South Downs Way
Travel the length of the South Downs passing attractive wildlife, visible prehistory, fine pubs and pretty villages.
Welcome to the South Downs Way’s home page where you’ll find an introduction to the trail. You can access the trail’s main pages using the links above. Here you’ll find links to the Information & Map page, Trail Holidays page and the Add your information page.
If you’re thinking about planning a visit to the trail, please view the Interactive Map on the Trail Information & Map page. The map allows you to view the line of the trail alongside accommodation, things to do, services such as food and drink, transport, water points and more.
You can also find additional South Downs Way pages by going to ‘The Trails’ dropdown menu at the top of the page, clicking on the trail name and browsing the pages in the Further Information column. Here you can access pages such as the trail’s Route Description page, Leaflets page, Circular and Linear Walks page and Events.
Find useful facts and learn more about the South Downs Way below. Select the blue tabs below for more details.
The 100 miles (160 Km) long South Downs Way National Trail follows the old routes and droveways along the chalk escarpment and ridges of the South Downs. The route provides the visitor with the opportunity “to get away from it all” without having to travel too far in this busy part of England. The undulating route provides a wonderful trip for long distance riders as well as walkers. It also provides interesting day trips and short breaks.
Anyone who is reasonably fit can walk the South Downs Way – if you can comfortably walk say 12 miles (20km) in a day you shouldn’t have a problem.
The National Trail is very well way-marked so following the route is easy. But it is always a good idea to take a guidebook or map.
The South Downs Way can be enjoyed at any time of the year. However it does get busier during school holidays and on weekends between May and September you should expect to come across larger organised events.
The South Downs Way is tranquil island in the busy South East running entirely within the new South Downs National Park. You can feel a million miles from the hustle and bustle of modern life, but only be a few minutes from civilisation.
Running along a chalk ridge means that the Trail drains and dries out quickly making it good year round. The elevated position ensures you are rewarded by breathtaking views across the English Channel and Isle of Wight to the south and over the wooded Weald and heathland ridges to the north.
Whether you’re walking, on a mountain bike or on horseback the South Downs Way passes through a varied landscape of protected habitats including internationally important chalk rivers, internationally rare species rich chalk grasslands and beautiful ancient woodland. The Trail passes through or passes by 5 National Nature Reserves and dozens of Sites of Special Scientific Interest where you can enjoy stunning wildlife at close hand.
Visit our Walking Holidays Page for holiday inspiration for the South Downs Way.
Feeling inspired? Build a bespoke itinerary and start planning your visit to this great National Trail here.
Explore the chalk South Downs and visit country parks and world famous landscapes such as Seven Sisters, Devil's Dyke and Winchester Hill.