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South Downs Way National Trail

South Downs WayAlong the beautiful open expanse of the chalk downlands, the route offers excellent vistas of the surrounding countryside, particularly from Beacon Hill. Depending upon the season you choose to walk, birds and wild flowers abound. The South Downs Way makes a good choice for a winter walk because the fast draining chalk ensures there will be no impassable mire. This, of course, is one reason why the route has been used since ancient times. The Way passes through the Sussex Downs AONB (35) and also part of East Hampshire AONB (12). Starting from Eastbourne the route passes through Alfriston, Pyecombe, Upper Beeding, Washington, Amberley, Cocking, Buriton, Exton and finally Winchester. The initial footpath section to Alfriston follows a different route to the bridleway.

Walking conditions are reasonably easy, making the Trail a good choice for walkers new to long distance paths, but, as always, you need to be properly equipped. Watch out for horses, as the whole route from Alfriston is also a bridleway.


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Start: Eastbourne

Grid Ref: TV 615999

End: Winchester

Grid Ref: SU 488289

Distance: 159 km

Walking Time: 7 days

Counties Traversed

Explorer™ Maps
119; 120; 121; 122; 123; 132

South Downs Way Aurum

South Downs Way Cicerone

South Downs Way Companion

South Downs Way Harvey Map

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