Bank Holiday walking ideas?

Another bank holiday weekend is fast approaching and everyone is itching to get outside and experience the wonders of nature at its best. May is also National Walking Month promoting the health benefits of regular walking and activity. Walking is free and is recognised as one the simplest ways to get more active, feel healthier and lose weight.

If you are stuck for ideas to get out walking in the national park this weekend then look no further:

Walk a section of the South Downs Way

The South Downs Way is a 100 mile (160 km) national trail which follows old tracks and drove ways along the ridge of the chalk Downs; its a linear path stretching from the cathedral city of Winchester in the west to the seaside town of Eastbourne in the east. Many people tackle the whole route over a number of days either cycling or walking but sometimes and particularly for a day trip its more convenient to do just part of it.

The entire length of the South Downs Way can be accessed by bus and train at convenient intervals, so we’ve put together this booklet of twelve spectacular walks. Walk a satisfying one-way stretch of the South Downs Way and then, if your route finishes near one of the many fantastic pubs, enjoy a well-earned drink and let someone else drive you home!

The South Downs Way in 12 spectacular walks – Download the booklet

Here’s one of the suggested walks from the booklet:

Try a Literary trail

Jane Austen

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the death of one of Britain’s most celebrated authors – Jane Austen.

Jane Austen spent most of her life in the beautiful county of Hampshire in South Downs National Park. From 1809 until 1817 Jane lived in the beautiful village of Chawton near Alton, where her brother James owned nearby Chawton House. Her home is now known as Jane Austen’s House Museum and is open to the public. It is in this house that Jane produced Pride and Prejudice, arguably her greatest work as well as revising manuscripts for Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey.

A new walking trail linking Alton to Chawton has been put together by Alton Chamber of Commerce and is now available to download.

Hampshire Cultural Trust is working with Jane Austen’s House Museum and many other partners across the county to celebrate Jane’s creativity and talent. For more details see – janeausten200.co.uk.

Edward Thomas

Edward Thomas, whom Ted Hughes called “the father of us all”, was best known as a war poet. However for the two decades before the war he walked and wrote about the “frail tracks” and “long white roads” of the South Downs.

Today, the literary trail around his home village of Steep (near Petersfield) takes hikers up to one of the most beautiful and distinctive views in the National Park, the densely forested hillsides called the Hangers. As you puff your way to the top you pass a memorial stone laid in 1937 by the then Poet Laureate John Masefield. Quoting Thomas, its inscription is a sort of walkers’ prayer: “And I rose up and knew I was tired and I continued my journey.”

Edward Thomas literary trail link

A trail for those with limited mobility

Enjoying the benefits of the great outdoors is not always possible for those with limited mobility. If you are restricted by a wheelchair, mobility scooter or push chair why not try one of our “Miles without stiles” trail leaflets.

This one at Seaford Head, East Sussex offers spectacular views over Cuckmere Haven and the Seven Sisters in East Sussex – Download the leaflet

Other ideas

For other downloadable guides and leaflets visit our Walking web page.