Lewes to Seaford via West Firle walk

Glorious ramble over the South Downs to the sea covering areas less frequently walked

History

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.

Date Post # Weather
Sun, 08-Nov-20 [cancelled] Sunday Walk - Moved forward to Tuesday due to nationwide lockdown (Over the South Downs to the Sea: Lewes to Seaford or Bishopstone via West Firle)
Tue, 03-Nov-20 Tuesday Walk - Over the South Downs to the Sea: Lewes to Seaford or Bishopstone via West Firle 8 sunny with a cold breeze on the tops
Sat, 17-Feb-18 Saturday Walk - South Downs: Lewes to Seaford or Bishopstone (via West Firle) 17 sunny and warm for the time of year
Sun, 24-Apr-16 Free walk 181 - a vigorous South Downs ramble
Sun, 06-Dec-15 An invigorating day on the South Downs 3 windy some driving rain but very mild
Sun, 21-Jul-13 Lewes to Seaford, via Glynde and West Firle 5
Sun, 08-Nov-20
[cancelled] Sunday Walk - Moved forward to Tuesday due to nationwide lockdown (Over the South Downs to the Sea: Lewes to Seaford or Bishopstone via West Firle)
Length: 23.7 km/14.7 mi [shorter options available, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 544/545m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ¾ hours
Toughness: 8 out of 10
Take the 09.45 Ore train from Victoria (Clapham 09.52, EC 10.02), arrives Lewes at 11.03.
From Thameslink stations take the Brighton train calling LBG at 09.37 and change at Gatwick Airport (10.16/10.28).
Return trains are on xx.31 and xx.59. Buy a Seaford (Sussex) return.
From Lewes, the route takes a variation of the familiar south easterly route out of Lewes: cross the River Ouse in the town centre and climb a lane to a golf club car-park. You then follow a circular ridge route, with glorious views throughout followed by a long descent into Glynde. From Glynde station, go through the village to cross over the A24 and pass Preston Court Farm. You go through the entrance to Firle Park, cross a field and enter the village of West Firle for lunch and drinks at the Ram Inn.
Continue through West Firle to start a long climb up to a spot near Firle Beacon. Head westerly to the transmission masts on Beddingham Hill and descend with glorious views to the seafront promenade in Bishopstone and on along the coast to Seaford.
You have four options for shortening the walk:
Lewes to Seaford omitting West Firle 18.6 km (11.6 m);
Glynde to Seaford via West Firle 16.8km (10.5m);
Glynde to Seaford omitting West Firle 12.5km (7.8m);
finish at Bishopstone station (cuts 2.0 km).
Lunch: The Ram Inn in West Firle (9.0 km/5.6 mi, food to 15.00, bar menu all day).
Tea: Plenty of choice in Seaford, the walk author recommends Salts Café.
For walk directions, maps, height profiles, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.181
  • 27-Oct-20

    The Trevor Arms in Glynde closed in January 2017. The Ram in Firle is the first (and only) available lunchtime pub.

  • 27-Oct-20

    as per the walk post...

  • 27-Oct-20

    Indeed. I was referring to the walk directions, which refer to the Trevor Arms and need updating!

  • 27-Oct-20

    not my walk though...

  • 28-Oct-20

    Hi I'm an accredited walk leader with south bank group. Just checking in about this. Due to it getting dark around 5pm is this going to be a full 14.7 miles, for those who can endure it?

    It is giving a lot of options but what is the leader doing on this day? 10 miles would be enough for me but would want someone else to be doing same.

    can you let me know thanks.

  • 28-Oct-20

    Hi Julie,

    as a Ramblers leader you will be aware that the SWC follows a different concept: we don't have leaders, or - more precisely - every walker is their own leader. That is why our walk directions and routes are freely downloadable. In practice this means that usually several of the possible options of a walk route will get walked by one or other of the group. Personally, I will usually walk the full walk.

    This will take 5 3/4 hours as per Naismith's Formula, so with an 11 o'clock start there is just enough time for this and a very short lunch stop (darkness on the day will be around 16.50 hours). As the last 2 km are along the seafront promenade, this should not be a problem. With a full one hour pub lunch of course, also parts of the descent to the coast will be in the gloom.

    As an aside, most walkers turning up for 20+ km walks in November are walking faster than what Naismith's assumes, so there shouldn't be a problem. And there are shortcuts possible for walkers with appetite for a more gentle pace. But, as we always say: in autumn and winter, please bring a headtorch on any walk...

