Lewes Circular via Glynde and Southease walk
An energetic walk over 3 separate hills in the South Downs NP with great views throughout.
This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.
|Sat, ||Saturday Walk - Best of the Lewes Walks? - Circular via Glynde, West Firle (optional), Southease, Rodmell and Kingston (or the other way 'round)||9||wet to lunch then dry|
|Sat, ||Saturday Walk: Lewes to Glynde or back to Lewes||18||windy day with sunshine and showers|
|Sat, ||Saturday Walk - Lewes Circular (via Southease and Glynde)/South Downs Beer & Cider Festival||22||warm weather with a welcoming breeze|
|Wed, ||Wednesday Walk Lewes Circular - an anti-clockwise, energetic walk along and over the South Downs||7|
|Thu, ||A South Downs Leg Stretcher||14||wind and light drizzle until lunchtime then turning sunny and warm later|
|Sat, ||Saturday Second Walk -- Great Lewes Circular||20||overcast to misty then rainy and windy then very windy|
|Thu, ||A (slightly later) Midweek day walk - Lewes Circular|
|Sat, ||Saturday second walk: A downland grand slam||18||sunny but windy|
|Sun, ||Lewes via Glynde to Southease||0|
|Sat, ||Lewes via Rodmell, Southease & Glynde Circular||30|
|Sun, ||Lewes via Glynde to Southease||6|
|Sat, ||Lewes via Glynde, Southease & Rodmell Circular (original version)|
Yes, the Courtyard Cafe in the Southease YHA is open for refreshments. We were there a couple of weeks ago. Very nice cakes. We were told by staff that it is open till 10pm.
The weather forecast for today had steadily worsened over the last few days, and it (the weather) lived up to the forecast: drizzly at first, then rainy, then with some hard rain, then plenty low cloud, so much so that one could hardly make out The Ouse in the valley below, then clouds breaking, some sunny spells, followed by a thin layer of grey clouds with sunny breaks. 9 walkers today, incl. 1 first-timer, all walking clockwise. 3 of those we 'lost' at about the same time in three different directions: where the long walk turns left to West Firle, one paced ahead uphill w/o rain gear, while the rest stopped to put some rain gear on (we never saw him again); one turned back as he was sodden and planned to train it back from Glynde (but - after refreshments at the Tea Room in Glynde - walked back to Lewes); 1 (lagging behind the others) erroneously assumed we had turned left to West Firle and did the same. He had lunch there, took a taxi to Rodmell and had his dessert there, to then finish the walk with the other 4. If you have counted: that leaves 2 others, they finished at Southease (Courtyard Cafe then train).
From inside the pub in Rodmell, we had noticed that the sky was brightening up, and indeed the post lunch route was entirely dry and at times fairly sunny. The contrast between not seeing much from the Downs pre-lunch, and now having grand views, was quite something. All in: pleasant company, good chat and an improving weather during the day.
16.27 train for the dasher, the 17.27 missed by a few minutes by the pub lunchers. Some retired to The Depot, the new-ish place in the former brewery depot by the station (Long Man brewery beers, just outside Harvey's brewery, how do they get away with that?). 9 wet to lunch then dry
Lewes to Lewes: 14.6 miles / 23.6km
extra section to West Firle: 4 miles / 6.3km
A classic downland walk over three ridges with great views.
Will be walking this anti-clockwise, so the lunch stop is the Abergavenny Arms at Rodmell. Shortly after this is a possible dropout point at Southease, otherwise it's a climb back onto the downs and a choice of routes down to Glynde, the longer route going via West Firle. Catch the train at Glynde, or tackle a final climb over the downs to Lewes.
Trains: 09:54 London Victoria, 10:01 Clapham Junction, 10:10 East Croydon, 10:56 Lewes. Take the 09:45 or 09:47 from London Bridge to connect with this train at East Croydon.
Return trains from Lewes at xx:27/xx:57, from Glynde at xx:26.
Full walk details here
My apologies if I'm treading on anyone's toes by giving feedback on Clare's posted walk, not being a regular Saturday walker myself, but the late posting of this additional walk went down very well with the 18 of us who opted to test their stamina by venturing out onto the South Downs on a windy day with sunshine and showers , some heavy and accompanied by hail.
