Seaford Circular via Alfriston and Bishopstone walk
A new perspective on, and glorious panoramic views of, the South Downs.
|Toughness||7/10; 536m of ascent/descent|
|Maps||Explorer map OL 25 (formerly OS Explorer map 123)|
This is a map-led or gps-led walk with only minimal written instructions. For the place names noted below in bold please refer to the Explorer OL 25 map or your gps device . The walk incorporates sections of three other SWC walks but most of it follows quieter trails than the “popular” South Downs routes in the area (eg the Seven Sisters and the Southease to Alfriston trail ) and which are not included in other SWC walks. It has some glorious panoramic views of the South Downs with many spots for a picnic.
The outline instructions are written doing the walk anti-clockwise but you can do it clockwise as your Alfriston lunch stop is about half way, ie around 8 miles.
Shortening the walk
There are a number of ways to shorten this walk.
For example you could decide to miss out Alfriston altogether and go past the notice board for the Rathfinny vineyard (para RV) and continue on the Comp track until you reach the confluence of paths in para A where you take a very sharp left along the path heading to the left of the reservoir (para A) This is a picnic lunch of around 16 km (10m).
Also on the climb out of Alfriston on the SDW you could take one of the other paths to your left before reaching the car-park para B
Trains: From London Victoria buy a day return to Seaford changing at Lewes. Take a train after 9.30am arriving at Seaford at around 11.15. At a steady pace you should arrive in Seaford at the end of your walk around 6pm.
There are two trains an hour from Seaford to Lewes and from there trains back to London. You may find it more convenient not to get off at Lewes but to continue on to Brighton where there are more connecting (and faster) trains back to London.
Refreshments: Please refer to #cw1.31 Glynde to Seaford for detailed information about pub lunch options in Alfriston and refreshments in Seaford.
PTB May 2018
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
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.
- Turn right out of Seaford Station and head the short distance to the coast where you turn left along the Vanguard Way on a concrete promenade. You are following paras 1-9 of SWC Book 2 Walk 28, Seaford to Eastbourne – the Seven Sisters Walk)
- Climb up to Seaford Head and continue on the Vanguard Way to Hope Gap.
- At Hope Gap take a signed path to your left along Hope Bottom soon bearing left and then passing South Hill Barn on your left
- After South Hill Barn you bear right on a concrete track and continue ahead past Chyngton Farm on your right. There are houses on your left.
- You continue on your path crossing first the Eastbourne Road and then the Alfriston Road.
- The path bears left and your route merges with a path on your right. The track is called the Comp.
- [RV] You ignore a path to your left and soon reach a fork in the trail with an information board about Rathfinny Vineyard on your right. Here you take the right fork going downhill, the vineyard on your right.
- You reach a four-armed footpath post where you turn right following the path round and heading for Cross Dyke.
- Just before Cross Dyke and at a field edge you turn sharp right and continue on this path which soon swings left passing a wooded area on your right.
- You continue on your path passing a camp site on your left and then shortly reaching the Alfriston Road.
- Cross the Alfriston Road and turn left along the pavement soon bearing right to enter the lovely green in front of Alfriston Church which with its many wooden benches makes an ideal picnic spot. Alternatively you can continue along the Alfriston Road to lunch at one of its pubs – the George Inn with its attractive beer garden is recommended,
- 12.After lunch and from opposite the George Inn take the South Downs Way (SDW) signed footpath going steadily uphill. (This is the reverse of a section of the Glynde to Seaford walk (Book 1 walk 31.)
- You continue uphill on the SDW through open countryside eventually going through a wooden gate and you continue ahead ignoring a signed footpath to your left.
- [A] You reach a small car-park and a narrow road to your right going steeply downhill. Here you take a path to your left which passes to the right of Bostal Bottom. The path swings left and you continue ahead with superb panoramic views.
- [B] You pass Blackstone Bottom on your left and soon reach a confluence of paths. One is to your right and three are to your left ! Take the path ahead of you which passes to the left of a reservoir (Resr on your OS map)
- You soon reach a fork in the path and you take the right fork . You pass Blackstone Barn away to your right and further on Blatchington reservoirs on your left and New Barn on your right .You are heading for Bishopstone.
- [C] Your path eventually meets a road opposite Bishopstone church.. Here you turn left on the road and where this road swings sharp right you take the right hand path diagonally across a field (probably of wheat )
- You now follow the written instructions for the Southease to Seaford walk #cw2.26 from column two, third paragraph, page 4 to Seaford station. See here to print off or refer to the relevant pages. Essentially you make your way to the coast to then turn left on the concrete promenade and then after about 700m find a route back to Seaford station.
- Note: if you wish to avoid the only two stiles on this walk you can take the road in para [C] above on your right to soon meet a busy main road where you turn left and then pick up the route just before Bishopstone station, where if you wish you can pick up a train back to Lewes.