Tue, 03-Nov-20
Tuesday Walk - Over the South Downs to the Sea: Lewes to Seaford or Bishopstone via West Firle
Length: 23.7 km/14.7 mi [shorter options available, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 544/545m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ¾ hours
Toughness: 8 out of 10
Take the 09.54 Ore train from Victoria (Clapham 10.01, EC 10.10), arrives Lewes at 10.56.
From London Bridge take the Caterham & Tattenham Corner train at 09.47 and change at East Croydon (10.01/10.10).
Return trains are on xx.25 and xx.53. Buy a Seaford (Sussex) return.
From Lewes, the route takes a variation of the familiar south easterly route out of Lewes: cross the River Ouse in the town centre and climb a lane to a golf club car-park. You then follow a circular ridge route, with glorious views throughout followed by a long descent into Glynde. From Glynde station, go through the village to cross over the A24 and pass Preston Court Farm. You go through the entrance to Firle Park, cross a field and enter the village of West Firle for lunch and drinks at the Ram Inn.
Continue through West Firle to start a long climb up to a spot near Firle Beacon. Head westerly to the transmission masts on Beddingham Hill and descend with glorious views to the seafront promenade in Bishopstone and on along the coast to Seaford.
You have four options for shortening the walk:
Lewes to Seaford omitting West Firle 18.6 km (11.6 m);
Glynde to Seaford via West Firle 16.8km (10.5m);
Glynde to Seaford omitting West Firle 12.5km (7.8m);
finish at Bishopstone station (cuts 2.0 km).
Lunch: The Ram Inn in West Firle (9.0 km/5.6 mi, food to 15.00, bar menu all day).
Tea: Plenty of choice in Seaford, the walk author recommends Salts Café.
For walk directions, maps, height profiles, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.181
  • 03-Nov-20

    Plenty of hard rain had fallen early morning in London, but when we alighted in Lewes, the weather was 'on forecast': namely blue skies with a fierce breeze on the tops.

    6 off the train plus 1 driver down from Tunnie Wells set off in 5 + 2 fashion. We loosely followed the route around the rim of the most beautiful valley in the southeast (on account of the 'leader' neither watching map or text), where we encountered an 8th walker, down from 7oaks but up from Glynde where he had parked his car. We then had a sumptious lunch at The Ram, outside and initially in the sun. When a tree put us in the shade, it finally felt like autumn.

    On up the Downs, with the Tunnie Wells guy having already opted for the short route. Views were as clear and far reaching as they will ever get from the heights around here, and the out-and-back to Firle Beacon was very well worth the effort. Turning back easterly, into the biting wind, now it really was a case of zipping up and moving on quickly. 7oaks man was heading down to the right off the ridge to reunite with his car, which left 6 of us ambling down to the left to Bishopstone and then Seaford.

    There was still a little bit of light in the sky once we reached the seafront promenade, helped by the near full moon, and a slither of reddish sky out far west. 1 walker made out she could spot various named stars and planets, like she was a stargazer, but who'd believe her? Drinks at The Shore near the station. 18.25 train. A rather glorious day.

    8 sunny with a cold breeze on the tops

  • 04-Nov-20

    As the others roistered in the fleshpots of Firle, I climbed up to the ridge of the Downs - and had them to myself. In the clearest air I have ever seen in South England, the views were spectacular and far-reaching. (From the top of Malling Down, outside Lewes, we could see Crowborough, 14 miles away.) A long windswept traverse and down to Norton, where a nice lady provided water (that'll teach me to pack salt beef sandwiches) and on to Bishopstone and an early train. A great day out. Thanks for posting it, Thomas.

Sat, 17-Feb-18
Saturday Walk - South Downs: Lewes to Seaford or Bishopstone (via West Firle)
Length: 23.3 km (14.5 mi) or 21.4 km to Bishopstone [shorter walks possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 500 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours
Toughness: 8 out of 10

Take the 09.17 Eastbourne train from Victoria (09.23 CJ, 09.33 EC), arriving Lewes at 10.24.
Return trains from Seaford: xx.25 (92 mins), xx.57 (90 mins), change at Lewes. [departure from Bishopstone is 2 minutes later]. Buy a Seaford return.