We set out in the anti-clockwise direction, soon encountering an early shower. We enjoyed fine views as we crossed the vast grassy field after Kingston, now in a strong breeze. After the climb up onto the Downs we were blown along the way, mostly by cross-winds. Most of us were caught by a heavier shower, with hail, as we descended towards Rodmell, to take shelter in the Abergavenny Arms. 6 of us dined there, with others coming in for drinks. The food was up to this pub's usual high standard. We had a hiccup with the bill, which the pub later corrected to their credit.
After lunch my small group set off in sunshine, to enjoy glorious views back up on the Downs between Southease and Glynde.
A fair number called it a day at Glynde and caught the hourly train service to Lewes. I missed a train by three minutes, so opted to continue alone over Mount Caburn. This leg proved to be the windiest - blowing a veritable gale on top - but fortunately the threatening skies held off from drenching me out in the open, and I made it to Lewes station in good time to catch the 17-57 hrs service back to London. At the station I was reunited with a number of SWC walkers who had found the station's cafe still open for a welcoming cuppa.
On a very breezy day I found this walk hard work - but rewarding and most enjoyable for its delightful views.
Today is the second day of the 23rd South Downs Beer & Cider Festival at Lewes Town Hall. Ticketed entry to 18.00 hours, free afterwards.
For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.
Half an hour earlier?
Plenty of walkers got off at Lewes Station off the crowded train (Tennis at Eastbourne apparently, and only the standard 4 car-train), with several groups assembling on Platform 1, so we moved our group huddle to outside the station. There I counted 14, with (to my knowledge) 4 others still using facilities at platform level, although someone later said there were 5 of them. 1 of us had arrived 30 mins earlier and seen 2 others disembarking and starting early (who were both met or caught by the group), and 1 other took a train to Southease (I believe) and walked up to the Rodmell pub from there to meet the pub lunchers. And then there was SWC stalward MG, who some of us bumped into at the YHA Courtyard Cafe at Southease. She had taken a train 60 mins earlier. So, all in 22 (or 23) in warm weather with a welcoming breeze .
There were 2 first-timers apparently, but I had overlooked their fingers when I had asked for just that at the group huddle, so apologies for not being especially welcoming to them.
2 dashed off at speed, several others kind of followed, and 3 of those regrouped after the pub or the courtyard cafe for the stretch to West Firle (in all, at least 7 walked the long version). We bumped into one of the early starters who had walked the long walk clockwise, and then paused at The Ram for a drink. 6 of us (by then) continued together for the last leg to Lewes, although only a few walked the out-and-back to the Hillfort on Mount Caburn. Those few then reached Lewes after the Beer Festival had already shut, so went for a convivial meal at The Rights of Man pub (recommended).
The views were stunning, as the air was very clear and the breeze helped enormously in the temperatures. There was a good showing of buttercups (especially in one field by Kingston Windmill, where there were tight clumps of them) and plenty of poppies (especially along a stretch on Front Hill in a large rapeoil seed field), some trefoil and some viper suchandsuch.
Dr. Botanicus also saw three types of orchids and went down Caburn Bottom to find a fourth, but all he collected were plenty of ticks (there were warning signs aplenty). Cue some diligent tick-removal action...
Plenty of skylarks and other songbirds about and one Red Kite was spotted.
A splendid day.
Length: 23.5 km (14.6 miles). Option to end walk in Glynde - length 17.2 km (10.7 miles). Short walk to Southease - length 10.8 km (6.7 miles)
Toughness: 7 out of 10 Three South Downs ridges
London Victoria: 09-46 hrs Littlehampton & Ore service. CJ 09-52 hrs, EC 10-03 hrs
Arrive Lewes: 10-53 hrs
Non-Senior Railcard holders: make your way to East Croydon and use your pass after 10 am from there.
Return : Lewes to Victoria: 21 and 45 mins past the hour
Return from Glynde to Lewes: 27 mins past the hour - and connect with the 45 mins service to London
Return from Southease to Lewes: 05 mins past the hour - and connect with the 27 mins service to London
Southease to Seaford: 06 mins past the hour (plus 16-36)
Seaford to Lewes: 25 and 53 mins past the hour
This is an energetic walk, with 1,600 feet of ascent over three distinct downland ridges, offering lovely views for most of the day. Most SWC walkers prefer doing this circular walk anti-clockwise, so I am assuming you will elect this way round today.
