Saturday Walkers Club
Manicured footpath

Manicured footpath

by moontiger

In a wood

In a wood

by moontiger

Woodland Path

Woodland Path

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Tree in a wood

Tree in a wood

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Gate out of the wood

Gate out of the wood

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Gate out of a wood...

Gate out of a wood...

by moontiger

Hassocks to Brighton Walk

Over the South Downs to Brighton, the liveliest city on the South Coast

Length Main Walk, ending in Brighton: 19.5 km (12 miles). 5.0 to 6.5 hours walking time. For the whole excursion including meals and trains, allow 8 to 10 hours.

Short Walk, ending in Falmer: 12 km (7.5 miles). 3.5 to 4.5 hrs walking time.

OS Maps OS Explorer 122, Landranger 198. Map Reading Skill 3/10
Map Walk

This is a map walk - either bring an OS map, or print off the following: Ditchling | Ditchling Beacon | Stanmer | Falmer | Bevenden | Race Course | Brighton

Toughness 7 out of 10 (4 out of 10 for the Short Walk).

Different from walking the South Downs ridge, this route traverses north to south exploring hidden valleys, woods, open access and park land. The goal is the lively town of Brighton and the sea but first you will pass through the pretty village of Ditchling, walk over Ditchling Beacon, through Stanmer Park and the University of Sussex to Falmer, the only pub stop on the walk. There is a natural breaking off point at Falmer but those who persevere walking towards Brighton will be rewarded with a lovely view of the sea from kemp town Racecourse and an easy path into Brighton. The boardwalk, pier, seafront bars, Mediterranean cuisine, fish and chips or oysters and champagne and the Lanes await you.

For the walk, you need OS Explorer Map 122 and preferably a compass. It is advisable to take plenty of water and some food as the only available refreshments, apart from the Deli at Ditchling Village some 2.5 kms into the walk, is a small café at Stanmer and the Swan Inn at Falmer is some 12 kms and 3.5 to 4 hours into the walk. The Swan stops taking orders for food at 2pm. (Possibly 2:30 if you ring the landlord Tel: 01273 681842).

Shortening the Walk You can shorten the walk by
  1. 1 km by taking the path due south from Hassocks Stn via Jack and Jill Windmills familiar from Book 1 Walk 29 and rejoining the main walk at Stanmer Village. This is a completely different route of 8.5 kms over the downs saving only 1.5 km on the main walk of 10 kms to Stanmer with nowhere to buy food or drink until Stanmer. No detailed direction given here.
  2. Curtailing the walk at Falmer and catching the train directly Brighton. This will save approx 7.5 kms and 1.5 to 2 hrs. (There is also a bus that stops at various places around both university campuses)
  3. As a distinct alternative you could walk from Lewes to Brighton via Kingston near Lewes, the old drove road, Jugg’s Road. This joins the walk described here at Kemp Town Race course. You need Explorer Map 122 for this. (14.5 kms 9 mls). The only pub is early on at Kingston near Lewes.

For those taking an early bath.

If you want to save your strength for the nightlife or go for an early swim, then take the bus or train from Falmer to Brighton Pier. Else walk on to Brighton (another 6.5 kms)

Falmer Train Station is 750 mtrs from the Swan Inn; Falmer Station is on the south side of the A27 but can be accessed by pedestrians from both sides. Either through an underpass at the entrance to University of Sussex, or by footpath through the grounds of the Univ. of Brighton on the south side. You could also walk along the A27 on the south side but this is not recommended. Trains to Brighton run every 15 minutes on Saturdays, every half hour on Sundays at :25 and :52

Buses to Brighton : Bus 25 every 10 mins (15 mins Sun) from Falmer Village South (Univ of Brighton side)

Trains from Brighton to London

You’re probably well and truly past caring by now, but for your information they run at least every half hour at :21 and :51 and :00 from Brighton station about 1 km from the seafront.

If driving, then there is a large car park at Hassocks Station.

Saturday Walkers Club Take the train nearest to 09:30 from London Bridge to Hassocks.

