The South Downs Way
South Downs National Park
Enjoy the rolling countryside and coastal views of south-east England's finest hills
Also in East Sussex, United Kingdom • Hampshire, United Kingdom • West Sussex, United Kingdom
- 162 km
- 3.2 km
- 3.2 km
- 1 day +
- Low Point
- 1 m
- High Point
- 243 m
The South Downs Way is a wonderful long-distance walking trail in southern England, covering approximately 160 km (100 miles) from Winchester to Eastbourne. The trail passes through rolling hills and scenic countryside, offering huge views of the coast and the South Downs National Park.
The path is mainly on the South Downs, an area of chalk hills and grasslands that is home to a rich variety of wildlife, and only hits the south coast of England a couple of kilometres before the trail ends at Eastbourne pier. Along the way, there are numerous villages, historic sites, and pubs where walkers can rest and refresh themselves.
The prevalence of villages on the route also means that you can be flexible in your planning and walk as far as you want each day, safe in the knowledge that you should be able to find accommodation each evening without booking ahead. Most hikers average around 12 miles/20 km per day and this is a nice pace to maintain as it allows you to keep moving whilst enjoying the journey. If you're sticking to a fixed itinerary then there are no particularly difficult sections of the route, so you should be able to keep to your schedule provided you don't mind walking in the rain occasionally!
The South Downs Way is also a popular objective for bikers, and it can be done in a long weekend on 2 wheels. The route also gets completed by horse riders, but the logistical challenges of feeding and accommodating horses en route make it much more involved than for hikers and bikers!
The route finishes at Eastbourne pier, so upon reaching it grab an ice cream and let your achievement sink in!
Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.
Best time to visit
- Dog friendly
- Family friendly