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South Downs Way

Guemes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
Wondering if there are any of you who have walked this route? Looking for any information or ideas. Planning on late September/ early October.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
We walked two days on it while we were training for our first Camino in 2013. We were living in London at the time and took the train to Alfriston. There were a number of Air BnB options there and I can’t remember where we stayed, only that it was reasonable! We walked west from Alfriston and then returned on the first day. On the second day we walked to Eastbourne. The walk to Eastbourne was along the cliffs and was AMAZING! We trained back to London from Eastbourne. We definately intend to return and walk the whole way so I’ll look forward to any other feedback you get.
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
It's a pleasant gentle walk similar to the Galician section of the Camino de Santiago. Your main problem will be accomodation as there are sections where you have to come [down] off the route and then return the next morning - unless you are wild camping. Are you starting at Winchester or at Eastbourne?

This is a section at Devils Dyke which gives an idea of the terrain. It was done in May when the Spring flowers were out. September/early October should be dry too.
 

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wjohnk

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugese Coastal (2019)
My wife and I walked the South Downs Way in stages six years ago. We spent 3 or 4 nights in one place e.g. Newhaven and used public transport to get to the start and finish of each day's stage. We then moved to a new base and did the next few stages. We had OAP bus passes and Senior Rail Cards and were not doing long distances each day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
The SDW runs through my backyard so we walk bits fairly frequently. Rolling chalk downland and some interesting river valleys. As has been said, accommodation is the challenge. There are Youth Hostels at Eastbourne, Southease, near Lewes, and Truleigh Hill. Their clunky website is here: https://www.yha.org.uk/stay. Thereafter you're dependent on Pubs & B&B's. National Trails site here: https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/south-downs-way/accommodation-hotels.

The argument for walking Winchester to Eastbourne is to put our prevailing westerly winds behind you. But then Pilgrims arriving in Winchester can claim there Wayfarers Dole of bread and beer at http://hospitalofstcross.co.uk/visiting-st-cross/

Passing Pilgrims in need will find a shot of Orujo by my fireside ;)
 

Bend

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014/15)
Finisterre (2014)
Le Puy (2017/18)
Portugal (2019)
The SDW runs through my backyard so we walk bits fairly frequently. Rolling chalk downland and some interesting river valleys. As has been said, accommodation is the challenge. There are Youth Hostels at Eastbourne, Southease, near Lewes, and Truleigh Hill. Their clunky website is here: https://www.yha.org.uk/stay. Thereafter you're dependent on Pubs & B&B's. National Trails site here: https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/south-downs-way/accommodation-hotels.

The argument for walking Winchester to Eastbourne is to put our prevailing westerly winds behind you. But then Pilgrims arriving in Winchester can claim there Wayfarers Dole of bread and beer at http://hospitalofstcross.co.uk/visiting-st-cross/

Passing Pilgrims in need will find a shot of Orujo by my fireside ;)
Must remember that - I love the SDW!
 

Bend

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014/15)
Finisterre (2014)
Le Puy (2017/18)
Portugal (2019)
Wondering if there are any of you who have walked this route? Looking for any information or ideas. Planning on late September/ early October.
I walked it in two sections about 10 years ago. Lovely walk over chalk paths with views of sea one side and rolling hillside the other. As others have said, main problem is accommodation - you have to descend each night and return to the top next morning. Where there were no youth hostels, we stayed in small B&Bs in villages, often visiting the pretty local church in the morning before setting off up the hill for the day’s walk. Worth booking accommodation early. Good luck!
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
I too live very close to the SDW and walk stretches of it frequently. I have never tried to walk the whole length as accommodation options are surprisingly limited and mostly very expensive.
I walked the North Downs Way with a friend a couple of years ago and the average accommodation cost was £60pp per night - and it was hard to find anything near the path. in fact we stayed at Clacket Lane Services next to the M25 one night!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
The SDW runs through my backyard so we walk bits fairly frequently. Rolling chalk downland and some interesting river valleys. As has been said, accommodation is the challenge. There are Youth Hostels at Eastbourne, Southease, near Lewes, and Truleigh Hill. Their clunky website is here: https://www.yha.org.uk/stay. Thereafter you're dependent on Pubs & B&B's. National Trails site here: https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/south-downs-way/accommodation-hotels.

