Here are our top tips if you are planning to walk the South Downs Way:
- Do some training – many of those who walk the South Downs Way underestimate how challenging it is. It’s often described as one of the ‘easier’ long distance walking in the UK which is true in some ways at least. As it’s a national trail, the path is well maintained with clear signposting (most of the time!) and at no point are you anywhere too remote. However, there are lots of ups and downs, so be prepared for that. Doing some training beforehand which includes some hill walking will really help you enjoy the experience.
- Choose your footwear carefully – the main reason that people are unable to complete the walk or have to miss a day is due to blisters. The repetitive nature of long distance walking over several days means that if you don’t have appropriate and comfortable footwear blisters are likely to be a constant companion. To avoid this, make sure you have some comfortable walking shoes which you have worn in and some good walking socks (or a couple of pairs of thinner socks).
- Take your time – the South Downs Way is a beautiful route with lots of fantastic scenery, beautiful villages, cracking pubs and other points of interest along the way. Unless your planning on doing the walk as a challenge, take your time to really enjoy it. This means not overdoing the daily distances and ideally having a rest day somewhere along the way to rest your legs and explore the area more fully.
- Pack a hat and high factor sunscreen – much of the South Downs Way is ridge top walking which, by its very nature, is pretty exposed without much in the way of shade.
- Pack some waterproofs – as above really, there’s little cover from rain for much of the route and with the vagaries of the British summer you can expect sunshine and some rain along the way.
- Walk from west to east – you’re more likely to have the prevailing winds at your back and this means you finish the walk with the spectacular coastal route via the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head.
- Travel light – the last thing you want is to be weighed down by a heavy pack. We’ll transfer your luggage so that you can walk with a small day pack and really enjoy the walk without the weight of the world on your shoulders.
If you want more tips and advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you have about walking the South Downs Way.