South Downs Way 4 : Amberley to Cocking walk
South Downs Way along the ridge of the South Downs NP. Views in the morning, a forested trail in the afternoon. Travel by bus.
18.6 km (11.6 mi) with 450m/350m ascent/descent.
6 out of 10
OS Explorer OL8 (Chichester) and OL10 (Arundel).
You'll need an OS Map, or a guidebook to the SDW with maps
This is a ridge walk along the South Downs Way (SDW) along a good, easy to follow path. There are fine views in the morning. The afternoon is forested, so even though you're on top of the ridge, it's like walking along a forested trail. There are better views in winter (weather permitting).
There are no facilities along the route apart from a cyclist's cafe at Upwaltham. There are pubs ~ 1km off the South Downs Way, in Duncton, Graffham and Heyshott.
The walk finished where the SDW meets the A286 by a bus stop about 1km south of Cocking. In Cocking itself is the Blue Bell pub (re-opened 2022), a tearoom at Moonlight Cottage B&B, and the same (regular) bus service south to Chichester or north to Midhurst (change again for Pulborough). Or stay overnight, and continue along the SDW towards Petersfield.
Divert north to Midhurst
Cocking has good bus connections, but the train journey from Chichester is longer and more expensive. As an alternative, Midhurst, a pretty village with plenty of amenities, is just 5 km north of Cocking and has a direct bus connection to Pulborough, which is on the same train line as Amberley, but one stop closer to London. The 2 bus fares are not cheap however.
In reverse: Cocking to Amberley
If you walk in the other direction, there is a nice pub in Amberley to finish in.
Cadence Cafe, Upwaltham, Littleton Farm, GU28 0LX. Kiosk selling drinks, cake and rolls. Popular with cyclists. (Only) outside seating. 8km from the start. The farm is marked on the 1:25K OS map.
If you do the walk in reverse, there is a riverside tearoom and pub by Amberley Station
|South Downs Way||
This walk is one of 9 stages of the South Downs Way - a 109 mile national long distance path - that traverses the South Downs National Park in South East England.
Bus Travel from Cocking
There is a bus stop where the SDW meets the main road, or you can walk 1km north to Cocking village where there is the Bluebell restaurant-pub to wait for the bus.
The 'change buses in Midhurst' trick does not work on the Amberley-Cocking walk. On Mon-Sat only, you could take the #60 north to Midhurst, then change to the #1 to Pulborough (see below). However, it costs an exorbitant £8 ("Dayrider Gold")
Theses bus details were correct in Dec-17, but are very likely to change - check before you travel using:
Taxi: "Paddy Cars. £20 to Haslemere for up to 7 people. t: 01730 263263 | 01730 262279. Folks can relax in the Bluebell Inn while waiting - journey time about 25 mins". You need to book in advance on sunny summer weekends.
Places to Stay
2-Day Walk : Petersfield to Cocking to Amberley via the SDW
This makes a great 2 day walk. Buy a period return to Chichester (where the 2 rail routes converge, or 2 singles). Cocking is a hamlet with a pub-restaurant. Midhurst, to the north is a small town.
Travel from Midhurst Updated Nov-21
Catch a bus to/from a station, preferably on the same rail line you arrived from. If not possible, buy a more expensive ticket to Chichester, which is valid on both rail lines.
Bus times change frequently. Check before you travel. Especially the time of the last bus!
There are 4 bus routes to choose from.
Portsmouth Direct Line from Waterloo to Haslemere or Petersfield
Arun Valley line from Victoria to Pulborough or Chichester
Both lines (a more expensive ticket to Chichester is needed, valid for all the above stations)
Taxi from Midhurst
BJ's Private Hire (01730 716 327 or 07732 590 806). Uber is about £20 for Midhurst to Haslemere.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
|Map Walk||This walk requires an OS map and a compass or GPS for navigation. You can print out OS maps using the link above.|
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
Starting in Amberley, follow the SDW to Cocking (clearly waymarked on the ground, and marked on the OS map).
In Cocking, there is a bus stop actually on the SDW, or divert north to the village to the pub
Alternative Endings/Starts to/from Midhurst, either from/to Cocking or via Heyshott are shown on the route map.