Discovering Ditchling and Ashcombe Bottom
Wonderful views across the Weald to the north and Brighton and the sea to the south are to be found on this walk before heading down into the hidden depths of Ashcombe Bottom
Ditchling Beacon Car Park
From Ditchling Beacon Car Park you go down the steps and (carefully, as the visibility is not great down the hill) cross the road heading east. This walk follows the South Downs Way until you reach Blackcap. The path undulates over the downs and every step you are rewarded with views to the north and south.
At this point you will cross a track, this is Streat Bostal and is one of the tracks that were used to move animals from farm to the grazing on the downs. A little further on you will come across Plumpton Bostal on your left, keep going along the South Downs way.
You may have noticed that Plumpton Bostall has a hard surface of concrete. This was laid down in the Second World War as a tank trap. The downs in Sussex were used extensively as a training ground by the army.
You have reached Blackcap now and here the South Downs Way deviates south but you are going to go through the gate and carry on walking past the plantation taking the lower trackway on the right. On your right is Ashcombe Bottom and you will be walking along the northern edge.
The plantation on your left was originally planted between 1830-40, the local tradition is that it was planted as an aid to smugglers. The whole plantation was replanted in 1939 with 50 Beech and 36 Austrian beech underneath the remaining trees.
Here there is a stile into Ashcombe Bottom follow this track through the woodland, past an open area on your right, through another tunnel of trees until you reach a large bracken filled glade with a large oak tree in the middle.
At the open area you want to take the second track way on your left walk up this track up through the woods along the main ride.
Ashcombe Bottom is a fascinating woodland that is a mixture of scrub, open areas, hazel coppice and veteran oak and ash trees. There is a lot of diverse wildlife in the woodlands including dormice, white admiral butterflies and roe deer.
At the bridle gate walk up the hill until you reach the same bridle gate you entered Blackcap. Now it is a case of retracing you route along the South Downs Way back to Ditchling Beacon car park.
Ditchling Beacon car park
You made it
Following this trail on mobile or tablet? Share your experience.