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Hike ancient paths and unique landscapes — South Downs Way

Brian Toward

Hike ancient paths and unique landscapes — South Downs Way

Hiking Collection by komoot

7-15

days

3-6 h

/ day

107 mi

10,100 ft

10,125 ft

The South Downs Way winds through some of England’s finest countryside between Winchester and the white cliffs at Eastbourne.

Exploring a landscape that is rich in rare plantlife, unique wildlife, and well-preserved archaeological sites, this 100-mile (161 kilometer) hike shows just how beautiful the south east of England can be.

Hailed as the perfect introduction to long distance walking, the easily-accessible path along the rolling chalk downs of Sussex and Hampshire has just the right amount of challenge and serenity, without too much adverse terrain and never straying too far away from civilization.

People have been using the paths and tracks that have been linked to form the South Downs Way for approximately 8,000 years and the evidence of ancient cultures—dating from before the Bronze Age, through Roman times, and to the present day—is everywhere you look. The Way was officially opened as a national trail in 1972.

There is no set itinerary to complete the trail. However, in this Collection we will complete it in eight days, starting from Winchester, the country’s first capital, and finishing in Eastbourne. As always, of course, you can split up each stage into as many days as you feel comfortable with.

If you are planning to arrive by public transport to undertake the routes in the Collection, you can catch a train to Winchester Railway Station, which is served by direct trains from London, Birmingham, and Manchester.

To get home, you can catch a train from Eastbourne Railway Station, which has direct trains to London and offers connecting services around the country.

If you are planning to arrive by car, there are long-stay car parks in Winchester, or you could try and negotiate with a B&B or hotel to stay for a night either side of your trip and leave your car for the duration.

To get back, you can catch a train from Eastbourne Railway Station (with a change at Clapham Junction) to Winchester. The journey should take approximately two-and-a-half hours.

For more information about the South Downs Way, visit: nationaltrail.co.uk/south-downs-way.
For train timetables and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    05:21
    12.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    975 ft
    475 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The South Downs Way starts from the historic city of Winchester, a place that is full of interest and worth exploring before you set off.

    Highlights in Winchester include The …

  • Difficult
    06:49
    15.0 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,625 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This challenging, yet rewarding stage traverses a landscape that is rich in flora and fauna.

    After you cross the crystal-clear water of the River Meon, you hop from one national …

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  • Intermediate
    04:47
    10.9 mi
    2.3 mph
    975 ft
    1,175 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Way follows the ridge-line almost continuously from this point all the way to its conclusion, which means enchanting views over the English Channel and Weald of Sussex are never …

  • Difficult
    05:29
    12.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,175 ft
    1,350 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage passes through one of the most wooded sections of the Way and should give your fitness and good challenge.

    Taking you through a patchwork of fields, pastures, woodlands, …

  • Difficult
    05:00
    11.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,075 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Ancient history and abundant beauty is with you every step of the way along this stage.

    Starting with a steep climb from Amberley, the trail soon levels off and you …

  • Difficult
    08:14
    18.3 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,925 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    With some challenging ascents and descents, as well as a long distance to contend with, this stage should be a good test of your fitness and stamina.

    Taking you over …

  • Difficult
    06:26
    14.5 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,275 ft
    1,450 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The trail winds its way through pretty patchwork countryside along this open section of the Way.

    After exploring Lewes, you continue southeast and cross the Greenwich Meridian Line before descending …

  • Difficult
    05:29
    12.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Passing some truly iconic sights, this challenging yet rewarding stage brings your South Downs Way adventure to an epic conclusion.

    From Alriston, you follow the River Cuckmere south over a …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    107 mi
  • Duration
    47:35 h
  • Elevation
    10,100 ft10,125 ft
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Hike ancient paths and unique landscapes — South Downs Way