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Literary Heroes

Literary Heroes

Literary Heroes Trail

Circular walking trail from Lewes to Rodmell and Monk’s House along the River Ouse.

©National Trust Images/James Dobson

Monk’s House, a tranquil 17th-century weather-boarded cottage where Leonard and the novelist Virginia Woolf lived from 1919 until Leonard’s death in 1969, contains many of their favourite items and furniture.

The delightful cottage garden, which was Leonard’s passion, was a source of creative inspiration for Virginia who would walk through the garden each morning to her writing lodge, or view it from her bedroom during her periods of illness. In her diary, Virginia wrote; ‘“I had so much of the most profound interest to write here – a dialogue of the soul with the soul – and I have let it slip – why? Because of feeding the goldfish, of looking at the new pond, of playing bowls… happiness.”

Download the River Ouse Walk and walk from Lewes along the Sussex Ouse Valley Way or pick up the trail at Southease Station.


Getting around
Distance 4 miles from Lewes railway station to Southease to join the 3.5 mile circular River Ouse Walk.
Duration Half day, but can be extended to full day with longer walk and lunch.
Grade MODERATE short walk from Southease or ENERGETIC longer walk from Lewes.
Directions – Train Train to Southease, then crossover Southease Bridge and follow the River Ouse Walk.
Directions – Bus Compass Bus 123 to Rodmell Mon – Sat. Alight at the Abergavenney Arms and walk 500 yards along The Street until you reach Monk’s House on the right-hand side.
Directions – Walk
  1. Exit Lewes railways station and turn right up Station Street, then left into Lansdown Place.
  2. Continue straight along Friars Walk and turn right at the mini-roundabout into Court Road.
  3. Bear left, past the car park and turn right.
  4. Continue past the old level-crossing gate into the Railway Land Nature Reserve and follow the Sussex Ouse Valley Way along the river side and meadow banks until you Southease Bridge, then follow the River Ouse Walk through Rodmell and the river meadowbanks.
  5. Return to Lewes on the train from Southease, or follow the Sussex Ouse Valley Way along the river banks back to town.


Arrange for your visit to coincide with the Charleston Literary Festival, an annual event where books, ideas and creativity bloom or find out about other festivals that may interest you in FESTIVAL FROLICS.


Spend another day exploring THE BLOOMSBURY TRAIL and Charleston, the home of Bloomsbury Group artists, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.



"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."