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Things to see and do at Cissbury Ring

View over Cissbury Ring, Sussex, in summer
View over Cissbury Ring in summer | © National Trust Images/David Sellman

Cissbury Ring is the largest hillfort in Sussex and dates back more than 5,000 years. Its ditch and ramparts enclose about 65 acres of land, and the views from the top stretch to the chalk cliffs beyond Brighton and as far as the Isle of Wight. With footpaths to follow, nature to spot and archaeological features to find, there’s plenty to explore.

Walking and cycling at Cissbury Ring

Cissbury Ring is right in the middle of a network of bridleways and footpaths leading off in all directions, giving you endless opportunities to explore. Just to the north is Monarch’s Way, Britain’s second-longest signed walking trail. It follows the escape route of Charles II after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 and runs all the way from Worcester to Shoreham Harbour.

Take a hike

Make Cissbury your destination. Worthing town centre is 5 km (3.2 miles) to the south, Findon is 1.8 km (1.2 miles) to the west, and Steyning is 4.8 km (3 miles) to the east. Alternatively, set out from Cissbury Ring and head to Chanctonbury Ring 3.8 km (2.4 miles) to the north.

‘50 things to do before you're 11¾’

If you've taken up the '50 things’ challenge with your kids, you’ll be pleased to know you can tick a few things off your list at Cissbury Ring.

  • Climb a huge hill and then roll down it again.
  • Fly a kite in the wide, open space.
  • Watch for birds, hunt for bugs and find some mini-beasts to hold.
Kite flying at Dunstable Downs and Whipsnade Estate, Bedfordshire
Tick kite-flying off your '50 things' list at Cissbury Ring | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Experience the past

As you explore Cissbury Ring you might find signs of the past, taking you back thousands of years. Step back to Neolithic times on the western side of the hill where you can see evidence of flint mining: the hollows of the pit shafts and the mounds of the spoil heaps.

Sullington Warren

A rare and special space of lowland heath, explore the winding paths of peaceful Sullington Warren. Come to the central grassy area known as ‘The Green’ to have a picnic, play games with your children or just sit in the sun with a book. Discover the various habitats as you walk the many paths here - you never know what you’ll find just around the corner.

Woods and heathland

The woodland areas of the warren are home to a variety of birds including the nuthatch and the tree creeper. Listen out for woodpeckers drilling and if you’re lucky you may even see a buzzard nesting in the treetops. Wet heathland has developed on the lower ground to the eastern side of Sullington Warren – look out for bog mosses, cotton grass and sundews in this area.

The dry heathland on the higher ground is full of colour in late summer as the heather comes into bloom. This provides a home for adders, lizards and lots of insects, including the Sullington cranefly, a species first found on, and named after, Sullington Warren. The heather also provides good cover for ground-nesting birds like the skylark.

A historic windmill

On the south side of the warren, hidden in the woodland, you can find the site of an old windmill. It was built around 1800 and over the years has been referred to as the White Mill, Warren Mill or Crowhurst’s Mill. It once stood on top of the hill on open heathland but was sadly destroyed by fire in 1911. All that remains to be seen is the windshaft that held the sails.

Visitor facilities

Please note that there are no visitor facilities at Sullington Warren.

Belted Galloway Cattle Tarn Hows, Lake District, Cumbria
See Belted Galloway cattle grazing in summer at Cissbury Ring | © National Trust / Paul Harris

Visit Warren Hill

Explore the great outdoors at the peaceful Warren Hill. You can go for a run, take a leisurely walk or find a peaceful spot for a picnic. Encourage your children to explore the woodlands or make a den; they will love the informal play features made from felled trees.

A mixed landscape

In the past Warren Hill was a small forestry estate that would have produced timber, and you can still see small plantations of softwoods, hazel and sweet chestnut coppice alongside the beautiful tall oaks. In other areas you’ll find mixed semi-natural woodland with broad paths, grassy glades and a small pocket of heathland.

Belted Galloway cattle

In mid-summer belted Galloway cattle graze in the area of pasture woodland. Come and say hello to these good-natured animals as they carry out important work by eating away the undergrowth and lower leaves of the trees. Look out for signs letting you know if they are grazing.

Visitor facilities

Please note that there are no facilities at Warren Hill.

A bench under a tree with far-reaching views, at Cissbury Ring, West Sussex

Discover more at Cissbury Ring

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