Our absolute priority remains the safety of our visitors as well as the 117,000 people living and working within the National Park.
Before travelling to the South Downs National Park, please read our latest guidelines on staying safe and exercising the “3 Rs” – Restraint, Responsibility and Respect
Below is a list of walking trails in the South Downs National Park. Click on the links to download.
If you’re walking in the National Park for the first time, you may find our top tips on enjoying the South Downs responsibly helpful.
South Downs Way
- Walks on the South Downs Way
This 100 mile (160km) route follows old tracks and drove ways along the ridge of the chalk Downs; from the cathedral city of Winchester in the west to the seaside town of Eastbourne in the east. The distinctive chalk and flint route is easy to follow and usually firm under foot. You’ll enjoy wide open views north over the Weald and south to the English Channel. Discover hidden churches, cosy pubs and, as the seasons change, everything from bluebells to blackberries.
Charleston is the Sussex home of the Bloomsbury Set, group of writers and artists, whose members included Virginia Woolf. The walk around Charleston offers visits to the landmarks and places that inspired the group.
- Ditchling Beacon & Devil’s Dyke
Two of the highest points on the South Downs Way, Ditchling Beacon and Devil’s Dyke both promise stunning panoramas of the low Weald and North Downs.
The villages of Cooksbridge, Offham and Hamsey sit in the East Sussex parish of Hamsey. Here you can discover a variety of landscapes ranging from high chalk downland, the water meadows of the Ouse and the heavy clay pasture and woodlands of the Low Weald. There are great viewpoints from the top of Offham Chalk Pit and on the approach from the Ouse Valley.
- Heritage Coast Walks
Seven Sisters Country Park comprises 280 hectares of chalk cliffs, a meandering river valley and open chalk grassland. Named after the famous Seven Sisters that form part of the chalk cliffs on the Sussex Heritage Coast, one of Britain’s finest unspoilt coastlines, it is a great place to explore.
- Lewes & Southease
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.
On the Southease and Lewes Brooks route, enjoy the path along the River Ouse and see the delightful villages of Rodmell and Southease including their interesting churches. The South Downs way section provides beautiful views.
- Ouse Valley
Southease and Rodmell are typical downland villages. Southease, the smaller of the two, boasts a tiny 12th century church. Rodmell also has a Norman church, and nearby you can visit Monk’s House, the country retreat of writer Virginia Woolf, now owned by the National Trust. In both villages you’ll find delightful thatched cottages, plus Rodmell is also home to a thriving village pub – the Abergavenny Arms.
This walk will take you through diverse woodland habitat and chalk streams, as well as the opportunity to see the picturesque church in East Chiltington.
Walk in the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling, who first stayed in Rottingdean as a young boy before deciding to settle in the village as an adult. This walk will take you through the small part of the ‘whale-backed Downs’ Kipling adored.
- Stanmer Park & the Chattri
Discover the beautiful woodland walks of the Stanmer Estate and visit the Chattri Memorial, commemorating the Hindu & Sikh soldiers that served in the First World War.
- Telscombe and Mill Hill
Take time out and explore the picturesque village of Telscombe. The village has retained its peaceful character due to the wealthy bookmaker Ambrose Gorham who left the village to a trust known as ‘Gorham’s Gift’.
- Buriton and East Meon
Buriton and East Meon are two lovely downland villages. These walks take you across chalk streams, downland and onto the South Downs Way.
- Cheriton and the River Itchen
One of the three main sources of the River Itchen lies just to the south of Cheriton. The Itchen is considered to be one of the best chalk rivers in Britain with its crystal clear waters filtered over thousands of years through the porous chalk of the South Downs.
Renowned for the quality of its fly fishing, access is restricted to the river and few footpaths run along its banks. Fortunately, within a three-mile stretch of the upper Itchen, five footbridges cross the river – this leaflet shows you how to make use of them to create a lovely circular walk. Don’t forget your binoculars to spot lots of wildlife on the river.
- Haslemere and Fernhurst
This walk takes you to the highest point in the South Downs National Park, Blackdown. Standing at 280 meters, it is only second to Leith Hill (295 meters) in the South East of England. The walk will also take you onto the Serpent Trail, a 100km trail that snakes through some of the most remarkable lowland heath in England.
- Haslemere – rail to ramble
As well as being a charming market town, Haslemere offers an important gateway to the South Downs National Park. The walks begin at Haslemere Railway Station and follow roads, lanes, tracks and footpaths to finish either in Liphook or Liss.
- Liphook and Milland
Discover the remnants of an iron-making era here in the South Downs National Park. The proximity of Milland to London and the coast, with the existence of iron ore, charcoal and water, meant this now peaceful landscape was once overcome by the sounds and smells of the iron-making trade.
- Meon Valley Trail
Discover a trail that leads you through English history. Once a railway line running from Fareham to Alton transporting local livestock and agricultural produce, the trail now spans 11 miles through picturesque countryside, from West Meon in the north to Wickham in the south.
Amberley is a chocolate box village with many old buildings, thatched cottages, a castle (now a private hotel), a church, two pubs and a shop. There is also a working pottery. You can clearly see where the River Arun carved out its channel through the chalk. Nowadays flood banks confine what was once a wild and wandering river.
Originally built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel and one of William the Conqueror’s most loyal barons, Arundel Castle was badly damaged during the civil war. The gothic style castle was restored in 1900 and is considered to be one of the great works of Victorian England.
- Centurion Way
The Centurion Way is a 5.5 mile (9km) path that runs between Chichester, Lavant and West Dean using the dismantled Chichester to Midhurst Railway, which closed in 1991. The name, Centurion Way, was suggested by a local schoolboy and is based on the fact that the path crosses the course of a Roman road. In December 2015, a new 1.5 mile (2.5km) path on the old railway line was opened giving year-round access to West Dean, for both walkers and cyclists.
Cissbury Ring, just north of the coastal town of Worthing, is one of the jewels in the crown of the South Downs National Park. It’s the largest hill fort in Sussex and has a history dating back over 5,000 years. Chanctonbury Ring is one of the most prominent landmarks along the South Downs Way. The ring is an Iron Age hill fort which is best known for the beech trees which dominate the site.
- Lavington and Duncton
Enjoy a beautiful circular walk in the landscapes around Lavington Common and Duncton Mill that inspired Ivon Hitchens. Painting in the open air around his Sussex home, Hitchens sought to capture the essence of the place and the resulting paintings, featuring swathes of bright colour, brought him international acclaim and a place in museums and collections around the world.
The magnificent Cowdray ruins dominate the water meadows in the thriving market town of Midhurst and were visited by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Their existence today, thanks to restoration following a devastating fire in 1793, give many clues to life in Tudor times.
- Rogate and Harting
Explore the patchwork fields of Rogate and the sublime, peaceful River Rother on this walk that also takes in South Harting, home to St. Gabriel Church, a major landmark of the Rother Valley.
Discover the peaceful countryside and stunning views of the Adur Valley. Mill Hill has excellent views across the Adur river valley, providing a great place for exploring and watching wildlife.
Explore open, hilltop pastures, sheltered nature reserves and the downland villages of Singleton and Charlton.
- Steyning, Chanctonbury and Washington
Steyning town is rich in history, with scores of timberframed buildings in and around the ancient high street. It was once a port on the River Adur and was prized by the Normans; their legacy today includes the magnificent parish church and the ruins of the castle in nearby Bramber. Visit some of the many shops, restaurants, pubs and tea rooms, or pop by for the monthly farmers’ market.