Walking trail

Devil's Dyke butterfly walk

Walking trail

There are lots of butterflies of note on this walk, including large populations of Adonis blue, chalkhill blue and green hairstreak and smaller populations of brown argus, dark-green fritillary and silver-spotted skipper. Also, large populations of six-spot burnet moths (day-flying) and all three species of day-flying forester moth. There are a variety of chalk grassland flowers too, including drifts of common rockrose and horseshoe vetch and frequent carline thistle, dropwort and downland orchids.

Butterfly in the garden in the summer at Monk's House, East Sussex


Map route for Devils Dyke butterfly walk


Main car park by Devil's Dyke Hotel, grid ref: TQ257110


From the car park, take the first on the right, just by the roundabout, climb over the bank and walk down a short section of path. Turn left on to the main path running along the top of the Iron Age hill fort embankment. At the far end there are some stunted oaks.

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Swing left off the path after the bridle gate, to wander over the lower slope of the open downland, heading down-slope of two stunted oaks on the spur, and dropping down to pick up a long flight of steps leading down to a kissing gate amongst hazel bushes.

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After the kissing gate at the foot of the steps, turn right to follow the main path through ash woodland. Straight over a cross rides and descend a flight of some 20 steps, cross the stile into the bottom of Dyke Valley.

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After the stile, turn right to follow the main path up the Dyke's bottom, all the way up. (In windy weather, stay on this path but in calm weather follow one of the sheep tracks running along the lower slope, rejoining the main path later). Near the summit, the main path sweeps right. Follow it through the bridle gate back into the car park where you started.

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Main car park by Devil's Dyke Hotel, grid ref: TQ257110

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Devil's Dyke butterfly walk


Chalk downland valley with steep slopes. Dry ground, though downslope paths can be slippery when wet. Route avoids the steepest slopes - zig-zags downhill and takes gentle incline back up. Suitable for older children. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leads, as livestock in surroundings fields. No dog bins so please take dog litter home.

Devil's Dyke butterfly walk

Contact us

Devil's Dyke butterfly walk

How to get here

Devil's Dyke Road, Near Brighton, West Sussex
By train

Brighton train station 6 miles. A train ticket gets you a '2-for-1' offer on adult single and return tickets, or a 1/3 discount on a full adult single fare, on the 77 service bus to Devil's Dyke. Just show the bus driver your valid train ticket

By road
Devil's Dyke car park is 2 miles north of A27 Brighton ring road, and just off A281
Parking: Pay & display parking at Devil's Dyke. £2 all day, National Trust members and Blue Badge holders park free. Suitable for coaches. Free car parking [limited spaces] at Summer Down Road
SatNav: Devil's Dyke: Easting 525844, Northing 110977 Summer Down Road: Easting 526968,Northing 111104
By foot

Devil's Dyke lies on the South Downs Way, a popular 100 mile long National Trail running from Winchester to Eastbourne. A variety of other footpaths lead to Devil's Dyke from all directions: Brighton 5 miles, local villages Fulking and Poynings both 1 mile.

By bus

The 77 bus travels up to Devil's Dyke from the centre of Brighton, passing the pier and train station. The bus runs every day in summer, weekends and Bank Holidays in spring and autumn, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays in winter (except Christmas Day). Each paying adult can take two children on this bus for free. A bus leaflet called 'Breeze up to the Dyke' is available. For more info, check Brighton and Hove Buses. A regular bus service 17 runs between Brighton and Poynings, from where it is a pleasant 25 minute uphill walk to Devil's Dyke. For enquiries and general journey planning, call 01273 292480

By bicycle

The South Downs Way is suitable for off-road cycling, involving some rough ground, ascent and descent. The disused railway line cycle path runs from Hangleton near Hove to Devil's Dyke, it offers about 4 miles of family-friendly cycling on a paved path up gentle slopes, part of NCN route 20, Brighton to Crawley. There are a variety of other bridleways and cycle paths north and south of the area

Devil's Dyke butterfly walk

Facilities and access

  • Free parking at Summer Down Road; pay & display parking at Devil's Dyke. £2 all day, National Trust members and Blue Badge holders park free. Suitable for coaches
  • Toilets available in Devil's Dyke car park (not NT facilities)
  • There are no picnic tables, but picnickers are welcome. Please take your litter home
  • Refreshments - there is a pub next to the car park at the top of Devil's Dyke. If you spend £10 or more on food, you'll be reimbursed for your parking fee at Devil's Dyke car park
  • Lots of footpaths to explore, pick up one of our site leaflets from the information boards.
  • The South Downs Way runs alongside the Devil's Dyke
  • A network of bridleways criss-cross the Devil's Dyke estate and offer great cycling for both novice riders and more experienced mountain-bikers
  • Model aircraft flying takes place east of the white markers near the Devil's Dyke car park
  • Devil's Dyke is one of Europe's finest sites for paragliding and hang-gliding
  • Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leads where signs indicate livestock are grazing
  • A permanent orienteering course (novice to expert level) explores the beautiful downland and woodland around Devil's Dyke. A map is available for £1 from our information trailer