Downs Link

A 37 mile (59km) shared route for walkers, horse riders and cyclists linking the North Downs Way with the South Downs Way.

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A 37 mile (59km) shared route for walkers, horse riders and cyclists linking the North Downs Way with the South Downs Way.

Find us

Visit the iMap for route details or download the map below.

- In the blue 'Search' field on the left, select City, Town or Village from the drop-down list.

- Enter West Grinstead > Search.

- Under Local Information, select 'Walks within 5km'.

- Select Downs Link > Further information from the options provided.

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Route information

Path closures and disruption

There will be a temporary closure of the Downs Link at Southwater from Monday 10 April 2017 for up to six months.

Southern Water will be installing a foul water sewer which will cause disruption to the Downs Link from the Health centre heading south towards the Country Park and beyond along Stakers Lane.

Please obey any warning signs and diversions whilst the works are carried out.

The Environment Agency has started on a major flood defence scheme that will significantly reduce flood risk in Shoreham. The whole scheme, that affects the southern end of the River Adur, is due to be completed by 2018.

Part of this scheme affects the Downs Link from underneath the A27 flyover to Shoreham High Street. This means that this section of Downs Link will be closed.

A signed diversion will be in place until work completes in October 2017.

Start/finish

Can be accessed all along the route.

  • St Martha's Hill (start) - TQ 032484
  • West Grinstead Old Station (mid-point) - TQ183225
  • Shoreham-by-Sea (finish) - TQ 208060

For use by

Walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Nearest locations

Shoreham-by-Sea, Bramber, Steyning, West Grinstead, Southwater and Rudgwick

Terrain

All of the Downs Link is surfaced and largely follows the route of the disused railway line from Guildford to Shoreham-by-sea. Some sections are on the road network.

Highlights

At West Grinstead Old Station a railway carriage has a new life as an information centre run by our volunteers, who aim to open it most Sundays (generally 10.00am-4.00pm). To find West Grinstead Old Station, launch our iMap, select 'British National Grid' from the search menu and enter TQ183225 in the search box.

Transport

Maps

  • OS 1:25,000 Explorer series: 122, 134, 145
  • OS 1:50,000 Landranger series: 186, 187, 198

About Downs Link

The Downs Link connects with other long-distance routes such as the North Downs Way, South Downs Way, Wey South Path, Greensand Way, Sussex Border Path and National Cycle Network routes 2 and 22.

Our six stage route guide provides details of walks or rides of 4-7 miles (6-11km) accessible by public transport or car. The trail can be completed in stages, as a weekend walk or a full-day's ride, or there is an off-road route from Guildford Station, for walkers and cyclists only, that joins the Downs Link at Bramley.

The Downs Link follows two disused railway lines and crosses the Surrey Hills, the Low Weald, the South Downs and the Coastal Plain. Since the trains departed in the 1960s the embankments and cuttings have become a green corridor for wildlife and people. The route connects a variety of habitats, passing banks of wildflowers, trees, hedges, woodlands, rivers, ponds and streams. 

Butterflies, such as Fritillaries and Admirals, can be seen fluttering in the sunny sheltered woodland glades, and you can see Kingfishers fishing from the railway bridges. Bats can be seen foraging and nightingales heard singing during the summer evenings. Glow worms are an exciting find on warm summer nights.

The landscape is varied as the trail crosses the different layers of rock and soil that lie between the North and South Downs. The acid sandy soils of the greensand ridge at St Martha’s Hill give way to the Low Weald clays at the county border, then in places there are beds of hard sandstone known as ‘Horsham Slab’, much used for roofing in days gone by.

Between Henfield and Steyning, the route enters the River Adur flood plain. The river cuts through the South Downs. Until the 14th Century, the estuary covered a much wider area where there are now arable fields and grassland, surrounded by ‘rifes’ or drainage ditches.