Your pub lunch stop today, after the long opening leg of the walk to Southease, is the Abergavenny Arms in the village of Rodmell. It's usually good. After lunch you walk down to Southease railway station (an early opt-out point if you have had enough walking) with trains once an hour back to Lewes - or to Seaford if you want to visit the seaside, maybe for a swim, for a mix and match day.
Continuing with the walk, the leg back up onto the Downs from Southease and down to Glynde is lovely. Glynde railway station gives you another opt-out. From Glynde you ascend Mount Caburn (your last energetic / hard work stretch today - honest !) then its mostly downhill to the centre of the town of Lewes.
Lots of pubs and tea places in Lewes for walk-end relaxation (you will be tired by now) before your journey back to London.
This is one of our very best South Downs adventures.
Walk directions here: L=swc.47
7 at the start on this lovely walk. A damp drizzle leaving Lewis stopped giving a dry walk to Rodmel . Prompt service in the Abergavenny Arms, luckily not too busy when we arrived at one, but it quickly filled up. We lost one walker early on, one at Southese, one at Glynde when the rain started, with 4 completing the whole walk. w=2 hours of light rain. two of us enjoyed the excellent beer in the Landsdown Arms.
Length: 23.5 km (14.6 miles)
Toughness 7 out of 10
London Victoria: 09-47 hrs Ore service. CJ 09-53 hrs EC 10-03 hrs
Arrive Lewes: 10-47 hrs
Return: Lewes to Victoria: 16-14, 16-54, 17-17, 17-52 and 18-16 hrs. Plus additional services to Victoria via Brighton.
Younger walkers, whose railcards only come into play after 10-00 hrs: make your way to East Croydon and buy your off peak tickets from there.
This is an energetic walk, with 3 steep climbs, but the effort is worth it for the lovely views you enjoy from hilltops. The walk comes in 3 sections: 1. Lewes to Glynde. 2. Glynde to Southease. 3. Southease to Lewes. You can tackle the walk either clockwise, or anti-clockwise. I prefer to do the walk clockwise and have lunch at the Abergavenny Arms in Rodmell., but we can decide on the direction on the day.
Walk Directions here: L=swc.47
Next Week, Tuesday 15 August: SWC 24 - Sandling to Wye
For more detailed and up to date directions than those provided on the introduction page, see the pdf
If you want to have lunch at the Abergavenny Arms the ANTI-clockwise direction is recommended - 6 miles to lunch versus 8 miles + the other way. Anticlockwise also gives you the nicest finish into Lewes.
Going clockwise you have two long climbs - one after Glynde and the other after lunch - slow, dull climbs with the view behind you, whereas anticlockwise both of these are lovelyt long descents with the view in front of you
Sorry, it was not my intention to be splittist. The walk poster has indicated a preference for clockwise, so I guess that should be the default. Note that there is no longer an early pub option in Glynde in this direction, however
I hope to be on the walk - if my back is better come tomorrow: I'm struggling to move today.
Thank you to Walker for his advice on the best way round. Given the chalky ascent onto the Downs from Lewes is not clever after rain when done as a descent (clockwise route), I suggest we adhere to Walker's advice and go anti-clockwise.
We should have much better weather than our colleagues in Oxfordshire will experience today.
10 off the train at Lewes, plus 4 others who were not aware of the procedure of assembling on the platform, so they set off ahead of us: we met up, initially at Southease, then again at Glynde: so let's make that 14 , not bad for a Thursday outing (numbers probably enhanced by refugees from the wet Wednesday walk).
We set out in the anti-clockwise direction, with the lovely opening leg up onto the Downs via Kingston, to enjoy delightful views with only a modicum of effort. Arriving on top the overcast and windy conditions morphed into wind and light drizzle until lunchtime then turning sunny and warm later .
Lunch was enjoyed by 5 of us in the Abergavenny Arms, whose staff were attentive and friendly, and food and drink excellent.
The sun was coming out as we climbed back onto the Downs for leg 2, again with panoramic views. When we reached Glynde my efforts to keep going with my dodgy back caught up with me, and I was forced to bale out and make a graceful retreat to the railway station: it was nice that I had the company of one other who wanted to return to London early. And I must thank her and all today for showing concern over my incapacity - a few days of waddling around like a pregnant duck and I hope to be back upright......or whatever.
