South Downs Way

Description

    SW
  1. Name South Downs Way
  2. Length of trail 163 km, 101 miles
  3. Length in days 8 days
  4. Start of trail Eastbourne
  5. Traildino grading EW, Easy walk, nature trail

South Downs Way

101 miles, 162 km, 8 days

National Trail

The South Downs Way is a National Trail, like its northern neighbour, the North Downs Way.

The Way is one of the most popular walks in England. The 100 mile or so start in Bournemouth, and here the walker is offered two choices. The coastal path runs along spectacular chalk cliffs, among them the Seven Sisters. This stretch is for walkers only. The inland leg is also accessible for cyclists and on horseback, as is the rest of the trail up till its end point in the historical city of Winchester.
 
The Downs essentially is a range of broad hills, mostly bare, cultivated with crops and grassland, offering good views over a patchwork of fields on both sides. The path mostly stays on the crest of the hills, but often dips into North South running ceasures where one usually has to cross, often in perilous  circumstances, busy roads. That's one thing to mention: sandwiched between London and the cities in the south, this is a busy part of the country. 
 
Originally, the chalk hills offered a rich and varied biosphere for all sorts of rare plants and insects, but these days, the only places you may spot these living treasures, are sites protected by conservationist organisations. All the rest of the country is quite dullified, the result of the interaction of farmers wishing to earn a decent living and consumers wishing to pay low prices.
 
Accommodation on the trail itself is scarce. A few Youth Hostels and the odd village. Most of the villages lie in the lowlands, way off the path. But the before mentioned suicide road crossings come in handy here, because regular bus services will carry you off and on the trail, into the villages and even seaside resorts like Brighton.
 
It may be lovely weather on the downs, with all kinds of birds and warblers whirling around, and even Red Kite and Raven in the air. But there also may be ferocious winds and rains, which, in a open landscape, is surely going to test your guts: be well prepared. 
Select some tracks
South Downs Way, 164km
South Downs Way (Inland Route), 13km

Opinions

Rate 8.8 | 4 votes | No 8. in United Kingdom
  • Henk Nouws May 2016
  • Rate 8
  • Positive Pretty villages, great pubs
  • Negative A busy area, between London and the South Coast
  • Rory
  • Rate 8
  • Positive The South Downs Way is covered in history, a truly beautiful walk. At times open and windy, others sheltered by woodland, but all the time a real joy to walk. Easy going, charming scenery and great pubs either side of the downs. I live on the South Downs and will say that this is the best way to experience this part of England.
  • Aaron Barnes August 2006
  • Rate 10
  • Positive Everything. Easy walking with fantastic views from start to finish. Plentyful accomodation. My favourite trail so far (2012, walked in 2006) and it will be difficult to beat. Just do it!
  • Negative I can't think of anything other than - watch out for rampaging cyclists! (Disclaimer - cast majority of cyclists are excellent - there are however always one or two idiots that seem to be intent on mowing down walkers!) Much is classified bridleway so just be aware that the route is well used by various different groups and can be busy!
More opinions…

Map

South Downs Way

Books

The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2015
  • Also available from:
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
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De Zwerver
Netherlands
2015
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2018
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
Stanfords
United Kingdom
2019
  • DK Eyewitness `Back Roads` Great Britain
  • Take to the open road with Back Roads Great Britain and discover 25 leisurely drives through the country`s beautiful villages and stunning landscapes. Explore the spectacular scenery of the Lake District, follow a whisky trail through the Highlands or discover picturesque coastal villages in Cornwall. Packed with insider tips and information,... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
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De Zwerver
Netherlands
2019
  • Reisgids Back Roads Great Britain | Dorling Kindersley
  • Take to the open road with Back Roads Great Britain and discover 25 leisurely drives through the country`s beautiful villages and stunning landscapes. Explore the spectacular scenery of the Lake District, follow a whisky trail through the Highlands or discover picturesque coastal villages in Cornwall. Packed with insider tips and information,... Read more
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2019
  • Also available from:
  • Stanfords, United Kingdom
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
» Click to open
Stanfords
United Kingdom
2019
  • Sussex: AA 50 Walks
  • Walking is one of Britain`s favourite leisure activities, and AA 50 Walks in Sussex features a variety of mapped walks of two to ten miles, to suit all abilities. The book features all the practical detail you need, accompanied by fascinating background reading on the history and wildlife of Sussex, and clear full colour mapping for ease of... Read more
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
  • Also available from:
  • Stanfords, United Kingdom
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Everest England
  • A unique hill-walking guide with a culminative ascent of the height of Everest, written in Peter Owen Jones` unique descriptive style. Scaling the peaks of Everest, the world`s highest mountain, is the ultimate physical and mental challenge that the human race can aspire to. But as it takes years of preparation and a minimum of £25,000 to... Read more
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • East Sussex - Year Round Walks
  • The twenty circular walks in this volume vary in length from 4 to 6 and three quarter miles and are enjoyable all the year round. The author has divided the routes into seasons to show each at its very best. There are also notes on what can be seen along the way from castles to timber-framed houses and from butterflies and moths to dog roses... Read more
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2019
  • West Sussex & the South Downs Walks 2019
  • The Pathfinder(R) Guide to West Sussex & the South Downs Walks contains 28 fantastic circular walks across the county, much of which lies inside the new South Downs National Park. Walkers of all abilities can experience a variety of walking routes in a range of difficulty with this Pathfinder(R) guide which takes you from gentle riverside... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Stanfords, United Kingdom
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
2019
  • West Sussex & the South Downs Walks
  • The Pathfinder(R) Guide to West Sussex & the South Downs Walks contains 28 fantastic circular walks across the county, much of which lies inside the new South Downs National Park. Walkers of all abilities can experience a variety of walking routes in a range of difficulty with this Pathfinder(R) guide which takes you from gentle riverside... Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2019
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More books…

Maps

Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Kent & East Sussex Cycle Tours
  • ”Kent and East Sussex” is one of 10 titles in the ”Cycle Tours” series. The series has now been in continuous print for more than 15 years and with regular route revisions and updating the successful formula has gathered a large following.Each book in the series contains 20 routes all of which are either totally new or have been re-ridden and... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Surrey & West Sussex Cycle Tours
  • ”Surrey and West Sussex” is one of 10 titles in the updated ”Cycle Tours” series. The series has now been in continuous print for more than 15 years and with regular route revisions and updating the successful formula has gathered a large following. Each book in the series contains 20 routes all of which are either totally new or have been... Read more
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
  • Also available from:
  • Stanfords, United Kingdom
» Click to open
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Eastbourne & Beachy Head AA Walker`s Map 30
  • Eastbourne and Beachy Head at 1:25,000 in a series of Walker’s Maps published by the AA with the cartography from the Ordnance Survey’s Explorer series. Coverage includes Seven Sisters and the Cuckmere Haven, the start of the South Downs Way, Seaford, Newhaven, Alfriston, Firle, Glynde, Ringmer, Uckfield, Buxted, Heathfield, Herstmonceux,... Read more
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
2017
  • South Downs Way A-Z Adventure Atlas
  • The South Downs Way at 1:25,000 in a series of handy A5 size Adventure Atlases from Geographers` A-Z Map Company with cartography from the Ordnance Survey’s Explorer series. The atlas shows the whole course of this national trail from Winchester to Eastbourne, with the variants via the Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters, or via Jevington.To see... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
» Click to open
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2017
  • Wandelkaart Adventure Atlas South Downs Way | A-Z Map Company
  • The South Downs Way at 1:25,000 in a series of handy A5 size Adventure Atlases from Geographers` A-Z Map Company with cartography from the Ordnance Survey’s Explorer series. The atlas shows the whole course of this national trail from Winchester to Eastbourne, with the variants via the Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters, or via Jevington.To see... Read more
» Click to close
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • England Coast Path Adventure Map - Minehead to Brean Down
  • The A-Z Adventure Series of maps combines the best of OS and A-Z, creating the perfect companion for walkers, off-road cyclists, horse riders and anyone wishing to explore the great outdoors.This official Minehead to Brean Down Adventure Map covers a 58 mile (93km) section of the England Coast Path, a new National Trail around England`s coast.... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
» Click to open
De Zwerver
Netherlands
» Click to close
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
  • Also available from:
  • Stanfords, United Kingdom
» Click to open
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Brighton & The South Downs AA Walker`s Map 15
  • Brighton and The South Downs at 1:25,000 in a series of Walker’s Maps published by the AA with the cartography from the Ordnance Survey’s Explorer series. Coverage includes Hove, Shorehan-by-Sea, Upper Beeding, Henfield, Hickstead, Hurstpierpoint, Burgess Hill, Ditchling, Plumpton, Lewes, Glynde, Ringmer, Newhaven, etc.Maps in the AA Walker’s... Read more
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Chichester & The South Downs AA Walker`s Map 20
  • Chichester and The South Downs at 1:25,000 in a series of Walker’s Maps published by the AA with the cartography from the Ordnance Survey’s Explorer series. Maps in the AA Walker’s series are identical to the OS Explorer maps and provide plenty of recreational and tourist information, indicating in England and Wales the traditional public... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • South Downs Way Harvey National Trail XT40
  • The South Downs Way, a 160km / 100 mile National Trail from Eastbourne to Winchester, presented at 1:40,000 on a light, waterproof and tear-resistant map from Harvey Map Services. The route is shown on nine panels, with additional small street plans of Eastbourne and Winchester. Map legend and the accompanying notes are also in French and... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
» Click to open
De Zwerver
Netherlands
  • Wandelkaart - Fietskaart South Downs Way | Harvey Maps
  • The South Downs Way, a 160km / 100 mile National Trail from Eastbourne to Winchester, presented at 1:40,000 on a light, waterproof and tear-resistant map from Harvey Map Services. The route is shown on nine panels, with additional small street plans of Eastbourne and Winchester. Map legend and the accompanying notes are also in French and... Read more
» Click to close
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Great Cycle Routes: The North and South Downs
  • Great Cycle Routes: The North and South Downs provides a selection of enjoyable on and off road rides in the area, varying length and level of difficulty, and ranging in duration from a leisurely couple of hours to full day excursions. The book features twenty five individually graded routes, each with a factfile and full information. Useful... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
2017
  • Thames Path A-Z Adventure Atlas
  • The A-Z Adventure series features the accuracy and quality of Ordnance Survey`s Explorer mapping in a convenient book, therefore eliminating the need to fold and re-fold a large sheet map to the desired area. OS Explorer is Ordnance Survey`s most detailed mapping at a scale of 1:25 000 showing public rights of way, open access land, national... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Netherlands
  • Bol.com, Belgium
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
» Click to open
Bol.com
Netherlands
2017
  • Thames Path Adventure Atlas
  • The A-Z Adventure series features the accuracy and quality of Ordnance Survey`s Explorer mapping in a convenient book, therefore eliminating the need to fold and re-fold a large sheet map to the desired area. OS Explorer is Ordnance Survey`s most detailed mapping at a scale of 1:25 000 showing public rights of way, open access land, national... Read more
Bol.com
Belgium
2017
  • Thames Path Adventure Atlas
  • The A-Z Adventure series features the accuracy and quality of Ordnance Survey`s Explorer mapping in a convenient book, therefore eliminating the need to fold and re-fold a large sheet map to the desired area. OS Explorer is Ordnance Survey`s most detailed mapping at a scale of 1:25 000 showing public rights of way, open access land, national... Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2017
  • Wandelkaart Adventure Atlas Thames Path | A-Z Map Company
  • The A-Z Adventure series features the accuracy and quality of Ordnance Survey`s Explorer mapping in a convenient book, therefore eliminating the need to fold and re-fold a large sheet map to the desired area. OS Explorer is Ordnance Survey`s most detailed mapping at a scale of 1:25 000 showing public rights of way, open access land, national... Read more
» Click to close
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • England Coast Path - Camber to Folkestone Adventure Map
  • The A-Z Adventure Series of maps combines the best of OS and A-Z, creating the perfect companion for walkers, off-road cyclists, horse riders and anyone wishing to explore the great outdoors.This official Camber to Folkestone Adventure Map section of the England Coast Path, a new National Trail around England`s coast. More than just a path, it... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Netherlands
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • England Coast Path Camber to Folkestone Adventure Map
  • The A-Z Adventure Series of maps combines the best of OS and A-Z, creating the perfect companion for walkers, off-road cyclists, horse riders and anyone wishing to explore the great outdoors.This official Camber to Folkestone Adventure Map section of the England Coast Path, a new National Trail around England`s coast. More than just a path, it... Read more
Bol.com
Belgium
  • England Coast Path Camber to Folkestone Adventure Map
  • The A-Z Adventure Series of maps combines the best of OS and A-Z, creating the perfect companion for walkers, off-road cyclists, horse riders and anyone wishing to explore the great outdoors.This official Camber to Folkestone Adventure Map section of the England Coast Path, a new National Trail around England`s coast. More than just a path, it... Read more
» Click to close
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • England Coast Path - Folkestone to Ramsgate Adventure Map
  • The A-Z Adventure Series of maps combines the best of OS and A-Z, creating the perfect companion for walkers, off-road cyclists, horse riders and anyone wishing to explore the great outdoors.This official Folkestone to Ramsgate Adventure Map section of the England Coast Path, a new National Trail around England`s coast. More than just a path,... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Netherlands
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • England Coast Path Folkestone to Ramsgate Adventure Map
  • The A-Z Adventure Series of maps combines the best of OS and A-Z, creating the perfect companion for walkers, off-road cyclists, horse riders and anyone wishing to explore the great outdoors.This official Folkestone to Ramsgate Adventure Map section of the England Coast Path, a new National Trail around England`s coast. More than just a path,... Read more
Bol.com
Belgium
  • England Coast Path Folkestone to Ramsgate Adventure Map
  • The A-Z Adventure Series of maps combines the best of OS and A-Z, creating the perfect companion for walkers, off-road cyclists, horse riders and anyone wishing to explore the great outdoors.This official Folkestone to Ramsgate Adventure Map section of the England Coast Path, a new National Trail around England`s coast. More than just a path,... Read more
» Click to close
More maps…

Walking holidays

Macs Adventure
United Kingdom
  • South Downs Way Self Guided Walking Holiday
  • South Downs Way walking holidays from Macs Adventure. Walk the south Downs Way self guided from Winchester to Eastbourne. The South Downs Way stretches 100 miles from the historic city of Winchester to the coastal chalk hills on the South Coast. Located within an hour from the country’s capital city, this National Trail is the perfect escape... Read more
More walking holidays…

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