Comprising undulating chalk downland, dry valleys and huge coastal cliffs, the South Downs National Park is one of Britain’s most precious landscapes.
Take to the trail with our guide to the South Downs best walks and discover 260 square miles of spectacular countryside, interwoven with dozens of thriving towns and villages.
Our guide to the best hiking routes in the South Downs National Park includes the Seven Sisters, the River Cuckmere and Firle Beacon. Each route includes a walk description and map.
Best walks in the South Downs
Cuckmere River, Sussex
Follow this seven-mile walk along the Cuckmere River, from the picturesque village of Alfriston to the monumental Seven Sisters chalk cliffs on the Sussex south coast.
- 10.8km/6.7 miles
- 4 hours
North Marden to East Marden, West Sussex
Walk through a tranquil landscape of ancient field patterns, Norman churches and wooded hills in the South Downs National Park.
- 11.3km/7 miles
- 4 hours
Firle Beacon, East Sussex
A long and invigorating walk in the South Downs National Park from the lively town of Lewes, via the impressive Mount Caburn, Firle Beacon and Itford Hill, to the historic village of Rodmell.
- 19.7km/12.2 miles
- 7.5 hours
Seven Sisters, East Sussex
At the National Trust hamlet of Birling Gap, the sea’s aroma sits strong in the air. From the top of the steps above the beach and its numerous rockpools, the views of the Seven Sisters and Seaford Head are excellent.Walk atop the magnificent chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters in the South Downs, where kittiwakes and fulmars can be seen alongside Brimstone butterflies and flowering cowslips.
- 6km/3.7 miles
- 2 hours
Meon Valley, Hampshire
Discover a landscape shaped by man and nature over 6,000 years on a walk that enters the heart of the South Downs National Park in Hampshire.
- 15km/9.3 miles
- 5.5 hours
Wilmington to Alfriston, East Sussex
A short walk to the Long Man of Wilmington, the mysterious chalk figure on the South Downs. But how exactly did he get there?
- 4km/2.5 miles
- 1.5 hours
Ouse Valley, East Sussex
Navigate the meandering banks of the River Ouse, discover Virginia Woolf’s 17th-century country retreat and climb to the summit of Firle Beacon with a walk through the Ouse Valley in East Sussex. Maps and Routes
Devil’s Dyke and Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex
Explore Devil’s Dyke – the longest, deepest and widest ‘dry valley’ in the UK – and the 248m peak of Ditching Beacon. Maps and Route with the National Trust.
Cissbury Ring, Sussex
Discover the 5,000-year-long history of Cissbury Ring, the largest hill fort in Sussex. Maps and route with the National Trust.