Between the South Downs and the sea walk

Walking trail

Discover stunning views of the Seven Sisters, where the flower-embroidered downs plunge into the sea in a dazzling wall of white. Then turn inland through the peaceful hamlet of Crowlink to reach Friston Church and back across the downs to Birling Gap.

A common blue butterfly rests on top of a yellow bird's foot trefoil wildflower.


Map route for between the South Downs and the sea walk


Crowlink car park grid ref TV549978


Go carefully through Crowlink car park and continue along the lane towards the main road, before turning right through the gate into Friston Churchyard.


Go through the churchyard, through the far gate, and continue down through the meadow.

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Near the bottom of the meadow veer right to pick up a path up and go through the trees (or continue straight ahead through the gate to find the Tiger Inn at East Dean). At the top of the path turn right and climb the hill, keeping close to the wall on your left.


Follow the flint wall until you reach a stone step on your left, using the step climb over the flint wall and continue to follow the path across the field.


Go through the gate and skirt around the left of the field. Turn left through the kissing gate, aiming across the field to the red barn.


In front of the barn, pick up the sunken track over the brow of the hill and follow it through one gate and then a second, to join the track down towards Birling Gap.


For the Birling Gap cafe follow the South Downs Way along the track as it bears left down the hill and behind the toilet block. To continue without stopping turn right at the yellow waymark sign through the pedestrian gate and up onto the downs.

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Follow the coastline, but count each hill as you're only crossing three 'sisters' plus their 'little brother', Flat Brow. After descending the fourth hill - Flagstaff Brow, with its stone memorial on top - turn right along the coombe bottom, away from the sea.

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Pass the pond and then bear right along the path and straight on through a bridle gate.


Crowlink car park grid ref TV549978

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Between the South Downs and the sea walk


Some hills, short but steep in places. Paths can be muddy in winter. There are two stiles to cross. Dogs welcome but please keep them on leads when you are around grazing animals.

Between the South Downs and the sea walk

Contact us

Between the South Downs and the sea walk

How to get here

Crowlink Lane, Friston, near Eastbourne, BN20 0AY
By train

Eastbourne Station 6 miles (10km); Seaford Station 5 miles (9km); then by bus number 12 or 13X.

By road

6 miles (10 km) west of Eastbourne and 5 miles (9 km) east of Seaford. Crowlink car park is off the A259 at Friston Pond, between Seaford and Eastbourne. Postcode for Sat Nav: BN20 0AY.

By foot

1 mile off the South Downs Way between Exceat and Eastbourne, via Crowlink hamlet or Flagstaff Brow. Also on foot from Exceat via Friston Forest.

By bus

The number 13X bus runs hourly between Eastbourne Pier and Brighton Station via Birling Gap. Sundays and Bank Holidays only, September - April. Weekends and Bank Holidays from Easter to June. Daily from June to September. Number 12 bus runs via Friston Pond every day. See Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company for timetables.

Between the South Downs and the sea walk

Facilities and access

  • Toilets, cafe and shop at Birling Gap
  • Route passes near the Tiger Inn in East Dean (toilets and refreshments)