South Downs Way

A linear walk of 101 miles (160km) from Winchester to Eastbourne.

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Explore some of our finest countryside between Winchester, the first capital of England, and the white chalk cliffs at Eastbourne.

Route information


  • Eastbourne in East Sussex - Grid ref: TV 615999 (start or finish)
  • Winchester in Hampshire - Grid ref: SU 488289 (start or finish)

For use by

Walkers, cyclists, horse riders and some people with mobility impairments

Nearest locations

For details of places to visit see the National Trails website.


The South Downs are designated as a national park. It is wooded, with a defined ridge along which the South Downs Way runs. There are some moderately steep slopes but the path mostly runs on farm tracks across rolling open chalk downland. Walking conditions are reasonably easy due to the fast draining chalk, though some sections are steep.




  • OS 1:25,000 Explorer series: 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 132
  • OS 1:50,000 Landranger: 185, 197, 198, 199
  • Harveys maps - South Downs Way strip map 1:40,000


About the South Downs Way

For maps, route descriptions and help in planning your visit see the National Trails website. Ordnance Survey maps are also available through the West Sussex County Council library service, either as reference items for use in the library or maps that you can borrow if you are a member. You can locate details using the map series and numbers listed above to search the library service catalogue.

The South Downs Way is currently the only fully open Bridleway National Trail accessible to a suitable cross-country motorised wheelchair. Disabled people using 'Tramper' type off-road buggies can complete the whole route.

Average time to complete the whole route

  • Walking: By covering 12-15 miles (20km) per day it takes about a week to walk the whole route. Allow for an extra couple of miles (3km) or so each day to get to and from accommodation.
  • Horse riding: Riders will be able to do a similar distance each day to fast walkers, around 6 days for the whole trail.
  • Cycling: As a very rough guide, casual cyclists will take 3 to 4 days.

When visiting the countryside and using Public Rights of Way, please be respectful of the needs of others in the countryside and always follow the Countryside Code.


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