Walking the South Downs Way

We (Martin, Jill, Colin and Ann) have recently completed our walk of the full length of the South Downs Way. We’ve done this over a total of five weekends, in a somewhat erratic order, and not always walking in the same direction. On each weekend we have used rail travel to get there and back, leaving our cars at home, and we have carried with us the minimum necessary for an overnight stay in a pub or B&B.

Rail Connections and Overnight Stops

The diagram below shows the rail connections that make the SDW walk possible, the overnight stops we used and some cafe’s and pubs along the way.  I’m writing up this Blog in the hope that others will find the map and other tips in this post useful.

South Downs Way - Rail Connections and Overnight Stops

South Downs Way – Rail Connections and Overnight Stops – Click Image to Enlarge

A PDF version of the diagram can be downloaded here

Each weekend we walked about twenty-five miles – the South Downs way is 100 miles, the Eastbourne Loop adds 15 miles and then there were a few more getting on and off the walk.


Amberley to Pyecombe 20-21 May 2011

On the first day we caught the train to Amberley and walked to Steyning, staying overnight and eating at the The Chequer Inn.

Day 1 20 May 2011 Amberley to Steyning

View eastwards towards Steyning

View eastwards towards Steyning

On the second day we continued from Steyning via Devil’s Dyke to Pyecombe, where we caught a bus down to Brighton and ate fish and chips on the beach, before travelling home from Brighton by train.

Day 2 21 May 2011 Steyning to Pyecombe

Day 2 21 May 2011 Steyning to Pyecombe

View west from Devil’s Dyke towards Fulking Hill


Eastbourne Loop 27-28 April 2012

Joined this time by Stephen and Jill, we caught the train to Eastbourne and on the first day walked westwards across the town and then climbed Beachy Head, continuing along the Seven Sisters and up the Cuckmere River Valley to Alfriston.

Day 3 27 April 2012 Eastbourne to Alfriston

Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters

Day 4 28 April 2012 Alfriston to Eastbourne

We had stayed overnight at The George Inn in Alfriston.  Huge breakfast!

The George Inn Alfriston

he George Inn Alfriston

Unfortunately it rained this day – but we can’t complain because it was perfect weather on all of the other nine days!  We ended up in a fish and chip cafe in Eastbourne before catching the train home.


Pyecombe to Alfriston 21-22 July 2012

In order to rejoin the South Downs Way, we caught the train to Brighton and then a taxi ride to the start point at Pyecombe.

Day 5 21 July 2012 Pyecombe to Rodmell

We had to split up for our overnight stop in Rodmell because of limited accommodation. Supper was at the Abergavenny Arms in the village

Day 5 21 July 2012 Pyecombe to Rodmell

To the Pub

Day 6 22 July 2012 Rodmell to Alfriston

On Day 6 we walked for part of the day with a young lady trekking home from university, before eventually arriving back in Alfriston (our overnight stop on the Eastbourne Loop) from where we took a taxi to Lewes and had some supper before catching the train home.

Day 6 22 July 2012 Rodmell to Alfriston

Southease and towards Alfriston


Amberley to Buriton 27-28 April 2013

On the train to Amberley again, but this time walking west towards Cocking.

Day 7 27 April 2013 Amberley to Cocking

Good weather again and some lovely scenery. We stayed the night at The Bluebell in Cocking, where we had an excellent supper and probably the best breakfast ever.

Day 7 27 April 2013 Amberley to Cocking

Beautiful Scenery

Day 8 28 April 2013 Cocking to Buriton

Some steep paths near Beacon Hill, before eventually leaving the South Downs Way and dropping down into Buriton for a pub supper.

Buriton to Winchester

Near Beacon Hill

The journey home involved a short taxi ride to Petersfield , then a London bound train.


Buriton to Winchester 31 Aug – 1 Sept 2013

Our last weekend and we caught the train to Petersfield and then a short taxi ride to rejoin the South Downs Way just above Buriton.

Day 9 31 August 2013 Buriton to Exton

It was another lovely day and we were soon climbing up Butser Hill.

Buriton to Exton

Butser Hill

We stayed the night at Corhampton Lane Farm, made very welcome by Suzanne who kindly drove us down to The Shoe Inn at Exton for supper, and picked us up later.  It was an enlightening experience staying on a working farm and the Bed & Breakfast was of a very high standard. To quote a previous visitor: in one word: ‘fantastic’; in two words ‘bloody fantastic’.

Day 10 1 September 2013 Exton to Winchester

The next day we set off again with packed lunches, stopping en-route at The Milburys for a pint or two, and peered down their very deep well. We then trudged on past Old Winchester Hill before descending into Winchester.

Exton to Winchester

Old Winchester Hill

Finally, a pub supper at The Vine in Winchester, having not been allowed into the Cathedral, before heading back home by train towards London.


Finale

So now we’re all done and thinking about a new challenge for next year – maybe the Saxon Way starting with a walk from Eastbourne to Rye?

Happy Walking!

Martin

 

 

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