Walking in the South Downs: day one

Walking trail

Part one of a two-day walk on the South Downs, tried and tested by environment and travel journalist Mark Rowe. You'll start at the Junction of the Downs Link and the South Downs Way, and finish day one at Ditchling, taking in stunning view of the Devil's Dyke and historic Saddlescombe Farm along the way.

Distant views over field systems at Devil's Dyke with trees and scrub framing left and right.


Map route for walking in the South Downs day one


Junction of Downs Link and South Downs Way, close to quarries, grid ref: TQ197096


Starting near the quarries at the junction of the Downs Link and South Downs Way (near Steyning), follow the route east from the A283 via Edburton Hill towards Devil's Dyke. (For an optional, longer route, start at Shoreham-by-Sea train station and walk up the Downs Link to the junction with the South Downs Way).


The South Downs Way sweeps you behind the viewing platform at Devil's Dyke, so you need to make a brief diversion here, picking up the path behind woodland by the Devil's Dyke Road.

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Continue along the South Downs Way to the next valley, where you'll find Saddlescombe Farm and its café, (grid ref: TQ274115).

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If you're planning to stay overnight in Ditchling, leave the ridge of the downland by any of the tracks (some of them little more than sheep tracks) down the steep hill. Take care along the side of Ditchling Road as you walk into the village.

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Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve, grid ref: TQ325134

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Walking in the South Downs: day one


A flinty walk, sometimes glassy and slippery in rain. Navigating is straightforward but look out for the acorn waymarkers, since it's all too easy to stride ever eastwards along the chalk escarpment. There are no rugged, awkward peaks, but this two day hike is no southern softy. The South Downs Way is consistently and clearly way-marked for almost its entire length. PLEASE NOTE: the map provided is intended as a rough guide, please take a map and compass with you. Well-behaved dogs welcome; please put on leads around any livestock.

Walking in the South Downs: day one

Contact us

Walking in the South Downs: day one

How to get here

Junction of Downs Link and South Downs Way, Steyning, near Horsham, West Sussex
By train

Shoreham-by-Sea station is a ten minute walk from the Downs Link, see National Rail (tel: 08457 484950) for details. If you want to skip this optional extra part of the walk and go direct to the South Downs Way, travel by bus from either Brighton or Shoreham-by-Sea train stations to Steyning.

By road

Junction of Downs Link and South Downs Way, Steyning, near Horsham, West Sussex. Nearest postcode is BN44 3TU.

By bus

Buses from Brighton or Shoreham-by-Sea to Steyning (near Horsham) take up to one hour. See either the Traveline (tel: 0870 6082608) or Brighton and Hove's bus and coach website.

Walking in the South Downs: day one

Facilities and access

  • There are no facilities near the start or end of this walk.
  • Cafe at Saddlescombe Farm