Walking in Sussex

West Sussex offers an assortment to get outside and get those steps up. Whether you walk to be immersed in nature and soak up wonderful views, to be revived by fresh air and improve your mental health, or maybe you walk to adventure and explore new places. Whatever your motivation, let The Great Sussex Way guide you to some of the best walking routes in Sussex encompassing a variety of terrain and scenery.

The South Downs Way

The South Downs Way is a 160km (or 100 mile) National Trail which runs from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in Sussex. It is one of 15 National Trails in England and Wales and was the first bridleway National Trail in England and is the only National Trail to lie entirely within a National Park. The trail runs right across the Chichester District, offering great walking opportunities for those choosing to tackle the entire length or just enjoy it in smaller stages.
As well as some outstanding views, the South Downs Way reveals some of the finest historical sites including the great iron age hill forts of Old Winchester Hill, Chanctonbury Ring or Devils Dyke. There are numerous ancient burial sites and cross dykes as well as more recent sites such as Uppark House or WWII defensive sites. Nature lovers will appreciate the extraordinary range of diverse habitats which the trail covers, from ancient woodlands, river valleys, chalk grassland to mixed farmland and coastal habitats.

Breath-taking views

Following some of the most popular trails close to Chichester, Midhurst and Petworth reveals some astonishing views – taking time to appreciate the vistas is the perfect excuse for a breather after a steep ascent. Why not try the circular Cowdray Wander or Lavington & Selham Loop which both kick off from The Spread Eagle Hotel in Midhurst where you'll find some well-deserved refreshments after your steps. For stunning views to the coast and the English channel beyond can be found at the top of The Trundle, which overlooks Goodwood Racecourse, the ever-popular Kingley Vale, home to an ancient forest of yew trees, and the Halnaker Windmill Trail which follows a section of the Roman Road to London.

All hail Kingley Vale

One of our area's most loved walks - and for good reason. Whether you choose to tackle the climb to the top (we highly recommend you do for the outstanding views) or explore the atmospheric, twisted Yew forest where history whispers through the trees and the past lies beneath your feet - did you know Kingley Vale has one of the most important concentrations of well-preserved archaeological sites in southern England, including 14 Scheduled Monuments of which the Devil's Humps and Goosehill Camp are the most prominent? There's an abundance of wildlife here, so well worth taking your time to stop and soak up this fabulous location during your walk or cycle.

Walking routes for all

Flatter landscapes can be found on the Centurion Way route where you’ll encounter the Chichester Road Gang sculptures or strolls along the Chichester Canal towpath accompanied by the sights and sounds of the resident wildlife – maybe even a Kingfisher if you’re lucky! Explore the mile and a half of the almost complete Roman city walls in Chichester – it’s a great opportunity to admire the variety of architecture here while imagining what life might have been like 2000 years ago.

Selsey’s location on the tip of the Manhood Peninsula means that walking in Selsey and the surrounding areas is generally flat, however you’ll still find a variety of terrain to explore, from shore-side strolls or observing the bird life at the RSPB Nature Reserves of Pagham Harbour and Medmerry, to exploring the town and its heritage.

The RSPB nature reserves are a huge draw for bird watchers and nature lovers and are internationally important wetland sites for wildlife where you can spot a huge variety of waders and wildfowl as well as birds of prey. Explore the trails in one or both, which are linked by footpaths, and stay on for the sunsets which are stunning from here.

Downloadable trail guides allow you to walk the route of the Selsey tram, which connected the town to Chichester from 1896 and 1935, explore the railway carriage homes which arrived in the town during the 1920s and are still here today. The notable residents and historical events of Selsey are connected in a ‘Blue Plaque’ heritage walk with sites including Teddy Donaldson, the highly decorated WW2 pilot who broke the world air-speed record in 1946.

Top Walks in Sussex

Top Ten Walks in West Sussex

  • 6 minute read

The 5 mile/8km Halnaker Windmill Trail takes in a picturesque tree tunnel or hollow way formed over thousands of years of footfall. The path, Mill Lane, follows the old Roman road between London and Chichester and eventually opens up onto Halnaker Hill. At the top, your climb is rewarded with the…

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Great Sussex Pubs with scenic walks

  • 12 minute read

The perfect preamble to an afternoon in a great pub is a great walk. And being surrounded in the beauty of the South Downs National Park, there’s no better location for this great combination than our corner of Sussex. Whether you’re looking for welcoming pubs and scenic walks in the South Downs or…

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The Sussex Tree Trail

  • 13 minute read

The South Downs National Park has more woodland than any other National Park in England and Wales. In fact, 23% of the park is covered by trees, half of which have been here for over 400 years. Explore the very best of our neck of the woods(!) on our self-guided tree trail, starting in our historic…

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King Charles III Coast Path in West Sussex

  • 1 minute read

Walk the West Sussex Coast on a new coast path The new section of the King Charles III coast path from West Wittering to Shoreham by Sea has opened, allowing walkers of all kinds to enjoy the stunning sweeping view along 44 miles of the West Sussex coast. This West Sussex section forms part of the…

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Best walks for the whole family

  • 11 minute read

Great walking doesn’t have to mean enduring great distances. Whether you’re short on time, have young children in tow or are simply looking for a taster of Sussex and the South Down’s walking delights, we have a wide range of short walks to choose from. Here’s our pick of 10 great walks suitable for…

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Walk the Selsey Tramway

  • 1 minute read

Take a step back to 1897 when the Selsey Tramway was brought to life – the work of Colonel Stephens, and officially named The Hundred of Manhood & Selsey Tramways Company Ltd (1897-1924) and West Sussex Railway (1924-35). It was also, during its lifetime, referred to many other names including the…

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