Typical Itinerary: 7 Day South Downs Way Walk

The itinerary below is a guide for how a typical 7 day walk along the entire length of The South Downs Way would be arranged. We can of course tailor your holiday to include half or full day’s breaks, and we can reverse the direction of the walk from Eastbourne to Winchester.

Starting Point – Queen Elizabeth Country Park & Buriton

This is the start of the original 80 mile national trail. We like to start this from the Queen Elizabeth Country Park as it has a visitor centre. The park was recently voted one of the country’s most cherished. You will see why when you start your walk here.

Queen Elizabeth CP or Buriton to Cocking – 11/12 miles

After walking out of the QE Country Park, you are now on the high ridge and the next few miles are through woodland offering shade and protection. Once past the turn for South Harting you reach Harting Down where the trees thin out and your views open out again. The path ascends Beacon Hill and then through the wooded Monkton Estate. Cocking Down leads you down to Warren Bottom and a short while after you see signs that take you off the trail slightly to reach the village of Cocking.

Cocking to Amberley – 11.5 miles

A chalk lane leads you back to the top of the ridgeway, through Heyshott and Graffham Downs nature reserves, then heading down crossing the old Roman road of Stane Street before climbing up Bignor Hill. The trail descends into the Arun Valley and then enters the pretty village of Amberley.

Amberley to Steyning – 11 miles

There is a spell of easy walking today followed by gradual and gentle inclines. The path then climbs steeply to Chanctonbury Ring, an ancient and magical circle of Beech trees. The path descends slowly around the southern edges of the Steyning Bowl , you leave the trail here and descend into our market town of Steyning for the evening. We oRen like to meet our guests for a drink…

Steyning to Pyecombe – 9 miles

From Steyning Bowl you will drop down and and cross the Adur valley, we believe this is one of the best days for views on the South Downs. After crossing the Adur, its back up onto the ridge and towards Devil’s Dyke, then onto Saddlescombe and into Pyecombe.

Pyecombe to Lewes – 9 miles

After leaving Pyecombe you’ll see signs for the Jack and Jill windmills which are famous local landmarks and can be seen for miles around. You will then walk across Ditchling Beacon and down towards Lewes.

Lewes to Alfriston – 14 miles

An easy section that passes Rodmell and Southease and then crosses the River Ouse. Back on the escarpment you have coastal views to the south, down to Cuckmere Haven. At Bostall Hill you begin to descent slowly to the picture postcard village of Alfriston with its Tudor Beam cottages, village green, pubs and tea rooms.

Alfriston to Eastbourne – 11 miles

The last section contains impressive coastal scenery. Saving the best until last, this section takes you through the Cuckmere Valley as the river makes its way to the sea. The Seven Sisters roll away in front of you as you stroll along the cliff tops. The grassy cliff path undulates to Beachy Head—a spectacular chalk cliff with panoramic views in all direc*ons. Slightly further on is the official end to the South Downs Way at Meads Village. Eastbourne is a half hour walk from here or if you are feeling weary, a short bus ride.

Finishing Point – Eastbourne

A traditional British seaside town, Eastbourne has many guest houses, shops and restaurants and very well served transport links to London or back to Winchester. We can add a nights accommodation here in Eastbourne…

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