The argument for walking Winchester to Eastbourne is to put our prevailing westerly winds behind you. But then Pilgrims arriving in Winchester can claim there Wayfarers Dole of bread and beer at http://hospitalofstcross.co.uk/visiting-st-cross/

Passing Pilgrims in need will find a shot of Orujo by my fireside ;)
Just a question. Is there a hiking trail over 500 meters that you do not know about???? :) ;)
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
If you are going west to east, you can combine the SDW with the Old Way and travel from Winchester/Salisbury to Canterbury.

The crossover is close to Steyning or the oddly named Fulking.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Fulk (Foulque) was a common name in the Poitevin and Maine regions of France a thousand years ago at the time of the Conquest. Perhaps one of the new lords of that town was so named.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Ah, Fulking: Defined by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd in The Meaning of Liff as meaning "pretending not to be in when the carol singers come round." @NorthernLight is more likely more accurate in the derivation of the name.

I find some of the way-points on the Old Way a bit odd; though I understand the ambition and that most relate to Ecclesiastic and Manorial settlements that would have provided shelter and sustenance. Even so, heading down of the chalk ridge to squelch through the wealden clays seems a somewhat profound penance even for a Pilgrim. You can in fact follow the SDW to Jevington and then throw a left for Hankham, Herstmonceux & the wilds of Kent
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Ah, Fulking: Defined by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd in The Meaning of Liff as meaning "pretending not to be in when the carol singers come round." @NorthernLight is more likely more accurate in the derivation of the name.
The village's community website has a slightly different slant: "The name of the village has always attracted a certain amount of merriment for those that like to rearrange letters in an Anglo-Saxon manner and probably derives from the early settlers ‘the people of the Folc’ and by the time the Domesday record was made in 1086 ‘Fochinges’ or ‘Fockings’ was a well-established farming settlement: "
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - León, Camino Frances (2012 - 2019)
I walked the SDW in stages some years ago, from West to East. From Alfriston there are two ways into Eastbourne for the final leg. One passes over the Seven Sisters (seven chalk hills - I swear there's eight of them) and passes perilously close to the unfenced (and unstable) cliff.

The other, more picturesque route, goes inland, through the village of Jevington, which claims to be the site of the invention of banoffee pie.

Accommodation can be a problem. As mentioned, the National Trails website is useful.

When I was doing it, often on a Sunday when there was little, if any, public transport, I would often hitchike back to my car, or to a railway station. I never had to wait long for a lift but, then, I suppose I've lost that Serial Killer look of my younger days.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I went and did some quick research, and I find no Fulk resident there. At the time of the Survey, Tezelin the cook held the property, of the Earl of Warenne. Folchinges was the earlier name.

... end of hijack...
 
Camino(s) past & future
St Jacques (2015) Finisterra & Muxia (2015) Caravaca de la Cruz (2019) Camino de Alba (2019) Lana
I walked it 2 years ago west to east. On your own, accommodation will be a problem as the B&B’s are very expensive with the single supplement. I found it tedious having to come down off the trail every night and walk, sometimes a very long way, to my accommodation. In the end I booked with a walking holiday company as I was finding it difficult to find places to stay. It was expensive and frankly I was not impressed with the places I stayed given how much I paid.
I walked in September and hardly saw a soul - in fact no-one at all for the first 2 days. No services on the trail itself.
The countryside is glorious. It’s a fantastic trail for day walks! Maybe investigate staying in one or two places and getting a taxi to the start and finish every day? Not sure if this would be possible but of all the walks I have done this was the most tedious logistically due to the accommodation issues. Good luck!
 

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