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Things to see and do at Ditchling Beacon

Misty view across the Sussex Downs at dawn from Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex
Misty view across the Sussex Downs at dawn from Ditchling Beacon | © National Trust Images/Nick Dautlich

Less than 6½ miles from Brighton, Ditchling Beacon is the highest point in East Sussex, with expansive views across the Weald and the South Downs. Sunny days call for a picnic, windy ones for a spot of kite flying; there are birds and butterflies to look out for, the remains of an Iron Age hillfort and a manageable walk to nearby Blackcap.

Scale the highest point in East Sussex

At 814 feet (248 metres) above sea level, the trig point at Ditchling Beacon marks the highest point in the county and offers 360-degree views. Look north towards the sea, south over the Weald and east to west across the Downs. And when the conditions are right, there’s the dramatic sight of mist rolling up the valley.

Look out for wildlife

As you stroll around the downland, keep your eyes peeled for kestrels hovering overhead. Redwings feed on the grass among the sheep and there are linnets in the scrub, which flock together during winter.

Between spring and early autumn, there’s a variety of butterflies, including the scarce silver-spotted skipper, the green hairstreak and the marbled white.

Walk the South Downs Way

Walk, run or cycle across a section of the South Downs. It’s around 2½ miles from Ditchling Beacon to Blackcap – another National Trust location with great views of its own.  

Signpost and stile on Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex
Signpost and stile on Ditchling Beacon | © National Trust Images/Gary Cosham

Breeze up from Brighton

At weekends and Bank Holidays you can catch the number 79 bus from Brighton up to Ditchling Beacon. The service is provided by a partnership between Brighton & Hove City Council, the National Trust and the South Downs National Park Authority.

If you’re feeling energetic, you might even decide to walk one leg of it – it’s just under 6½ miles in each direction.

See the remains of the Iron Age hillfort

Within the bounds of the Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve – managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust – are the remains of an Iron Age hillfort. Due to extensive ploughing, not a huge amount is left of the bank and ditch earthworks but there are still some remnants to be seen on the ground.

Nearby is another point of archaeological interest – some Anglo-Saxon burial mounds.

An image of a cyclist riding on a garvel track across a grass hill with the sun behind them

Discover more at Ditchling Beacon

Find out how to get to Ditchling Beacon, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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