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

Walk through history at Ditchling Beacon

Uncover secrets from thousands of years of history on this short but steep walk around Ditchling Beacon. Discover the remains of an Iron Age hillfort, evidence of early industry and ancient farming trackways as you learn how to read the lumps and bumps in the ground beneath your feet.

Total steps: 6

Total steps: 6

Start point

Ditchling Beacon car park, postcode: BN6 8XG.

Step 1

Head west on the South Downs Way from Ditchling Beacon car park and go up the ramp through the gate into Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve (Sussex Wildlife Trust). You will see the site of an Iron Age hillfort. Although extensive ploughing has damaged the bank and ditch earthworks, there are still a few remains of the former structure discernible.

Step 2

Walk through the hillfort and look out for a sandstone boundary stone that marks the boundary between Ditchling and Westmeston Parishes. Ahead you'll see the Ditchling Ordnance Survey trig point.

Step 3

A grassy path splits off from the flint track on your right-hand side – take this path and walk over the brow of the hill. Go through the kissing gate into Ditchling Down and then turn right downhill. Take care on the steep path.

Step 4

Cross over the stile in front of you and, after a short stretch, go through a kissing gate on your left. Cross over another stile and then turn right over one more stile before heading down some steps into a big field. Head towards the newly planted hedge in front of you and, with it on your right, walk to the end of the field.

Step 5

Go over the stile in front of you, turn right on to Burnthouse Bostal and climb up the scarp slope to the top of the Downs. The sunken track is bounded by coppiced and pollarded Ash trees. The track opens up and, as it bends to the right, keep following it up the slope. When you get near the top of the slope, keep the bushes to your right and 100m further on you'll reach a gate. Go through this, turn left and you are now back on the South Downs Way.

Step 6

Walk on till you reach another gate. Look out for Burnthouse dewpond on your right and, a bit further on, you'll see a burial mound on your left. As you carry on walking back towards the car park you'll see another dewpond along with some Anglo Saxon burial mounds before reaching a gate that takes you back into the Sussex Wildlife Reserve. Keep on the South Downs Way until you reach Ditchling Beacon car park.

End point

Ditchling Beacon car park, postcode: BN6 8XG.

Trail map

Map of the walk route
The route map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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