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Jay Walking

South Downs Way

The South Downs Way is a 100 mile National Trail along the chalk escarpment it is entirely within the South Downs National Park. The walk starts in Eastbourne and finishes in Winchester, or the other way round, following old drove ways and paths. Much of the path is a bridleway and can be used by riders of both cycles and horses, though there are occasionally different routes for these users. The path generally involves walking along the ridge formed by the Chalk, there are occasional descents and ascents but the ridges are relatively flat, and there are often spectacular views, though these will depend on the weather. The walking can be quite hard as you are often walking on hard surfaces with flints in them and on the tops of the Downs you are subject to whatever the weather can throw at you, wind, rain or sun, there is no escape from it.

The route can be walked in either direction and is easily done as a series of day walks from London, which was the way I was planning to do it. I’d started the walked many years ago as training for a trip to the Alps, though I didn’t complete it, only managing to get as far as Amberley, over 3 separate walks. I based my days on walks between railway stations, though it still mean’t some walking to get there as the stations are often some way off the route, though beyond Amberley I think transport might be more of an issue. I was going to follow the same schedule as before, Eastbourne to Southease, then Southease to Pyecombe and then Pyecombe to Amberley, after which I’d be on uncharted territory (at least for me).

Navigation is generally easy but a guidebook or a map is required, unless you want to get lost, I used the Collins A-Z Adventure map which covers the whole of the route, using Ordanance Survey map at a scale of 1:25 000, in a handy book. There a number of guidebooks, which I didn’t use, I had ordered one from the library but during Covid libraries services weren’t running as well as normal so my reservation never arrived.

Sections walked

Useful links

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