highest point on the South Downs Way at 270 metres.
  • Queen Elizabeth Country Park – large area of beautiful mixed woodland.
  • The picturesque village of Buriton

Buriton to Cocking – 11 miles / 18 kms

View to Harting from Harting Down

Discovery Notes

There’s lots of woodland on this stretch so plenty of shade.

Highlights

  • Harting Down – fantastic views across the Weald, it’s possible to see the North Downs on a clear day.

 

Cocking to Amberley – 12 miles / 19 kms

Photo of Houghton bridge

Discovery Notes

A fairly easy day of walking, and it’s worth making the detour down to Bignor Villa and the White Horse pub.

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.

Amberley to Upper Beeding – 13 miles / 21 kms

Photo of Bramber Castle

Discovery Notes

A relatively easy day, so you can take your time.

Highlights

  • 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, less than a mile from Steyning.

Upper Beeding to Lewes / Kingston-nr-Lewes – 20 miles / 32 kms

Jill Windmill from Jack & Jill Windmills

Discovery Notes

A very long day, so make sure you get an early start. Lovely views all the way out to sea, along the length of the downs and inland.

Highlights

  • River Adur – views south towards the stunning hillside Abbey at Lancing College.
  • Fulking Hill – spectacular 360 degree 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 Beacon – heading east from here, there are fantastic views inland across the weald and towards ashdown forest.
  • Lewes – full of history, lots to see and do.

Lewes / Kingston-nr-Lewes to Alfriston – 13 miles / 21 kms

Photo of Alfriston

Discovery Notes

There are stunning ridge top views most of the way, keep your camera handy!

Highlights

  • House, Rodmell – this was the home of Virginia Woolf, now owned by the National Trust and open to the public.
  • Iford Hill – great views inland towards Mount Caburn to the north and the sea to the south.
  • The picture postcard village of Alfriston.

Alfriston to Eastbourne – 11 miles / 18 kms

Photo of the Seven Sisters

Discovery Notes

The spectacular Seven Sisters make a fitting finale to the South Downs Way. The path ends on the outskirts of Eastbourne – you can either walk the extra couple of miles along the seafront into the town centre or get a taxi – there’s no shame in that after walking 100 miles or so in 8 days!

Highlights

  • Cuckmere Valley – where the river Cuckmere meanders it’s way to the sea
  • Seven Sisters – iconic, glorious coastal scenery, arguably the highlight of the whole South Downs Way
  • Beachy Head – spectacular chalk cliff jutting into the English channel with fine views west across the Seven Sisters and east over Eastbourne and beyond.