Hiking in West Sussex

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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.

Intermediate
03:42
8.58 mi
Intermediate
03:23
8.33 mi
Intermediate
02:24
5.44 mi
Intermediate
03:32
8.74 mi
Intermediate
04:12
9.57 mi
Difficult
05:11
11.5 mi
Intermediate
02:03
4.81 mi
Easy
01:16
2.95 mi
Difficult
07:01
15.9 mi
Easy
01:47
3.90 mi
Intermediate
04:36
10.7 mi
Intermediate
04:24
10.8 mi
Intermediate
02:32
5.65 mi
Intermediate
03:37
8.09 mi
Easy
01:33
3.29 mi
Easy
01:00
2.34 mi
Difficult
05:21
12.2 mi

Top 17 best walks and hikes in West Sussex

    1
    Intermediate
    03:42
    8.58 mi
    2.3 mph
    525 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    2
    Intermediate
    03:23
    8.33 mi
    2.5 mph
    50 ft
    50 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
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  • 3
    Intermediate
    02:24
    5.44 mi
    2.3 mph
    475 ft
    475 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    4
    Intermediate
    03:32
    8.74 mi
    2.5 mph
    50 ft
    50 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    5
    Intermediate
    04:12
    9.57 mi
    2.3 mph
    750 ft
    725 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    6
    Difficult
    05:11
    11.5 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,225 ft
    1,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    7
    Intermediate
    02:03
    4.81 mi
    2.3 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    8
    Easy
    01:16
    2.95 mi
    2.3 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    9
    Difficult
    07:01
    15.9 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,300 ft
    1,300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    10
    Easy
    01:47
    3.90 mi
    2.2 mph
    450 ft
    450 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    11
    Intermediate
    04:36
    10.7 mi
    2.3 mph
    625 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    12
    Intermediate
    04:24
    10.8 mi
    2.5 mph
    100 ft
    125 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.
    13
    Intermediate
    02:32
    5.65 mi
    2.2 mph
    550 ft
    550 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    14
    Intermediate
    03:37
    8.09 mi
    2.2 mph
    775 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    15
    Easy
    01:33
    3.29 mi
    2.1 mph
    450 ft
    450 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    16
    Easy
    01:00
    2.34 mi
    2.4 mph
    100 ft
    125 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    17
    Difficult
    05:21
    12.2 mi
    2.3 mph
    925 ft
    925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

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Discovering the magic of the South Downs National Park

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. 

Finding the nature of West Sussex

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. 

Hiking through the seasons in West Sussex

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.

West Sussex's best walks and hikes on the map

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