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Hillsides with sheep tracks and ridges and a distant view of the hillfort, and a black building, at Devil's Dyke
Distant view of the hillfort at Devil's Dyke | © National Trust / Christine Dawson

Fulking archaeology walk

This circular route, starting and ending at The Devil's Dyke pub, is an archaeological walk through time, along the glorious contours of the Sussex Downs. On one side is the Weald, and on the other, the sea.

Total steps: 10

Total steps: 10

Start point

The Devil's Dyke pub car park, Dyke Road, Poynings, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 8YJ. Grid ref: TQ260103

Step 1

Starting opposite The Devil's Dyke pub and a few metres beyond the bus stop, follow the yellow public footpath arrow pointing west to a kissing gate ahead. Go through the gate and continue along the path, passing a ruined brick structure on your left.

Step 2

Continue westwards along the path towards the fence line, with a metal gate and fingerpost just beyond. Pass through this gate and then follow the grass track marked 'public bridleway' diagonally across the field, heading towards the sea.

Step 3

Continue along this grass track for about 1km until you reach the corner of the field. Just before the corner there is a wooden gate, but do not pass through this. Instead, turn so that you have the sea behind you. Walking away from the sea, follow the fence line, keeping the fence on your left.

Step 4

Continue keeping the fence on your left until you reach the corner of this field. You will see scrub trees and a cattle track leading down onto the slope in front. Going down the slope, passing a line of scrub on your right, there is a low grassed-over flint wall, also on your right. This may be difficult to see in the summer as grass may obscure it. You can also see the remains of a flint wall with brick buttressing following the fence at right angles to the one you have just followed. On the other side of the valley is Perching Hill. The deserted structure in the valley bottom is Perching Hill Barn.

Looking towards Perching Hill and its deserted medieval village, along the line of the ruined flint wall
Looking towards Perching deserted medieval village | © National Trust/Graham Wellfare

Step 5

Continue straight down into the valley, keeping the ruined, grassed-over flint wall on your right. You will see a modern fence ahead in the valley bottom and beyond it a concrete water trough. Just above the trough up the slope in the field you are in you can see some depressions.

Step 6

Turn right and follow the modern fence line, keeping the fence on your left. On your right is a steep bank. You can either continue to follow the fence line on lower land or scramble a few metres up the bank.

Step 7

Continue to follow the fence line. About halfway up to the brow of the hill turn around. From here you have the best view down onto the medieval field system. Up at the end of the fence line you will meet the South Downs Way (SDW) running east-west along the ridge. Here is a small wooden post plus a waymarker post with a blue SDW disc. Face north to the Weald stretching out below you. Immediately ahead of you on the other side of the South Downs Way, you will see a mound with low wooden fences on its east and west sides.

A hilltop with a mound, and views over countryside beyond, which is a Bronze Age bowl barrow on Fulking Hill
Bronze Age bowl barrow on Fulking Hill | © National Trust/Graham Wellfare

Step 8

Follow the South Downs Way west towards the pylons for about 50 metres. On your left there is a small clump of trees. Among these, when the undergrowth is thinned in winter, you can catch a glimpse of a brick and concrete platform.

Step 9

Continue west, keeping the fence on your left. Cross under the pylons. The deep chalk tracks (bostals) going down the scarp slope from the South Downs Way are ancient highways. They have been gouged out by centuries of rain but also by the traffic of humans, carts and animals. Continue through the gate after the pylons and strike up the hill to your right towards the clump of trees on the top. Proceed through the gate in the fence ahead which surrounds a mound.

A hilltop with an indentation, which is Edburton motte and bailey castle, at Devil's Dyke, Sussex
Edburton motte and bailey castle | © National Trust/Bernard Booth

Step 10

After a circuit of the castle, cross over the stile on the Weald side and walk back east to rejoin the South Downs Way. The line of villages along the road at the foot of the scarp slope marks the line of springs there. Stay on the South Downs Way and continue to head back east until you reach the car park. As you walk you can get good views of the Weald and the sea and excellent views of the Devil's Dyke hillfort ramparts ahead.

End point

The Devil's Dyke pub car park, Dyke Road, Poynings, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 8YJ. Grid ref: TQ260103

Trail map

Fulking archaeological walk map
Fulking archaeological walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Get in touch

Devil's Dyke, Nr Brighton, West Sussex

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