Brighton Downs

Explore the South Downs around the vibrant city of Brighton by bus on this 4.5 miles (3 hour) linear walk.

From the centre of Brighton you can catch the number 77 bus to Devil's Dyke which runs approximately every hour. At Devil's Dyke you can explore Britain's largest dry chalk valley and discover the legend of Devil trying to flood the wealden churches. You can enjoy a drink or some food at the Devil's Dyke Hotel whilst taking in the stunning view. From here walk along the South Downs Way around the top of the 'Dyke' and drop down to Saddlescombe Farm. Saddlescombe farm is part of the National Trust estate and a fine example of a traditional working downland farm. Here you'll also find "The Hikers Rest" where you can enjoy fresh homemade locally sourced food. there is also an interesting information barn, drinking water tap and toilets.

Continue east along the South Downs Way over Newtimber Hill, taking a moment to soak up the 360 degree views from the top. To the south to can look back towards Brighton and the sea, and from here you'll get the first glimps of the famous Jack & Jill windmills. The way now drops down to Pyecombe and crosses the A23. You'll soon leave the noise of the A23 behind as you walk though the old village of Pyecombe famous for the production of shepherds crocks. As you continue east up through Pyecombe golf course the views open up again. After a mile or so you'll come to a junction where you have a choice of continuing along the South Downs Way towards Ditchling or taking a track to jack & Jill Windmills. It's worth the 5 minute detour here to see the mills. Jill Mill the white post mill is a working mill open to the public at weekends during the summer.

Now retrace your steps for 100 metres or so to rejoin the South Downs Way and continue walking east towards Ditchling Beacon. This stretch of the South Downs Way is stunning with great views to the north and south. you'll pass 2 traditional Dew Ponds full of wildlife and have the opportunity to explore the wild flower rich chalk grasslands to adjacent to the trail. At Ditchling Beacon you can enjoy the Sussex Wildlife Trust's Reserve with its sunning chalk grassland. The Beacon is the highest point along the South Downs Way in Sussex. At the small hilltop car park owned and managed by the National Trust you can enjoy an ice cream whilst waiting for the number 79 bus to take you effortlessly back to the centre of Brighton.


Jack & Jill Windmills - Andy Gattiker