South Downs Way

Beachy Head Lighthouse 

This beautiful, accessible path, described as the ideal introduction to long distance walking, is along the rolling chalk downs of Sussex and Hampshire. Although there are some steep climbs, this is a very doable route.

If you make it here on a clear day you should be rewarded with stunning views in all directions – across the English Channel to France or over the green landscapes of the Weald or the valleys of the South Downs. It stretches the entire length of the South Downs National Park, itself a relative newcomer to Britain’s family of national parks.

The chalk white curves of the iconic Seven Sisters Hills are a must on this long distance route but the amazing contours of the Cuckmere Valley, and the various pretty downland villages of the ‘Meons’ deserve a mention too.

Girls rides a bike along the beach

The part of the trail that climbs from Rodmell to Newhaven, probably best showcases the classic downland landscape of the route so make sure to take in this section if you want to get a real sense of surrounding landscape.

On average the 100 mile trail takes eight days to complete, but can easily be split into a dozen leisurely days of walking, with stages ranging from 6 to 15 miles each day.

The trail passes through or passes by five National Nature Reserves and dozens of Sites of Special Scientific Interest where you can enjoy stunning wildlife at close hand.

Other enjoyable distractions from the route include Amberley Museum - set in a 36 acre site in the South Down National Park, it showcases the industrial heritage of the area with collections of everything from steam engines, to television sets to pottery making and railway lines. There’s a calendar of practical activities and events for kids to enjoy too.

Help us preserve and protect footpaths along this national trail by joining the Big Pathwatch and walking a grid square along the route. 

Find a walk near this trail. 

Cuckmere Valley

Join the Big Pathwatch

Big Pathwatch 

Take part in our most ambitious campaign ever to protect and improve our glorious paths in England and Wales.