This walk, along with the shorter options below, is mainly along ridges and offers superb downland views throughout with an excellent lunch-time pub. The beauty of this walk is that you can see the way ahead so direction finding is fairly easy. In detail: The route crosses the River Ouse in Lewes’s centre and then climbs a lane to a golf club car-park. You then take a signposted path following a circular ridge route, with glorious views throughout followed by a long descent into Glynde. From Glynde pass the (now closed) Trevor Arms , go through the village to cross over the busy A 24 and then take a route passing Preston Court Farm. You go through the entrance to Firle Park, cross a field and enter the village of West Firle for lunch at the Ram Inn. From the pub you take the road through the village to start a long climb up to a spot near Firle Beacon. Follow a ridge top path heading for two large radio masts and then find a gently descending path which eventually brings you to Bishopstone and then along the coast to Seaford.

Two Shortcuts are possible:
A – cut out West Firle (cut 4.3 Km, --> picnic lunch);
B – start at Glynde station (cut 6.1 km) --> 10.50 train from Victoria, chg. Brighton, arr. 12.14

For summary, walk directions, map, height profile and gpx/kml files click here.
Lunch: The Ram Inn, West Firle (9.0 km/5.6 mi, food to 15.00, bar menu all day).
Tea: Plenty of choice in Seaford, the walk author recommends Salts Café. T=swc.181
  • Sandy
    15-Feb-18

    Are we sure the 0917/ CJ 0923 train is running? It's not coming up on my journey planner. Although I may go for the Balcombe walk anyway.

  • 15-Feb-18

    Comes up on my journey planner, yes. Failing that, next best is a 09.20 via Brighton...

  • 17-Feb-18

    13 walkers off the train, 2 more already in Lewes (there for the weekend), 1 more arriving from Brighton a few minutes later, and 1 other met at lunch, who had taken the late train and start from Glynde, i.e. 17 in total in sunny and warm for the time of year weather.

    Fantastic day for a walk across two ridges into the sun and down to the sea, light on the mud-count due to the mostly chalky ground and with very fine views throughout, and only a very light breeze to contend with. The Ram Inn was fully booked inside but had ample space outside in the sun. Meals were of good quality, as was the beer.

    Several people expressed that they'd preferred the walk author to copy and paste together the instructions from the various walks this is a combination of, as compared to the skeleton directions currently available. Such as it is, it is practically a map-led walk.

    I especially liked the rim-top variant of the out-of-Lewes bit, providing for different views compared to the down-through-the-valley route and also making the approach to Mount Caburn hillfort more dramatic. But also the descent to and through Bishopstone was new to me and much liked.

    The fast 7 narrowly missed a train, so took the time to have tea and cakes at Salts Cafe, and then linked up with the slighly slower next sub-group for the 16.25 train, but some of us got inexplicably 'lost' en route to the station and missed that train.

    A walk well-liked by all that were there (incl. 2 first-timers).

  • Anonymous
    17-Feb-18

    Thank you Thomas for organising a most enjoyable walk with lovely views and very little mud.

    One starter from Glynde and also myself got a later train.

    Kevin

  • Anonymous
    20-Feb-18

    It was a great walk and a beautiful sunny day, warm enough to eat lunch outside in the sun! I have found the South Downs too blowy on other occasions, but it was really perfect on Saturday.

    I started at Glynde. I would suggest to other walkers to have an earlier start on this short-cut route if they want to hook up with walkers on the full walk. Great pub, definitely worth booking in advance and arriving before the lunch rush.

    Thank you Thomas for finding me in the Ram to explain the afternoon directions, it was very much appreciated. Also to the walker whose GPS helped navigate the final part.

    Lucy

  • Karen
    21-Feb-18

    Very much enjoyed this walk. Lovely views. Kudos to the walk writer!

Sun, 24-Apr-16
Free walk 181 - a vigorous South Downs ramble
Download walk 181. Lewes to Seaford via West Firle
Length 22.9km (14.3m); toughness 8/10 – 2, possibly 3 major climbs depending on a choice of routes early in the walk..
Trains 9.47 London Victoria (Clapham Junction 09.53, East Croydon 10.04) arrive Lewes 10.55
Return trains from Seaford at xx.57 to Lewes for connecting trains to London Victoria or alternatively catch a xx.27 to Brighton for connecting trains back to London Bridge. Buy a day return to Seaford.
This vigorous and glorious South Downs workout may be attractive for those going on the Scottish adventure but cannot make the Saturday Tisbury excursion. There are some long climbs and overall a total of 544m of ascent and descent.
An early lunch may be taken at the Trevor Arms in Glynde but the later recommended stop is the Ram Inn in West Firle. Both pubs are run by the same people and serve excellent meals.
Salts café in Seaford is your best bet for tea and cakes.
There are options for shortening the walk and these can be found here along with outline walk instructions.
This walk is in open countryside and is best done with a map or GPS coupled with the outline walk guidelines. However if you want to use more detailed written instructions see the beginning of the outline walk instructions for what to bring with you.