For a picnic: by Hassocks Station is the Downsview Delicatessen (open from 6:30 everyday except Sunday)

There is only one available pub stop and that comes 12 kms into the walk, The Swan Inn at Falmer (Tel: 01273 681 842) stops taking food orders at 2pm so you may prefer to have an early lunch in Ditchling village and pick up a picnic from the delicatessen. There is a tea room before the pub at Stanmer Village after 9.5 kms with a limited menu in the style of baked potatoes, fry up’s, cakes and scones. The best food is to be had in Brighton itself. The Swan Inn does roasts on Sunday otherwise it’s specialty is sausages and mash £4.50 or jacket potatoes £2.70 to £3.70. A selection of German beers. No credit or debit cards. Cash only.

There is a farm shop just after Falmer Village South. The recommended tea stops are in St George’s Road Brighton or the Old Stein gardens where quite frankly you are spoilt for choice. Bona Foodie does takeaway salads up until 7:00pm but sit down tables finish at 4pm. Watch out for the chilly cherry tomatoes!


Brighton offers a multitude of choices. The park in the middle of Old Steine makes a nice change from the beach for a picnic, but many people like the beach and the boadwalk along the seafront on the west side of the pier where you can have your fortune told, buy original paintings and eat candy floss and seafood. There are bars here some with live music. Most people make their way to The Lanes for an evening meal.

Fish and Chips – The Regency Restaurant

Oysters and Champagne Bar –

N.B. Brighton and Hove council has adopted an alcohol-free zone throughout the borough. The police exercise discretion, but in general anyone caught drinking in the streets will have the alcohol confiscated. A spokesman said that drinking would be allowed in open-air cafés spilling on to the streets, but otherwise officers would stop drinkers in parks, squares and streets. Not sure whether this applies to the beach.

Author Copyright ©2007 AJK and Saturday Walkers’ Club used with permission. All rights reserved. 1st Draft 26th July 2008, updated 4th October 2008, minor update May-2010, Formatting Sep-2014.

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Out: (not a train station)

Back: (not a train station)

By Car

Start: BN6 8JD | Directions at 4pm

Finish: BN1 3XP | [Directions] at 10am

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.

Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234



Copyright © Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only.

