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.

Route information

Temporary closure of the Downs Link at Copsale (Bar Lane car park)

The Downs Link will be temporarily closed due to surfacing improvement works in the parish of Nuthurst between Copsale (Bar Lane car park) to FP1815 (the first footpath heading south towards West Grinstead). Work will begin on Monday 10 September 2018 and will take approximately four weeks. During this time the Downs Link will be completely closed during working hours (7.30am-4.30pm) and will be open on weekends. No access on this section during the stated times and no alternative route is available.

The car park at Copsale will be closed throughout the duration of works, including weekends. Keep an eye on the local press, our website and Twitter for updates. You can also email for more details.

Temporary path closure of the Downs Link at Southwater

The Downs Link will be closed from Wednesday 22 August 2018 to ensure pedestrian safety during the construction of Phases 1.6 and 3.1 of the Broadacres development. An alternative route will be provided. The Diversion is between Worthing Road, Southwater heading South for approximately 1.5km.

The current closure expires on 26 January 2019. We intend to apply for an extension of the time to allow closure until July 2020, in line with the expected completion of the plots adjacent.

Flood defence scheme

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

The works mean that the Downs Link in Shoreham from south of the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge to Shoreham High Street will remain closed.

A signed diversion will be in place until the works are completed.


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


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.


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.



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

Organising a sponsored event on the Downs Link

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. There is also 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, Low Weald, South Downs and 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 found fluttering in the sunny sheltered woodland glades, and Kingfishers fish 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.

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.