What maps do I need?
Although the South Downs Way is very well marked with signposts and coloured arrows, it is alway advisable to carry a map with you. Not only can you be reassured that you're on the right track but you will also be able to deviate off the trail to explore the surrounding countryside or find a pub for some well earned refreshment.
Ordnance Survey Maps
The most detailed and comprehensive mapping of the south downs is produced by Ordnance Survey.
Landranger Scale 1:50,000 (2 cm to 1 1km, 1 1/4 inches to 1 mile)
The Landranger maps are adequate for cycling where longer distances are covered, but Explorer 1:25,000, are recommended for walkers. The following Landranger maps will be needed to cover the whole South Downs Way.
- Winchester & Basingstoke, map number 185
- Chichester & The South Downs, map number 197
- Brighton & Lewes, map number 198
- Eastbourne & Hastings, map number 199
Explorer Scale 1:25,000 (4 cm to 1 km, 2 1/2 inches to 1 mile)
Explorer maps are more detailed than the Landranger series and are ideal for walkers and horse riders. All explorer maps are available as waterproof encapsulated maps from Ordnance Survey and are called "OS Explorer Map - Active" The following Explorer maps Will be needed to cover the whole of the South Downs Way.
- Winchester, Alresford & East Meon, map number 132
- Chichester, South Harting & Selsey, map number 120
- Arundel & Pulborough, map number 121
- Brighton & Hove, Lewes & Burgess Hill, map number 122
- Eastbourne & Beachy Head, map number 123
Map 199, Meon Valley, Portsmouth, Gosport & Fareham, also shows part of the South Downs Way, but this is also covered on Map 132. Map 133, Haslemere & Petersfield, does not show any of the South Downs Way itself, but is useful to show routes to and from Petersfield and the surrounding villages.
All Ordnance Survey maps can be purchased from their online shop at www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/leisure , alternatively most good bookshops and outdoor shops stock OS maps. They cost around £8 per map for paper and £15 per map for waterproof encapsulated maps, however prices may vary.
Harvey Maps produce a single sheet map showing the whole of the South Downs Way at a scale of 1:40,000. These maps are printed on 100% waterproof, tough and lightweight paper. Harvey Maps can be brought from most good bookshops or outdoor shops or from their online shop at www.harveymaps.co.uk
Digital Ordnance Survey Maps are also available for use on home computers and satellite navigation systems. Memory Map produced digital 1:25,000 maps covering the whole of the South Downs. This allows you to plan routes, produce route profiles and print off maps of the area you want from the home. Visit www.memory-map.co.uk for more information.
Guide Books for the South Downs Way
An alternative to buying and carrying several maps is to use a copy of one of the many guide books available for the South Downs Way.
The Official National Trail Guide for the South Downs Way uses Ordnance Survey map extracts for each section of the Trail. This guide is written by Paul Millmore and published by Aurum Press. ISBN 1 85410 966 9.
Cicerone publish a guide also using OS mapping, although much smaller extracts. This guide describes the route in both directions. This is written by Kev Reynolds. ISNB 1 85284 429 9.
Trailblazer publish a guide written by Jim Manthorpe. This uses hand drawn maps and street plans. ISNB 1 873756 71 2.
Along the South Downs Way, is published by the South Downs Society. ISBN 9 78097 168096.
The Big walks of Great Britain, is a guide to all the National Trails in Britain. Written by David Bathurst and published by Summersdale. ISBN-10 1840245662.
This list of maps and guides is by no means exhaustive and other guides may exists.