Walk Directions  

The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

Hassocks to Falmer

  1. Exiting Hassocks station, proceed in an easterly direction down the slip road and along the high street past the infants school to take a left after approx 500 mtrs up Grand Avenue, an uninspiring road for the next 1 km. At the T junction at the end of this road take the F.P opposite in a S.E. direction across fields to Ditchling. Ignore paths off to Keymer village whose church spire you can see to your right. Follow the FP marked Roman Road on the map over styles until you reach a minor road, proceed in same direction and continue on a gravel driveway, through a gate until you reach the main road that runs down into Ditchling Village. At the crossroads, visit the delicatessen to buy a picnic or elevenses. There are also two pubs in the village for an early lunch.
  2. ! Coming out of the deli, take care at the crossroads, proceed east along the main B2116 past the council offices (where there are public conveniences) and after a further 50 mtrs follow a FP sign due south towards the Nye shown on the map. At a junction of paths in a small copse, take the right hand fork initially SW and then south. After 800 mtrs you come to a T junction with Underhill Lane and the Downs rising steeply in front of you. Turn left along the road and after 75 mtrs turn right, due south up a track which will eventually takes you to Ditchling Beacon. (This path may be very slippery in wet weather).
  3. At the top, cross the road to the Ditchling Beacon car park where you may be rewarded by an Ice Cream van. Continue westwards through the gate and for 350 mtrs over the brow of the hill till you see a gate on your left, a bridleway that is heading due south. Take this bridleway (ignoring a FP sharply off to your left after 900 mtrs) for 1100 mtrs and having passed through a metal field gate as the path descends, take the left hand path following the contour of the valley around to the field boundary and then up to a main road, Ditchling Road.
  4. ! Caution crossing this road. Cross the road diagonally to your right and take the path initially in the same direction and then at a T junction after 50 mtrs, turn left. After another 30 mtrs, leave the well surfaced path turn right to take an unsurfaced FP in a south easterly direction within the woods and parallel to the field boundary on your right.
  5. After 400 mtrs turn right, south, onto a car wide track that leads down into fields with a wooden field gate on your right to find a path through the woods which may be hidden by undergrowth. ! Do not enter the field via the small wooden gate. This is not shown as a public right of way on the map nor is there a waymark but you are now within the grounds of Stanmer Park, and this path is open access land. Follow the path due south for 800 mtrs where it eventually opens out onto a field. Turn left, S.E. to walk down the left hand side of this field where it eventually joins a bridle way which takes you past large barns, through a metal field gate and into Stanmer Village where there are public conveniences and a Tea Room for a possible light lunch/ tea stop.
  6. A tourist bus number 78 runs from Stanmer Village to Brighton during the summer months and is an early opt out.
  7. After the Tea Room, continue due south for 100 mtrs. Take the right hand fork that indicates no entry for vehicles, round the church and left past the front of Stanmer House, a grand house, conference and wedding centre.
  8. Stanmer House was built in 1720 for the first Earl of Chichester, Thomas Pelham by the architect Nicholas Dubois. Built in a restrained classical style, and set in 5,000 acres of parkland. The house incorporates an earlier house from 1594 part of the estate of the previous owners, the Michelborne family, who were connected with the manor then called Audwick. The new house is built in the restrained Classical style popular for English country houses, with little adornment. A later extension to the right wing may be said to have spoiled the symmetry.
  9. Walk to the end of the green in front of the house and follow the main treelined driveway for 800 mtrs to the very end of the fencing on the left.
  10. Here you have 2 choices
  11. A) Via Sussex University, Falmer Village and pub Option
  12. Turn left to head for the grounds of Sussex University and The Swan Inn, Falmer Village. Your direction 35° along the right hand side of the fence uphill, continue across an open field in the same direction and into a short patch of woodland before turning half right, east to break out into the University. There are no barriers to entry, the campus is entirely open. Descend the grassy bank and find Boiler House Hill which runs eastwards elevated above the North South pedestrian path. The hill eventually leads to the Eastern Ring Road. (You can go diagonally via a small nature reserve up some steps between the two roads). Before the road bridge across the A27 is Mill Street that leads to Falmer Village North and Park Street which leads you to the Swan Inn: Tel: 01273 681 842
  13. Falmer Village to Falmer Station, the bus or Brighton : Coming out of the pub continue eastwards and you will see a footbridge over the A27 to Falmer Village South. Turn left after the bridge to find the scenic route via the pond and right to the farm shop which is at the cross roads of The Drove road and Village Way that leads down to the other university of Brighton campus. This is the end of the short walk option.
  14. At the entrance to the University of Brighton campus, those wishing to catch the train to Brighton can walk through the campus to find the pedestrian access to the station or catch the 25 bus to Brighton which leaves from here.
  15. B) Direct Option
  16. Go Straight on to reach Falmer Station by the most direct route, continue down the main driveway for another 300 mtrs and where the road swings right, turn left along a footpath which runs parallel to the busy A27. Find the pedestrian underpass under the A27 which takes you directly to the station.

The Long Walk Option (further 6.5 kms to Brighton)

  1. Take the footpath heading south at the entrance to the University of Brighton campus. Continue south for 400 mtrs, then west for 450mtrs and south for 600 mtrs until you come to the brow of a hill. Turn west for 450mtrs then take the left fork to follow the main bridleway into Bevenden. Your objective is the radio mast on the top of the hill opposite.
  2. Exiting the bridle way over a metal barrier, take a sharp left and then right down the road to cross the end of the recreation ground. Walk up Auckland Drive for 100 mtrs to take an unmarked footpath up a flight of steps. Cross a concrete road to take the second left into Dartmouth Crescent. Take the footpath due south rising steeply uphill towards the radio mast and alongside rather scruffy paddocks. Cross the fork in the main road to enter onto Kemp Town racecourse. Cross through all fences, over a cinder track to open access land. Follow the contour round south westwards towards the big TV mast in the distance. This is your next objective.
  3. After the downs, cross another main road to walk nearly up to the TV mast but 20 mtrs before, at a metal barrier, turn sharp right onto what looks like waste ground. Follow the footpath diagonally down the hill past the end of a row of houses. You should be able to see clearly the East Pier of Brighton. Follow this footpath for 600 mtrs to emerge next to Hamilton Lodge School. Proceed down Walpole Road, Cross to College Place and proceed to St George’s Road where you turn right, due west. Your route is now straight on though there is an S bend in the road, to Upper St James’s Street and eventually St James’s Street itself. Do not be tempted to peel off for the sea front here. The greater interest is to stay on St James’s Street! A multitude of cafes, bars and antique and curiosity shops on this street. A recommendation is to get a take away salad is Bona Foodie on the right towards the bottom of the street and to take this to the Old Stein gardens where there are bench seats, an ornamental fountain and another café.