South Downs Way - Eight Days - Medium Pace (1)

Photo of Cocking

This is suitable for anyone with a decent level of fitness. There is one very long day but generally this will allow you to enjoy your surroundings and have a little time to explore the towns and villages you are staying in.

To find out lots more information about the towns and villages, including pubs, hotels and activities, please click on the names to see our destination guides.

Distances are on the path and don't include getting to and from your overnight stops, and don't forget, you can do this in either direction.

Winchester to Exton - 12 Miles
Photo of Winchester Cathedral

Discovery Notes

Starting from the magnificent Winchester cathedral, this is a gentle(ish) introduction to the South Downs Way.

Highlights

  • The cathedral city of Winchester.
  • Beacon Hill – it’s a nature reserve and commands outstanding views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Old Winchester hill – great views and there is a fine Iron Age hill-fort site at the top.

Rest Stops

  • Beacon Hill has lovely views so a good stop if you’ve brought your own lunch.

Overnight Stops

  • Exton - on the path
  • Corhampton - one mile from the path
  • Warnford - two miles from the path
  • West Meon - three miles from the path
Exton to Buriton - 12 Miles
Photo of Buriton

Discovery Notes

Just after Exton there are temporary routes and it’s easy to get lost so take care to follow the signs.

Highlights

  • Old Winchester hill – great views and there is a fine Iron Age hill-fort site at the top.
  • Butser Hill – highest point on the South Downs Way at 270 metres.
  • Queen Elizabeth Country Park – large area of beautiful mixed woodland.
  • The picturesque village of Buriton

Rest Stops

  • The Old George Inn, East Meon – a mile or so from the way, this is a great pub with lots of character and excellent food.

Overnight Stops

Buriton to Cocking - 11 Miles
View to Harting from Harting Down

Discovery Notes

There's lots of woodland on this stretch so plenty of shade.

Highlights

  • Harting Down – fantastic views across the Weald, it’s possible to see the North Downs on a clear day.

Rest Stops

  • Harting Down – superb views make this an ideal picnic spot if you fancy an early break.

Overnight Stops

Photo of Houghton bridge

Discovery Notes

A fairly easy day of walking, and it’s worth making the detour down to Bignor Villa and the White Horse pub.

Highlights

  • Heyshott Down – great views inland.
  • Bignor Roman Villa – dating back to 3rd Century AD, with amazingly preserved mosaic floors. It’s 1.5 miles from the South Downs Way and just off the old Roman road Stane Street.
  • Bignor Hill – fantastic views right along the Downs.
  • Amberley Working Museum – excellent museum of local history, just off the way.
  • Amberley village – one of the prettiest villages in the South Downs, just off the way.
  • First views of the sea to the south.

Rest Stops

  • White Horse pub, Sutton – great for a lunch stop,and at this point you’ve got around three quarters of the day’s walk behind you. It’s a 1.5 miles detour from the way, but definitely worth it. If you do make the detour, it’s close to Bignor Villa so you can kill two birds with one stone.
  • Bignor Hill – great views along the downs and inland, perfect for a picnic!

Overnight Stops

Photo of Bramber Castle

Discovery Notes

A relatively easy day, so you can take your time. If you arrive in Steyning early, there’s lots to see and do.

Highlights

  • Views of Amberley Brooks nature reserve after climbing out of Houghton Bridge and Amberley.
  • Chanctonbury Ring – said to be haunted, it’s the site of an Iron Age hill-fort dating back to the 6th Century BC. Fantastic views out to sea and along the downs.
  • Bramber Castle – the remains of a Norman castle on the banks of the River Adur, less than a mile from Steyning.
  • Pretty downland town of Steyning.

Rest Stops

  • Chanctonbury Ring – fantastic views and you’re well over half way, the perfect place for a pitstop!
  • Frankland Arms, Washington – this is a decent enough pub just over half way. It’s just under a mile from the way with the obligatory steep climb back up!

Overnight Stops

Steyning to Lewes - 19 Miles
Jill Windmill from Jack & Jill Windmills

Discovery Notes

A very long day, so make sure you get an early start. Lovely views all the way out to sea, along the length of the downs and inland.

Highlights

  • River Adur - views south towards the stunning hillside Abbey at Lancing College.
  • Fulking Hill – spectacular 360 degree views.
  • Devils’s Dyke - legend has it that the Devil dug the valley to drown the parishioners of the Weald.
  • Jack & Jill Windmills – famous local landmarks that can be seen from miles around.
  • Ditchling Beacon – heading east from here, there are fantastic views inland across the weald and towards ashdown forest.
  • Lewes – full of history, lots to see and do.

Rest Stops

  • The Bull, Ditchling – an excellent pub with great food and a spacious beer garden.
  • The White Horse, Ditchling – another great pub with an a very good selection of real ale.
  • Both are a mile or so from the way with a steep climb back up.
  • Ditchling Beacon – away from the car park, this makes an excellent place to stop for a packed lunch, being just over half way and commanding great views.

Overnight Stops

  • Lewes - two miles from the path
Lewes to Alfriston - 14 Miles
Photo of Alfriston

Discovery Notes

There are stunning ridge top views most of the way, keep your camera handy!

Highlights

  • House, Rodmell – this was the home of Virginia Woolf, now owned by the National Trust and open to the public.
  • Iford Hill – great views inland towards Mount Caburn to the north and the sea to the south.
  • The picture postcard village of Alfriston.

Rest Stops

  • Abergavenney Arms, Rodmell – this is a great pub just off the way, makes a good early lunch stop.
  • Beddingham Hill and the surrounding area offer great views so are perfect places to stop and enjoy a sandwich.
  • The Ram Inn, West Firle – this is a beautiful old pub with bags of character and excellent food. It’s a mile from the way but worth the effort. The obligatory steep climb back on to the downs faces you if you stop here for lunch.

Overnight Stops

Alfriston to Eastbourne - 11 Miles
Photo of the Seven Sisters

Discovery Notes

The spectacular Seven Sisters make a fitting finale to the South Downs Way. The path ends on the outskirts of Eastbourne – you can either walk the extra couple of miles along the seafront into the town centre or get a taxi – there’s no shame in that after walking 100 miles or so in 8 days!

Highlights

  • Cuckmere Valley – where the river Cuckmere meanders it’s way to the sea
  • Seven Sisters – iconic, glorious coastal scenery, arguably the highlight of the whole South Downs Way
  • Beachy Head – spectacular chalk cliff jutting into the English channel with fine views west across the Seven Sisters and east over Eastbourne and beyond.

Rest Stops

  • Birling Gap – there’s a pub and cafe here right on the way. The cafe has uninterrupted views out to sea.
  • The Tiger Inn, East Dean – this is an outstanding pub with lots of character and an idyllic village green location. A mile or so from the way but well worth it, highly recommended.
  • Seven Sisters Country park – pick a spot to sit and enjoy a packed lunch, with great views along the coast and out to sea.

Overnight Stops

  • Eastbourne - on the path, one mile to the centre
 

Add your comments below: