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, 160km
South Downs Way (Inland Route), 13km

Opinions

Rate 9.0 | 2 votes | No 2. in United Kingdom
  • 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

Cicerone Press
United Kingdom
2011
  • Walking in Sussex
  • Walking in Sussex describes 40 circular walks that show the great variety of scenery and history in Sussex. Short walks and more demanding routes, including outline descriptions of some of the region's long-distance paths. Covers the South Downs, High Weald and Ashdown Forest. Read more
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  • Stanfords, United Kingdom
  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
2011
  • Sussex Walking
  • Accomplished walker Kev Reynolds’s Cicerone guide to Walking in Sussex is a thorough exploration of one of the Home Counties’ finest walking destinations. Routes across Sussex have been woven for many generations; with paths and track-ways whose purpose was to aid the hunter, home-maker, flint-miner, iron-worker, soldier, farmer, smuggler,... Read more
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2011
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Cicerone Press
United Kingdom
2015
  • The South Downs Way
  • Guidebook for walking the South Downs Way National Trail, a glorious 100 mile (160km) National Trail between Winchester and Eastbourne through the South Downs National Park, described in both directions over 12 stages. Easy walking on many ancient and historical tracks, fine wooded areas, delightful river valleys and lovely little villages. Read more
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  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
  • Bol.com, Netherlands
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2015
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2015
  • Wandelgids South Downs Way, Described east–west and west–east | Cicerone
  • Uitstekende wandelgids van dit geweldige gebied. goed beschreven met veel praktische informatie om de route te kunnen lopen, inclusief redelijke kaarten. Guidebook for walking the South Downs Way long-distance path that leads the walker along the 100 miles (160km) between Eastbourne and Winchester, high on the escarpment, exploring the Sussex... Read more
Bol.com
Netherlands
2015
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Cicerone Press
United Kingdom
2015
  • The National Trails
  • This inspirational guidebook looks at each of the UK's 19 National Trails, with information that allows ease of comparison and contrast, inspiring you to find out more and to take up a long-distance challenge. Some Trails are short and easy, others much longer, many have strong themes - they may follow a coastline, or traverse ranges of hills. Read more
  • Also available from:
  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
  • Bol.com, Netherlands
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2015
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2015
Bol.com
Netherlands
2015
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Cicerone Press
United Kingdom
2016
  • Walks in the South Downs National Park
  • Guidebook with 40 circular walks throughout the South Downs National Park, exploring the beautiful chalk hills between Eastbourne and Winchester. The walks range from under 5 miles to 11 miles, including Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters, Ditchling Beacon and hundreds of prehistoric sites. Accessible all year, but wild flowers best in spring. Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Stanfords, United Kingdom
  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
  • Bol.com, Netherlands
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
2016
  • South Downs National Park Walks
  • Guidebook to 40 day walks in the South Downs National Park. The walks, which are designed to suit all abilities, are dotted all over the National Park and range from 43/4 miles (7.5km) to 11 miles (17.5km). Each walk is circular, and where possible begins and ends at a place accessible by public transport. With some of the most iconic... Read more
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2016
  • Walks in the South Downs National Park
  • Guidebook with 40 circular walks throughout the South Downs National Park, exploring the beautiful chalk hills between Eastbourne and Winchester. The walks range from under 5 miles to 11 miles, including Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters, Ditchling Beacon and hundreds of prehistoric sites. Accessible all year, but wild flowers best in spring. Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2016
  • Wandelgids Walking in the South Downs National Park | Cicerone
  • Goede wandelgids uit de bekende Cicerone serie, dus met mooie foto's en duidelijke routebeschrijvingen en kaartjes. Guidebook to 40 day walks in the South Downs National Park. The walks, which are designed to suit all abilities, are dotted all over the National Park and range from 4¾ miles (7.5km) to 11 miles (17.5km). Each walk is circular,... Read more
Bol.com
Netherlands
2016
  • Walks in the South Downs National Park
  • Guidebook with 40 circular walks throughout the South Downs National Park, exploring the beautiful chalk hills between Eastbourne and Winchester. The walks range from under 5 miles to 11 miles, including Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters, Ditchling Beacon and hundreds of prehistoric sites. Accessible all year, but wild flowers best in spring. Read more
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • The Rough Guide to Kent, Sussex and Surrey
  • The full-colour Rough Guide to Kent, Sussex and Surrey is the ultimate guide to this beautiful corner of England, with clear maps and lively accounts of both the big cultural attractions and the smaller, quirkier sights, and full coverage of vibrant Brighton and historic Canterbury.The region is fast gaining a reputation as a foodie hotspot,... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
2013
  • Sussex and South Downs: AA 50 Walks
  • Walking is one of Britain`s favourite leisure activities, and this guide features a variety of mapped walks to suit all abilities. The book features all of the practical detail you need, accompanied by fascinating background reading on the history and wildlife of Sussex, and cear mapping for ease of use. Every route has been colour coded... Read more
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  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
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  • Bol.com, Netherlands
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2013
  • 50 Walks in Sussex
  • Walking is one of Britain's favourite leisure activities, and this guide features a variety of mapped walks to suit all abilities. The book features all of the practical detail you need, accompanied by fascinating background reading on the history and wildlife of Sussex, and cear mapping for ease of use. Every route has been colour coded... Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2013
  • Wandelgids 50 Walks in Sussex and south Downs | AA
  • Uitstekende wandelgids met een aantal dagtochten tussen de 5 en 13 kilometer. Niet heel erg lang dus, maar wel op de mooiste plekken en goed beschreven en prima kaartmateriaal. A variety of mostly mapped walks to suit both the casual walker and the more serious hiker are contained in this illustrated guide. Detailed maps include information on... Read more
Bol.com
Netherlands
2013
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
2016
  • New Forest, Hampshire & South Downs: 2016
  • Pathfinder Hampshire(R) covers parts of the New Forest, South Downs and Fullerton. This selection offers interest, regional variety and balance of routes in Hampshire providing the best walks in the area. From an easy stroll through Bishop`s Dyke to the much more challenging walks in the East Meion and the Downs this volume contains something... Read more
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  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
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De Zwerver
Netherlands
2016
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
2014
  • East Sussex & the South Downs
  • East Sussex & The South Downs in the Pathfinder Guides series, produced in association with Ordnance Survey and published by Crimson; comprising a range of walking guides to popular British destinations. Each Pathfinder guide includes 28 varied walks ranging from easy strolls to exhilarating hikes and is accompanied by 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2014
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2014
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Unforgettable Walks
  • To accompany her primetime ITV series, Best Walks with a View, Julia Bradbury takes us on eight of the UK`s best-loved walks, showcasing the beauty of Britain and navigating the reader through the sights and sounds, the flora and fauna and the past and present of eight fascinating and relaxing paths, all of them well-trodden but still full of... Read more
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  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
  • Bol.com, Netherlands
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
Bol.com
Netherlands
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Sussex and South Downs National Park Slow Guide
  • Straddling the Hampshire Downs and the distinctive countryside of Sussex, the South Downs is Britain`s newest and most visited national park, and is abutted by a long coastline and the surprisingly remote landscapes of the Weald. Slow-travel enthusiast and Sussex resident Tim Locke takes a close-up look at the best of the countryside and places... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Sussex (Slow Travel): South Downs, Weald & Coast
  • This new, thoroughly updated edition of Bradt`s much-praised guide to Sussex, including the South Downs, Eastern Weald and Coast offers a greater and more personal selection of places to explore and discover than any other guide. Resident expert author Tim Locke takes a leisurely, detailed approach that is highly personal, honest and critical,... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
2010
  • West Sussex and the South Downs Walks
  • West Sussex & The South Downs in the Pathfinder Guides series, produced in association with Ordnance Survey and published by Crimson; comprising a range of walking guides to popular British destinations. Each Pathfinder guide includes 28 varied walks ranging from easy strolls to exhilarating hikes and is accompanied by 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
» Click to open
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
2010
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2010
» Click to close
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Day Walks on the South Downs
  • ”Day Walks on the South Downs” is the fifth title in Vertebrate Publishing`s series of compact and portable hill walking guidebooks. This book showcases 20 circular routes, between 6 and 14 miles (9km and 22km) in length, suitable for hill walkers of all abilities. The routes are split into three geographical areas - Hampshire, West Sussex and... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Also available from:
  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
  • Bol.com, Netherlands
» Click to open
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
Bol.com
Netherlands
» Click to close
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Day Walks In the Brecon Beacons
  • Day Walks in the Brecon Beacons is the latest hill walking guidebook in the popular `Day Walks` series from outdoors publisher Vertebrate Publishing, following guides to the Peak District, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Snowdonia and South Downs. This pocket-sized guide features 20 circular routes between 6.8 and 16.5 miles... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
  • Bol.com, Netherlands
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
Bol.com
Netherlands
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More books…

Maps

Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Brighton & The South Downs 25K AA/OS Walker`s Map No. 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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  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
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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
  • Chichester & The South Downs 25K AA/OS Walker`s Map No. 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
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  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
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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
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • South Downs Way 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
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • South Downs - West
  • The South Downs – West at 1:40,000 in a series of maps printed on waterproof fabric, from SplashMaps, designed for outdoor adventures and featuring contours, walking and riding trails, and the National Grid. The map designed for mountain bikers, walkers and riders, comes with a cloth pouch and a non permanent marker, one can use to trace a... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • South Downs - Central West
  • The South Downs - Central West at 1:40,000 in a series of maps printed on waterproof fabric, from SplashMaps, designed for outdoor adventures and featuring contours, walking and riding trails, and the National Grid. The map designed for mountain bikers, walkers and riders, comes with a cloth pouch and a non permanent marker, one can use to... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Chichester and the South Downs 1810-1813
  • Map No. 197, Chichester and the South Downs 1810-1813, in the Cassini Historical Series of old Ordnance Survey mapping of England and Wales at 1:50,000 in a format designed to offer a convenient comparison with the present day coverage from the OS, and most locations in three different editions. Old historical maps have been combined so that... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Eastbourne & Beachy Head 25K AA/OS Walker`s Map No. 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
  • Also available from:
  • The Book Depository, United Kingdom
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The Book Depository
United Kingdom
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Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • South Downs - North
  • The South Downs - Central at 1:40,000 in a series of maps printed on waterproof fabric, from SplashMaps, designed for outdoor adventures and featuring contours, walking and riding trails, and the National Grid. The map designed for mountain bikers, walkers and riders, comes with a cloth pouch and a non permanent marker, one can use to trace a... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Chichester and the South Downs 1919-1920
  • Map No. 197, Chichester and the South Downs 1919-1920, in the Cassini Historical Series of old Ordnance Survey mapping of England and Wales at 1:50,000 in a format designed to offer a convenient comparison with the present day coverage from the OS, and most locations in three different editions. Old historical maps have been combined so that... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Surrey Hills
  • The South Downs - Central at 1:40,000 in a series of maps printed on waterproof fabric, from SplashMaps, designed for outdoor adventures and featuring contours, walking and riding trails, and the National Grid. The map designed for mountain bikers, walkers and riders, comes with a cloth pouch and a non permanent marker, one can use to trace a... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Chichester and the South Downs 1897-1900
  • Map No. 197, Chichester and the South Downs 1897-1900, in the Cassini Historical Series of old Ordnance Survey mapping of England and Wales at 1:50,000 in a format designed to offer a convenient comparison with the present day coverage from the OS, and most locations in three different editions. Old historical maps have been combined so that... Read more
Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • Pembrokeshire National Park South West
  • The South Downs - Central at 1:40,000 in a series of maps printed on waterproof fabric, from SplashMaps, designed for outdoor adventures and featuring contours, walking and riding trails, and the National Grid. The map designed for mountain bikers, walkers and riders, comes with a cloth pouch and a non permanent marker, one can use to trace a... Read more
More maps…

Walking holidays

Macs Adventure
United Kingdom
  • South Downs Way
  • Walking Holiday 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 from often hectic city life. Walk amongst vibrant yellow fields of corn,... Read more
Snp Wandelreizen
Netherlands
  • Engeland - South Downs
  • Overnacht in een schitterend gelegen Country House bij het vredige gehucht Abingworth, aan de voet van de South Downs in West Sussex. Geniet van de geheel verzorgde maaltijden, laat je begeleiden door toegewijde Engelse wandelgidsen, wandel mee in een internationale groep en maak de keuze uit rustige wandelingen door valleien en over glooiende... Read more
Aktivatours
Netherlands
  • Kent 7 dagen
  • Over de North Downs Way door de tuin van Engeland Bij county (het Engelse woord voor graafschap) Kent zult u wellicht denken aan vredige dorpen, lommerrijke laantjes en stille stukjes bos. Her en der liggen verscholen landhuizen omzoomd door fraaie tuinen en boomgaarden. Het gebied wordt de tuin van Engeland genoemd, ideaal om te wandelen en... Read more
Aktivatours
Netherlands
  • Kent Downs & Stour Valley 7 dagen
  • Wandelen door een Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Met een ´´down´´ in het Zuid-Engelse landschap wordt letterlijk een duin bedoeld: een niet te hoog heuveltje, met weinig bomen maar juist meer lage plantengroei, vaak gelegen in een sliert van vele van die downs op rij. Een ´´down´´ heeft dus niets te maken met laag of naar beneden... Read more
Aktivatours
Netherlands
  • Kent Downs & Stour Valley 5 dagen
  • Wandelen door een Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Met een ´´down´´ in het Zuid-Engelse landschap wordt letterlijk een duin bedoeld: een niet te hoog heuveltje, met weinig bomen maar juist meer lage plantengroei, vaak gelegen in een sliert van vele van die downs op rij. Een ´´down´´ heeft dus niets te maken met laag of naar beneden... Read more
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