Location: Southern England.
Length:: 160km (100 miles) (bridleway route is 6km (4 miles) shorter). There are about 4150 m (13600 feet) of ascent and descent whichever way you travel.
Average number of days to complete:: 8 walking, 3 cycling.
Users:: 100% for walkers, horse riders and cyclists except at Alfriston / Eastbourne and the Meon Valley where there are split bridleway and footpath routes.
Highest point:: Butser Hill, Hampshire 270m (900ft) / Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex 248m (814ft). In both locations the actual line of the Trail runs just below the summits at 245m and therefore both can claim to be the highest points.
Start point: City Mill, near King Alfred's statue at the bottom of Broadway.
Finish point: The Western End of Eastbourne Promenade.
Landscape:: Wide grassy or flinty tracks on chalk downland, mostly grazed by sheep on the hills with arable crops below. 100% within the newly designated South Downs National Park. The western part of the downs is rolling farmland, the West Sussex Downs are dominated by a steep, often wooded scarp with views across the Weald below, while the East Sussex Downs are classic open grassland running down to the sea cliffs.
Highlights: Winchester Cathedral, Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Parham Deer Park, Chanctonbury Ring, Dew Ponds, Adur Valley, Devils Dyke, Ditchling Beacon, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age monuments, Long Man of Wilmington, Ouse valley, Cuckmere Haven, Seven Sisters, Beachy Head, blue butterflies.
Famous Associations: Writer Virginia Woolf (lived at Rodmell), painter Vanessa Bell (Berwick Church), Lytton Strachey (biographer), painter Duncan Grant (Charleston farm house), author Tom Paine (Lewes), Yeats and Whistler (Steyning), Kipling (Rottingdean), Belloc, Jeffries, and now Andy Goldsworthy’s chalk stones!
Trail Officers favourite part: There are too many! The view from Beacon Hill, Hampshire on a clear day, The solitude found at Harting Down, West Sussex and the Drama of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head, East Sussex.
Nearest Towns: Eastbourne, Winchester and Alfriston are on the route. Steyning (1km (½ mile)), Storrington (1½ km (1mile)), Pulborough (13km(8miles)), Midhurst (6km (2 miles)), Petersfield 6km (4miles)), Newhaven (5km (3miles)), Lewes (6km (4 miles)), Portsmouth (19km (12 miles)), Alton (24km (15 miles)), Brighton (11km (7miles)), Shoreham (6km (4miles)), Worthing 6km (4 miles)).
Access: London Victoria to Eastbourne trains take 90 minutes, Trains to Lewes from London take 50 minutes. Change at Lewes for Newhaven (10 minutes), Seaford (15 minutes) and Southease. London Victoria to Brighton is 50 minutes by train via Hassocks. London Waterloo to Winchester is 60 minutes. There are good local bus services in places (eg the South Downs Conservation Board “Breeze up to the Downs” promotions, Devils Dyke open top bus to Brighton, and buses from Brighton to Eastbourne via Alfriston and Beachy Head).
Information available: A National Trail Guide by Paul Millmore published by Aurum Press (£12.99). ISBN 978-1-84513-565-2. Also Harveys route strip map .from Harvey maps 01786 841202 www.harveymaps.co.uk. Also available from the NTO are a free Public Transport guide, Mountain Bike Guide and coming soon a new selection of short walks and rides route cards.
Contact for all information and advice: Contact the South Downs Way National Trail team, click here for contact details