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 and cycling opportunities.
Where is the trail?
The South Downs Way stretches from the ancient cathedral city of Winchester in the west, through to the white chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head at Eastbourne in the east. Almost all of its stunning 160 kilometre length is blissfully off-road.
You can explore the Trail in one long distance journey or explore it in smaller stages.
Can I cycle the trail?
You can experience the South Downs Way on foot, by bicycle or even on horseback. Along the way you will admire some of our country’s most breath-taking scenery including outstanding views to the Solent and across to the Isle of Wight, the high heathlands of the Western Weald and Blackdown, the heavily wooded Weald of Sussex, the receding ridges of the Chalk Downs themselves as well as the distant ridge of the North Downs. At the eastern end of the trail you can enjoy the famous sea cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head.
What can I see while walking or cycling?
Along the trail you will have the opportunity to see 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.
For nature lovers, the South Downs Way passes through an extraordinary range of diverse habitats from ancient woodlands, river valleys, chalk grassland to mixed farmland and coastal habitats.
Where can I walk the South Downs Way near Chichester?
You can reach the South Downs Way at several locations, near Chichester and Midhurst: find out more here
Image: Annie Spratt on Unsplash