South Downs Way

South Downs Way, Winchester: Address, Phone Number, South Downs Way Reviews: 4.5/5

South Downs Way
4.5

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4.5
269 reviews
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henrymclaughlin2000
Brighton, UK3 contributions
South Downs Way in 4 days
Jun 2021 • Friends
Six medium sized men attempted to walk the South Downs Way in June 2021. The trip was delayed for a year by The Bug.

Day 1: Eastbourne to Falmer (23 miles)
We went the inland route via Jevington to avoid the fatiguing Seven Sisters on day 1. It was still a hilly day but it's a beautiful route. The water taps at Alfriston and Southease were welcome on a hot day. We finished at The Swan Inn Falmer as we were staying in Brighton night 1 where I reside. Even our Ultramarathon-running guestwalker was pretty tired by the end.

Day 2: Ditchling Beacon to Houghton (24 miles)
We cut off the few miles from Housedean Farm round the Eastern edge of Brighton and got a taxi direct to Ditchling Beacon. The church at Pyecombe is a brilliant stop for a bit of history. One of our walkers was struggling with his knee and was jettisoned out the back of our relentless march to Amberley. He was able to find a bus at Steyning then a train from Pulborough to meet us at Amberley. Truleigh Hill Youth Hostel provided the obligatory 11am coffee. Apparently the climb from the river Adur up to Chanctonbury Ring was the biggest climb of the whole walk but it wasn't steep so we were unaware at the time. A few pints at the Bridge Inn at Amberley helped to wash away the day's pain. We had a nice dinner at the George and Dragon up the road and stayed at the lovely Southdowns Bunkhouse.

Day 3: Houghton to Sustainability Centre (28 miles)
This was new territory for me. Our morning coffee was at risk but Cadence Cycle Club got the memo and opened a new branch one hour before our arrival at Upwaltham. We continued to Cocking where we met some more guest walkers. Another of our party was finding the going tough post-Cocking so joined the walking wounded in getting a lift part-way to the accommodation. The rest of us ploughed on and enjoyed the change to the more forested areas at Harting Down and Queen Elizabeth Country Park. We were pretty tired by the time we strolled under the A3 to find Butser Hill, the highest point of the walk awaiting us. A tired trudge to the Sustainability Centre and spirits were low on night 3. The Sustainability Centre is properly in the middle of nowhere so if you're arriving out of hours without a vehicle, bring food or have a taxi booked to a pub. We went to the Bat and Ball at Clanfield.

Day 4: Sustainability Centre to Winchester (19 miles)
The easiest day by far. Much flatter and our shortest day. We made it by 2pm into the charming city of Winchester. The end plaque is slightly bizarrely hidden behind a gate in a
flowerbed at Winchester City Mill.

The route is doable and enjoyable in 4 days if you are happy to walk 9-10 hours per day with only short breaks. We were reasonably fit men aged around 40 and not carrying any camping gear. 4 out of 6 of us managed the whole thing. The number one thing I would suggest is taking care of your feet with blister plasters.
Written 2 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

395Andy_R
Cambridge, UK248 contributions
Amberley to Eastbourne with the wind in 5 days
Oct 2020
We completed half of this 100 mile walk from Amberley to Eastbourne in late October. The weather was changeable - beautiful skys , rainbows and the inevitable wind and rain. There is not much climbing to be done along the route - normally at the start of the day. The paths are well signposted. There were not many loos on the route so be prepared. Overall a great escape and surprising how few people take advantage of the solitude.
Written 13 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Passport579706
11 contributions
Well signposted route over the Downs
Sep 2020
Be prepared with good quality hiking boots as the trail is rocky and uneven and when planning your trip, don't overestimate how far you can get each day, but the route is very well marked and easy to follow.
Written 25 September 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Shaun L
Clanfield, UK1,466 contributions
Another fab day for a walk
Aug 2020 • Solo
So lucky to have this nearby. A nice 10k walk today with great views and scenery over the Downs and into the fields below. Plenty of walkers out today doing the same. The tracks were in good condition despite the recent heavy rain. Be aware that it is a byway which motorbikes can use and the vast majority use it respectfully bar for a couple that didn’t today. It’s a great path for all users to benefit from.
Written 29 August 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

savannah s
Torquay, UK27 contributions
Amazing journey.
Aug 2020
Finished the SDW on Thursday 20th August.
An amazing must do walking challenge. We walked from Winchester to Eastbourne stopping at B&B's, pubs and YHA. All bar one, excellent to good.
Spectacular scenery, wonderful undulating landscapes, far reaching views, challenging climbs, forests, valleys, woodland lanes, picturesque villages.
Exhilarating high points on ridges, escarpments and beacons.
Loved every minute of this walk (in spite of extremes of weather) and will do it again one day.
The last day from Alfreston to Eastbourne, mostly along the coast, is a roller coaster of sweat inducing terrain (if you chose to put the effort in) but by far the best day of walking.
Fabulous, just fabulous.
Written 22 August 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

