Questions about the South Downs Way walk
Coaches pick up from four points along the South Coast each morning - SHOREHAM / WORTHING / ARUNDEL & CHICHESTER and take you to and from the trail each day
There is an option this year of doing the full 9 day South Downs Way Walk from Winchester to Eastbourne or joining on the Sunday for a 7 day 'Original' South Downs Way Walk from the Queen Elizabeth Park to Eastbourne.
There is no accommodation provided along The South Downs during the event. Most local people will return home at the end of each day to family or friends.
Those coming from further afield usually book accommodation in either Arundel or Chichester for the full seven or nine days. These websites may help:-
Best friends are welcome on the Annual Walk but numbers on each coach are limited and early booking is essential.
There are set cancellation charges which are detailed in the terms and conditions. Please click on the following link and make a note of the significant dates and arrange some simple holiday insurance cover - or check with your credit card company.
Click here for the event terms & conditions
The daily pick-up times vary each day and will be confirmed in your joining instructions. They vary between 8:00am and 9:30am. The sectors we are walking are as follows:
Winchester - Exton 13 m Exton - Q.E. Park 12 m Q.E. Park - Cocking13 m Cocking - Whiteways 9m Whiteways - Washington 9 m Washington - Devils Dyke 12 m Devils Dyke - Newmarket 13 m Newmarket Inn - Alfriston 14 m Alfriston - Eastbourne 11 m
At the end of each day the coaches will leave as they fill up and return to all the pick-up points. Your return time is, therefore, a matter of how 'gently' you have taken the Annual Walk. It can be as early as 2pm (on the shorter middle days) or as late as 5pm
The cost for 2018 will be set in December, when all coach costs etc. are known.(In 2017 it was £249 per person for 9 days)
How Fit Do I Need to Be
The South Downs Way is officially graded as an ‘easy’ National Trail. The climbs up onto the ridge are not difficult, and if they are taken slowly, with lots of stops to admire the views, they should not present a problem to any seasoned walker.
The full trail walk is, however, 106 miles long and takes place over nine consecutive days so walkers (and their dogs) need to be reasonably fit and to come prepared with the right clothes and footwear for the Sussex Downs
Whilst the completion of any long distance walk is always an exciting challenge, this is one that can be achieved in relative safety and comfort.
Who will I be walking with?
To give you some idea of the people who take part; our questionnaires over the past five years show that:
Although there may be around 200 people taking part, it is very easy, after just an hour or so, to find yourself walking alone with just the sheep and butterflies. When you're ready for more company simply sit down for five minutes and join the next group coming along!
What to wear
When walking the South Downs remember two things:
The rewards are an enormous sense of well-being, satisfaction and achievement. And, of course, nine days spent in good company in the beautiful scenery of the South Downs National Park.
At the end of every walk all those who have taken part are invited to complete a questionnaire about their experience. Click here to see the results in 2017.
A personal diary
One of last year's walkers kept a personal diary of the nine days and has posted it on a webpage. It makes interesting reading :