This itinerary averages around 20 miles per day so will allow you to take it relatively slowly and give you time to enjoy your surroundings and visit 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 East Meon – 18 miles
Just after Exton there are temporary routes and it’s easy to get lost so take care to follow the signs.
- The cathedral city of Winchester.
- 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. You can also stay in a Yurt tent here if you don’t want to deviate from the way, rather than heading off the path into East Meon.
- The pretty village of East Meon.
Some steep climbs on this section but you’re rewarded with some great views for your efforts!
- 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 ( half hour (in total) detour from the way).
- Harting Down – fantastic views across the Weald, it’s possible to see the North Downs on a clear day.
- Heyshott Down – great views inland.
If you’re interested in history, it’s definitely worth making the detour to Bignor Roman Villa, with some of the best preserved Roman floor mosaics anywhere in the world.
- 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, it’s around a mile from the way.
- Pretty downland town of Steyning, just over a mile from the way.
Some of the best views in the whole of the South Downs National Park so keep your camera handy!
- 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 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.
Rodmell to Eastbourne – 19 miles
You are treated to some more fantastic views. 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!
- 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.