I hope the 8 plus 4 enjoyed the ascent and descent of Caborn Hill, from Glynde to Lewes - one of you might like to add a supplementary report to my drivel here.
A lovely walk, best of company and super views.
From Glynde the rest of us enjoyed a fairly easy climb through the colourful nature reserve to the top of Caburn Hill. In the late afternoon sunshine the views were beautiful. With little time to linger the front three descended into Lewes in time to catch the 17.17 train back to London and, for one, the beer festival at Kensington Olympia.
Oh, what a perfect day..Thank you Marcus for your cheerful stoicism and a delightful walk.
3 of us just missed the 17.15 train so went into the Lewes station tearoom which is excellent. For future reference the tearoom has phonecharger for the public.
20 overcast to misty then rainy and windy then very windy
20 off the train (and also a similarly large group of younger walkers, which did the same walk, but thankfully in the opposite direction, so we didn't clash at the lunch pub). Good pace throughout, although inevitably the group disintegrated a little bit over the hours. Strong winds on the Downs, initially from the side. Lunch at Rodmell was tasty and reasonably fast in delivery, although the pub was heaving with lunchers. After Southease the rain started and the wind increased to gales(from the back now), so a tea stop at the Glynde pub was gladly taken by most of the faster walkers. Only a few then continued on to Lewes though, i.e. now into the wind and the ceasing rain. One - lightweight - walker got blown off a stile and kissed the mud on this stretch.
16.54 train, on which most of the Glynde-contingent were found.
All in all, a lovely, challenging walk, w/o many/any views due to the conditions. The "should be mud free" statement proved to be true on the top of the Downs, but far less so on the chalky approach paths and the slithery ascent from Glynde to Cabourn Castle (Wealden-type gooey stuff there). Combined with the - at times - horizontal rain and driving wind, this might sound like a perfect pre-pre-warm up walk for the Scotland trip in May, and it was.
As this is what I was looking for, I am: one happy customer.
8 of us followed you in doing the Glynde to Lewes finish, Thomas. A tough climb, firstly up a slippery mudfield with the wind blowing us backwards, then struggling like Polar explorers uphill on grass into the teeth of the gale. Intense winds on the top of the ridge, a tricky stile crossing (thankfully without being blown off), but we then kept straight on into the dip (departing from the walk route) where the winds eased a bit. Still just about light when we approached Lewes at 5.20pm. One of the more challenging SWC walks I have ever done, but exhilarating. Five of us stayed for an Italian meal.
A Lewes pyrotechnic extravaganza
Based on Book 3 Walk 47 (counter-clockwise variant)
- Return home after the walk
- Watch the Street Parades and return home.
- Book a Firework Display ticket and accommodation.
The parades finish around 9:00 pm. If you want London, you should head smartly to the station then where there is crowd management and a separate channel for London bound. You need accommodation locally in order to go to one of the firework displays - start about 9:45 or so.
Trains run one after the other to Brighton until everyone has gone with crowd control to only let the right numbers for each train onto the platform. You should buy tickets in advance for the fire work displays. The Southover Display is probably nearest to the station, Cliffe the most anarchic.
More information from Robin segulem at virginmedia full stop com
Suggested Lunch stops
Suggested Tea stops
Return train times
Good idea. It might be helpful to have some agreement in advance as to which parades to watch, and which if any bonfire society to get tickets for?
Last year a few of us ladies decided to watch the parade which started at the War Memorial in the centre of Lewes 20 mins earlier than advertised (5.40pm instead of 6pm) which caused considerable confusion and a major crush on the pavements. The police community support officers had no information on directions as most had been bussed in from other divisions and had never been to Lewes before!
We had a £10 a head carvery dinner afterwards at the White Hart hotel opposite Pizza Express as everywhere else was booked for dinner. We then went home. Tickets for the Bonfire societies are usually sold well in advance to the locals but I seem to remember there were some tickets being sold at Tesco at around 4.30pm. The fireworks are not usually lit until 10pm at the adult bonfires but the children's parade and family bonfires start earlier. Trains run after midnight sometimes till 1am or later to Brighton but not to London so so if you want to spend the evening here its a long night and you really should stay overnight.
