Walking trail

Devil's Dyke histories and mysteries walk

Walking trail

Explore ancient chalk downland and the deepest dry valley in the country and discover where the Devil and his wife are said to be buried whilst watching kestrels soar above you. Towards the end of the walk you'll visit an ancient farmstead with over 1,000 years of history and experience stunning views over the Sussex countryside.

A postcard showing the Victorian funicular railway station that took visitors to the village of Poynings


Map route for Devil's Dyke histories and mysteries walk


Devil's Dyke car park, grid ref: TQ258110


From the car park at the pub, go back towards the big Devil's Dyke pub sign and onwards past the bus turning circle. Follow the path alongside the road. On your left is a gate with a sign on a post. Look at the banks on either side of the road - these are the remains of the ramparts of the Iron Age hill fort.

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Head straight down into the valley for 55yd (50m or 1 min), then make a sharp hairpin bend right and go through a gate which leads into the deep valley. (From here, look up to your right on the side of the valley and you can see the concrete footings of the Great Cableway.) Walk to the bottom of the valley, follow it as it curves left and you can see the Devil's Graves ahead (two humps in the ground). Continue round to the left until you reach a fence across your route.

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Go through the small bridle gate in the right-hand end of the fence, continue along the bridle path for 130yd (120m or 3 mins) and turn sharply right up a steep footpath which leads to a stile.


Go over the stile and follow the path up the incline which then takes you along the edge of a field, with telegraph poles in it. Head up the tarmac track and through the gate at the top.


Cross the road and go into Saddlescombe Farm, past the pond on your right. The Hiker's Rest cafe (not NT) is in the courtyard after the first barn on your left. After tea you can visit the Donkey Wheel (one of only four in the county). Go left out of the cafe with the barn on your right and the cottages ahead on the left. At the end cottage there is a stile on your right leading to the small, square black wooden-clad building with a steeply-pitched slate roof.

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Return to the cafe and continue on the second-half of this figure-of-eight walk. This time the walk takes you up through woods which lead to fabulous views. Retrace your steps out of the farm, back across the road and back through the gate at the top of the tarmac track.

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Turn left immediately, walk past the trough and then turn right above the fence and ditch. Walk beside the ditch for 55yd (50m or 2 mins). Go straight over the field, coming away from the ditch. You will be able to see a view of the Dyke Valley that you walked earlier. At the top of the slope you reach a stile.


Go over the stile and turn immediately right down a very steep bank. If the weather is wet this can get muddy, you can avoid this by continuing along the path then do a hairpin bend turning right and going down into the valley. You can see the bridle gate you went through earlier.


This time take the stile at the left-hand end of the fence and climb the steps up through the wood. Follow the path to a crossroads.


You will see six steps across the path, go up these and follow the path through the woods until you reach a kissing gate.


Go through this gate, up a steep incline which has 63 steps. It's worth it, though. Halfway up, have a look through the bushes to your right - the view is amazing. You can see the village of Poynings below. Take care following the narrow path up and across the escarpment. The views continue to be stunning, with Fulking village in the distance. If you're lucky you can spot birds and hang-gliders soaring above you. If you look carefully at the ground, there is a wide gulley crossing this path - this used to be the site of the funicular (steep grade) railway. Continue up this path until you reach another kissing gate above you on your left.

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A postcard showing the Victorian funicular railway station that took visitors to the village of Poynings


This is the last gate on the walk; you can either head straight back to the pub car park, or follow the fence left to see the remains of the funicular railway station. Have a drink at the pub, enjoy the view outside and take a look at the stone lookout with a map of the whole area and a telescope nearby. In the car park there is a National Trust information board with ideas for other great walks and things to do in the area.


Devil's Dyke car park, grid ref: TQ258110

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Devil's Dyke histories and mysteries walk


Allow about 1.5 hours for this 3 mile (4.8km) figure-of-eight walk including a visit to the Hiker's Rest cafe (not NT) at Saddlescombe Farm. This is a challenging walk with some fairly steep ascents and descents. Some people may find the escarpment path a bit exposed but the views are spectacular. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leads, as livestock in surroundings fields. Bins for dog waste can be found in the car park at Devil's Dyke.

Devil's Dyke histories and mysteries walk

Contact us

Call the Rangers at the Estate office on 01273 857712 or e-mail us devilsdyke@nationaltrust.org.uk

Devil's Dyke histories and mysteries walk

How to get here

Devil's Dyke, South Downs, West Sussex, BN1 8YJ
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 histories and mysteries walk

Facilities and access

  • Hiker's Rest tea cafe in the courtyard at Saddlescombe Farm (not NT)
  • Toilets available in Devil's Dyke car park (not NT facilities)
  • 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
  • Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leads where signs indicate livestock are grazing