lizfelix
London, UK54 contributions
Walking the South Downs
Jul 2020
Last week my partner and I walked the South Downs Way, we met a handful of people but no one walking the entire way. We had great weather, great hospitality at our stops and walked it in 7 days, Winchester to Exton, Exton- South Harting, South Harting - Amberley, Amberley - Pyecombe, Pycombe to Rodmell, Rodmell to Afriston and Afriston to Eastbourne to jump in the sea. Beautiful countryside, insets, butterfly's and animals constantly on route , alot of hard surfaces so we would strongly advise walking boots and a few plasters.
Written 22 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Shaun L
Clanfield, UK1,466 contributions
Watching the wildlife as we explore the paths
May 2020 • Couples
Looking down into the Meon Valley shows you just how beautiful the South Downs are and how lucky we are to have them. We took a hike to see the young lambs in the fields that adjoin they way. It’s a nice walk and easy on the legs as we stopped occasionally as we took in the views.
Written 18 May 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Highway272
Brighton, UK36 contributions
West to East is best!
Feb 2020 • Friends
Hard to believe when you're walking this path that you are in one of the most densely populated parts of England. The rolling downlands are relaxing, at times breathtaking - the views of the the high weald and north Downs, the sea to the south.

The path goes through three counties, Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex, comes ever closer to the sea until the the South Downs way becomes a coastal path from Cuckmere Haven onwards.

Start at Winchester finish at Eastbourne. This way you are more likely to to have the wind on your back as well as saving the best till last.
With a few exceptions it's easy walking, very few steep gradients and for long stretches softly undulating.

The first few miles from Winchester pleasant enough but things don't really get going until the Meon valley, and the view from Beacon Hill is spectacular. The classic Downland structure is not evident until entering West Sussex and Harting down. From here you are aware of being on the edge of the escarpment pretty much as far as Alfriston. Much of the West Sussex section is forested, some of it rather sterile conifer plantation which also removes the views.

In my opinion the East Sussex section is the most varied, beautiful and rewarding with the Seven Sisters the jewel in The crown. There are also villages on the route such as Exton, Amberley and Alfriston, beautiful villages in themselves but also offering refreshment. Between Butser hill, the highest point on the Downs, and Amberley there is nowhere are on the path to get refreshments; the same is also true from Amberley to Devil's Dyke so there are large stretches of the West Sussex path where you either need to to bring your own provisions or come down off the path. By contrast the East Sussex section has many great stop off points for coffee and and lunch. At Alfriston the the South Downs way splits into two, the northern section as far as Jevington is very rewarding but the final part to Eastbourne is fairly dismal. The southern route is thus highly recommended although the Seven Sistersisters can be the most demanding part of the whole walk.

The South Downs way can be done in one go taking between 5 and 7 days or else in sections. The following are the points where the path can be picked up using public transport: Meon valley, South Harting, Cocking, Amberley (train station) Bramber, Devil's Dyke and Ditchling beacon at weekends, Southease (train station) Alfriston and Cuckmere Haven

Highlights:
Meon valley
Butser hill
Harting down
Amberley
Chanctonbury ring
Devil's Dyke
Ditchling beacon
Firle beacon
Alfriston
Cuckmere valley
Seven sisters.
Written 16 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mrs Bear
Poole, UK1,383 contributions
Joined at East Meon and walked to The Beech Cafe
Jan 2020
Whilst staying in East Meon we joined the South Downs Way and enjoyed a fantastic walk with beautiful scenery and fresh air.

We saw so many different birds including a Kestrel, Robin, Blue Tits and a pair of Skylarks singing which was sublime.

We found a lovely cafe on our way at the Conservation Centre. The Beech Cafe offers a welcome rest and refreshments for walkers and cyclists.

There were plenty of signs to keep us on our way.

Just beware that you do need walking boots as it can be quite muddy in places. You also need to be able to tackle steep hills and look out for badger sets which are pretty big holes that you could easily twist your ankle in. There are some stiles to climb over as well.

With over 100 miles of paths you can walk a long way or just a portion as it is fairly easy to join or leave the South Downs Way.

Top tip- take a map with you.
Written 20 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Matthew P
Brighton and Hove, UK584 contributions
Get Out & About
Aug 2019
Amazing downs walking from Winchester to Eastbourne all 100 miles end to end. It take roughly 7 days to achieve but if you don't have time google the Rambling Man website who has broken it up into very manageable 4 x 2 day chunks which are very manageable. Also the views and scenery is stunning, the walking not too intense and on top of that other than travel it's free.
Written 26 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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