Every shop and cafe closes after 4pm and boards up its windows so the town looks like a war zone until the parades starts around 5.30pm and the crowds are really challenging.
Maybe Robin can help with further advice but I've found it impossible to keep together as a group especially after a strenuous walk its too crowded and too long an evening for most people.
I would recommend the walk and the early fancy dress parade then eat and return home. Otherwise buy a ticket for the Bonfire society fireworks in advance have a meal then stay overnight as it won't finish til after the last train to London has departed at 10.40pm. Later trains go to Brighton ONLY and once there you might get a later train to Gatwick then change to the Gatwick Express-Not recommended!
I've done both options but won't be going this year as my knees are not up to hilly walks.
SWC walk 47 - Lewes Circular via Southease and Glynde
Length: 17.2km (10.7 miles) to 23.5km (14.6 miles)
Toughness: 7 out of 10: one steep climb per section, level or downhill otherwise
9.46 train from Victoria (9.52 Clapham Junction, 10.02 East Croydon) to Lewes, arriving 10.50.
** LATE START OPTION: see end of post
Buy a day return to Lewes if planning to do the whole walk, or a day return to Glynde if you think you might want to finish there.
For walk directions click here. You only need pages 1-2 and the anticlockwise directions on page 6-8.
Every step of this walk will be familiar territory to many SWC walkers from book two walks 24 and 25, but it is putting it all together that makes a grand June day out. If you stay the course, you go over three sections of downland and cross two valleys (each with a pub in it) and end up back in Lewes feeling pretty pleased with yourself. Throughout you have wonderful views, including the whole route you have done and have still to do.
The walk can be done clockwise, but it is anticlockwise (Lewes-Southease-Glynde-Lewes) I much prefer and ordain for today. It has lots of advantages, including getting the longest section out of the way before lunch, shorter climbs and longer descents, and better options for cutting the walk short.
By this route it is 9.2km (5.7 miles) to lunch at the Abergavenny Arms via the familiar morning route of book 2, walk 24. (An alternative lunch would be at the YHA cafe by Southease station 1.6km/1 mile further on). You then have a 8km (5 mile) walk from the Abergavenny Arms to Glynde. Tea options here include the Trevor Arms or the Little Cottage Tea Rooms.
You can finish the walk at Glynde (making a total walk of 17.2km (10.7 miles) by taking a train to Lewes at 23 past the hour.
Otherwise the last 6.3km (3.9 miles) of the walk - more of a victory lap, really - are over wonderful Mount Caburn: one sustained climb with lovely views and then a gentle stroll down into Lewes, from where trains return to London at 20 and 52 past until 19.52, then 20.52, 21.50 and 22.40 (the last being the "Glyndebourne train" that you will share with dinner-jacketed opera goers).
** LATE START OPTION: Slugabeds could catch the 11.16 train to Lewes, arriving 12.20, changing there for the 12.28 to Southease, arriving 12.34. Buy a day return to Southease. Print off the book 26 directions and follow them to lunch at the Abergavenny Arms (3.5km/2.2 miles) and join the group there. If you then walk to Glynde you will have done a walk of 11.5km (7.2 miles) and finishing the walk to Lewes will make it 17.8km (11.1 miles).
You will not be alone. I know several people planning to do this walk. I am sure the fine weather will bring out more.
Saturday 6 June: SWC walk 47 - Lewes Circular via Southease and Glynde: 18 on this walk, including two taking the late start option from Southease. sunny but windy , a really stiff and somewhat chilly breeze on the tops of the downs, but at least the clouds that gathered to the north never came our way.
What can be said,except that this was a perfect day out - gorgeous views, a gorgeous time of year and gorgeous territory, easy underfoot. A bit of climbing to get the blood pumping but lots of easy walking along the tops or down the other side. Lunch at the Abergavenny Arms came fairly quickly despite it being busy: tea was split between the Trevor Inn (which apparently now offers good cakes) and the Cottage Tea Room in Glynde. At least ten of us - in three groups - completed the whole circuit to Lewes - and had drinks/eats to celebrate. One or two got the train from Glynde.
Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention the swifts, which were frequently seen swooping low over the downs. Usually they fly up high and it was amazing to see them close up. How big they are!