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Once part of the seven medieval kingdoms (no, this isn’t a ‘Game of Thrones’ blurb), this southern county is a fantastic place to explore on foot. Walks in West Sussex take you over the impressive South Downs, through the marshes of Chichester Harbour and past endless patchwork farmland.
The sunniest county in the UK, you’ll find walks for every age and every ability here. Coastal hikes in West Sussex not only offer wonderful views of the English Channel but also show you glimpses of the numerous bird species who make the mudflats and wetlands here their home. If you like your walks to take an educational turn, you can stop off at Roman villas, castles and stately homes too. Okay, partially educational because you’ll also be there for the tea rooms.
There’s so much to discover when exploring West Sussex and the trails you follow will reveal the true beauty of this historic county.
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The South Downs might only have achieved National Park status in 2011 but it’s been a cherished area for thousands of years. Its chalk hills provide many of the best hiking trails in West Sussex and walks are often gradual, leading to phenomenal view points across the downs.
Further north, hikes in West Sussex extend to the western Weald which is included in the South Downs National Park, although its geology is vastly different. Trails here take you through exquisite natural woodland and old-growth forest. Out of the woods you can continue across clay and sandstone hills, past farmland and follow hedgerows filled with life.
The South Downs are also peppered with historic buildings. From Bignor Roman Villa and 17th century Parham House to Avington Park mansion and 18th century watermills, evidence of times gone by is all around.
With a lengthy southern coastline, rich natural woodlands, sweeping commons and numerous streams and rivers, it’s perhaps no surprise that your walks through West Sussex will have a strong wildlife accompaniment.
Down in Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you can see many resident and visiting birds across the mudflats and wetlands. Little egrets, dunlin and curlews all call this area their home.
Selborne Common in the South Downs is an ideal place to roam in summer as its wildflowers draw thousands of butterflies. Over in the east, Burton Mill Pond sees waterfowl, beetles and dragonflies.
Thanks to its southerly location and variety of landscapes, every season is a good season for walks in West Sussex. In spring, the county comes alive with birdsong, wildflowers and tree blossoms, making rambles positively blissful.
In summer, the rural landscape of West Sussex blooms in full glory and whether you’re roaming the Weald or the coast, you stand a high chance of enjoying beautiful sunshine. Autumn brings stunning colours across the South Downs, with hazy mornings and golden forests.
In winter, you can choose your hikes depending on the weather, sticking to the western Weald woodlands when you need shelter or enjoying an exhilarating coastal walk when it’s dry. Every time of year brings out a different side to this wonderful region so get your boots on and choose a trail.
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Check out more Hikes throughout West Sussex below and find the perfect Tour in your destination.
Explore more of England: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.