Weather watch: the BBC long-term forecast for the area is for it to be dry but cold but at 150 -200m on the top of the Downs where you will be mainly walking it could be bleak so wrap up and check on the forecast
Sun, 06-Dec-15
An invigorating day on the South Downs
Book 2 walk 25 and download walk 181 variation: Lewes to Southease via Glynde
Length 11.4km (7.1m); toughness 6/10, three climbs.
Trains 09.47 London Victoria (Clapham Junction 09.53, East Croydon 10.07) arrive Lewes 10.53.
Return trains from Southease at xx:09. Change at Lewes for connecting trains to London. Buy a day return to Southease
I’m taking a bit of a punt with this walk also! The South Downs is normally summer walking territory but this short but vigorous walk -3 longish climbs- I think will make a fine winter outing and get the blood pumping!
The walk is in 3 short sections:
(1) Lewes to Glynde – see Book 2 Walk 25 for directions (5km, 3.1m)
(2) After lunch in Glynde continue on through the village, cross the busy main road at the T junction and go along the tarmac lane ahead.In 300m do not turn left down the driveway signposted Preston Park but continue ahead on the lane/track which gradually gets steeper until, after about 1km you get to the top of the hill. Note the radio masts away to your left.(3km, 1.9m)
(3) At the top of the hill turn right along the South Downs Way for an invigorating ridge walk ending with a long descent into Southease and tea.(3.4km, 2.1m)
Shortening the walk
You can end the walk in Glynde and have a long “relaxed” lunch at the Trevor Arms before catching a train from Glynde to Lewes (trains at xx:45) for connecting trains back to London.
Lengthening the walk
For faster walkers you can extend the walk by taking a circular ridge route to Glynde and then from there continue to West Firle to have lunch at the Ram Inn before ascending the Downs and turning right at the end of the climb for a longer ridge walk back to Southease (See Book 1 walk 31 for the Glynde to West Firle route). This adds about 5km (3.1m) to the overall walk.
If you have the legs and the speed you could do the Lewes to Seaford walk (18.6km , 11.6m 7/10 toughness). See Walk 181 variation. (Here you do not turn right at point (3) above but continue ahead on a direct route to Seaford.
An earlier train at 08.47 might be best for these longer options.
**Whatever walk variation you choose you are advised to print off the OS map for free walk 181. See here
Refreshments (and timings)
Lunch is at the superb Trevor Arms (01273 858208) in Glynde. You should get here about 12.15-12.30. Ring ahead as it gets busy.
After lunch you have 6.4km (4m) to do so you need to leave the pub at about 1.30pm in order to get to Southease around 3.30pm for refreshments at the Courtyard café at the South Downs YHA. The café closes at 4pm and then you have a 3 mins walk to Southease station to catch the 4.09pm train to Lewes.

Enjoy your walk!
  • 02-Dec-15

    This is in fact SWC walk 47, clockwise direction: complete directions for whole walk in one document, plus details of all lunch and tea options, can be found on pages 1-4 of this pdf

    http://www.walkingclub.org.uk/book_3/walk_47/SWC_Walk_47_Lewes_Circular_via_Glynde_and_Southease.pdf

  • 04-Dec-15

    It is the CHRISTMAS PARTY on Thursday - don't forget!! See listing below

  • Fi
    04-Dec-15

    Am aiming to get the early train and do Lewes to Seaford walk.

  • 06-Dec-15

    Just 3 on the short walk with the weather windy some driving rain but very mild . After the climb out of Lewes we took the long ridge route rather than the valley and hill path as I know from experience the later can be very muddy from cattle churn near a field gate. Our reward was some driving wind and rain and we were glad to reach the Trevor Arms, which impresses me more each time I visit, for an excellent nut and a traditional roast which was served very quickly by friendly and chatty staff.

    The weather looked to be closing in again so we did not linger in the pub but set off for Southease which we reached around 2.30pm to enjoy tea, coffee and delicious cakes at the Courtyard cafe. (Just £3 each so terrific value.) We dried out and caught the 15.09 train from Southease.

    Winter walks on the South Downs are a bit of an "acquired taste" but I love the bleakness of the area in winter so I found it an exhilirating day. Other plus points were no mud, no stiles and my boots were far cleaner at the end of the walk than at the outset! Result.