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Best winter walks in East Sussex



Best winter walks in East Sussex

November 22, 2021

Winter is a good time for walking in the South Downs and East Sussex is home to plenty of gems for you to discover.

With plenty of pubs to keep you fuelled before, during and after your walk, there’s something for everyone.

Here’s our list of the best Christmas and New Year walks in East Sussex.

Seven Sisters Country Park

The snow-topped white chalk cliffs of Seven Sisters with a shingle beach in the bottom left, a grey sky behind and a calm sea.
Seven Sisters – a magical place to visit © Lee Prince

A trip to Seven Sisters Country Park is always a magical experience.

Named after the famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs that form part of the Sussex Heritage Coast, it is one of the finest sections of unspoilt coastline in England.

The Country Park also has one of our Miles Without Stiles routes, which are suitable for push chairs and people with limited mobility or those using wheelchairs or mobility scooters.

The route is just over a mile long and passes along the Cuckmere river before taking in views of the Seven Sisters on Cuckmere Haven beach.

For lovers of woodland, Friston Forest is a great place to explore and feel the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet.

For those who prefer rivers and valleys on their walks, just follow the Cuckmere River northbound to picturesque Alfriston.

If looking for a pub along the way, The Plough and Harrow in Litlington village offers a selection of cask ales from the local Longman Brewery, as does the 14th century George Inn, in the heart of Alfriston, which was first licensed in 1397!

Alternatively, Cadence Cycling Hub in Litlington makes an ideal refueling stop for cyclists and walkers, serving up locally-famous cheese toasties.

Stanmer Park

An old church with a tall spire in the middle of a frosted field with a line of trees behind and a bright blue sky
Records of Stanmer Church go back to 1232. In 1838, the third Earl of Chichester, Henry Thomas Pelham, decided to demolish the old church and build a new one on the same site.
© Jamie Fielding

Covering approximately 5,000 acres, Stanmer Park has a wealth of history to be discovered.

The church, the village and the manor house stand on sites of much earlier
versions of themselves, with some of the building materials being reused in the current buildings.

The recently restored walled garden – One Garden – is a collaboration between Plumpton College, Brighton and Hove City Council and the South Downs National Park Authority. The onsite One Kitchen serves fresh food made from produce grown on site and the wider Plumpton Estate, whilst the shop sells fresh produce, deli items and Plumpton Estate wine, cheese and meat.

Our walks leaflet suggests a 5.5 mile circular route through the semi-ancient Stanmer Woods, home to old and gnarled beech trees. Come the spring, the woodland floor turns into a carpet of purple and violet as bluebells emerge – a unique spectacle.

Charleston, Ditchling and Monk’s House

The hills of the South Downs covered in a blanket of white snow
The view of the Eastern Downs from Ditchling Beacon during the ‘Beast from the East’ in 2018
© Sam Moore

Writers, artists, poets and musicians have long drawn inspiration from the landscapes of the South Downs.

Earlier this year, the South Downs National Park Authority teamed up three heritage venues in East Sussex – Charleston FarmhouseMonk’s House and Ditchling Museum of Art+Craft – to launch a new immersive walking experience telling the unique story of each. 

The ‘In Their Footsteps’ app is a self-guided audio tour through the East Sussex countryside.

The walks are a great opportunity to get back to some of the National Park’s amazing cultural venues, explore the beautiful surrounding countryside and villages and learn about the artists who fell in love with the South Downs. 

You can download the App from your phone’s app store:

Glynde

A long fence with a diminishing perspective sitting on the top of white snow covered mount Caburn, Lewes, East Sussex, United Kingdom, snow covered rolling hills are behind, a bright shining sun sits in the middle of a blue sky on a cold, clear winters day.
The snow topped Mount Caburn, part of the Glynde circular route. © Gill Copeland

Home to the world famous Glyndebourne Opera House, Glynde is a quintessential East Sussex downland village.

Walking the Glynde route, you can see Mount Caburn hill fort and National Nature Reserve, Glynde Place (an Elizabethan mansion), plus panoramic views of the South Downs National Park, Ouse Valley and Lewes.

A little further down the A27 is the chocolate-box village of Firle, situated at the foot of Firle Beacon, one of the highest points in the South Downs National Park.

In the heart of Firle lies the Ram Inn, a friendly country pub serving hearty British fare and with a warm fire on the go during the winter months.