South Downs Way 8 : Southease to Eastbourne walk

2 Long Ridge walks over open downs, beautiful Alfriston for lunch, and Eastbourne pier and seafront to finish.

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 Option Post # Weather
Sat, 06-Jul-24 Saturday Walk - South Downs Way Final Stage: Southease to Eastbourne (alt starts from Glynde or Berwick) 4 one early shower
Sun, 15-Aug-21 Sunday Walk - Last Stretch of the South Downs Way into Eastbourne 3 grey start and finish with plenty hours of sun
Sat, 05-Oct-19 Saturday Walk - Torchlit Procession, Bonfire & Fireworks in Eastbourne: South Downs Way final stage (Southease to Eastbourne) 12 overcast but dry
Sat, 17-Oct-15 Saturday Second Walk - A South Downs Ramble 12 dry with some sunny intervals
Sat, 12-Jun-10 Eastbourne to Glynde
Length: 27.3 km (17.0 mi) [shorter walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 629/624m
Net Walking Time: ca. 6 ½ hours
Toughness: 8 out of 10
Take the 09.54 Ore train from Victoria (CJ 10.01, EC 10.10), change at Lewes (10.56/11.00) onto the Seaford train, arrives Southease 11.06.
Should the Ore train miss the connection at Lewes, take the 11.14 Eastbourne stopping service, arrives Glynde 11.19 and Berwick 11.25, and walk the alternative start routes from Glynde or Berwick.
Return trains from Eastbourne: xx.05 and xx.33.
This walk along the South Downs Way (SDW) consists of spectacular ridge walks with three steep ascents and a picturesque village in the middle for lunch and another one for tea, and with Beachy Head, Eastbourne promenade, beach and pier at the finish. It is a long but very rewarding walk. The route is well waymarked, the paths are easy walking, and the route is easy to follow. The South Downs are treeless and open, so there are good views throughout (weather permitting).

The walk starts at Southease Station, right on the SDW, and climbs the first ridge straight away, up to Itford Hill and then along the ridge to Firle Beacon, the highest point of the walk. There is an alternative start in Glynde in case the train misses the connection at Lewes for Southease.

At the end of the ridge, you descend into Alfriston, a pretty village in the scenic Cuckmere Valley, with a village green dominated by a large church. Several good pubs and tea rooms and a village shop vie for your lunch business.After lunch, follow the northern leg of the SDW up and over Windover Hill and down to Jevington (tea room and pub) before a final climb to head south along another ridge towards the coast.

There is an inland shortcut into Eastbourne if you are tired, but the suggested route is to continue along the ridge to the coast, to join up with the SDW's Coastal Route near Beachy Head. From here, head downhill into Eastbourne, where you follow the promenade along the beach into town towards the pier.

Walk Options:

Start at Glynde Station: similar distance, but connection at Lewes not so tight.
Shortcut into Eastbourne: descend earlier into Eastbourne and follow roads to the station rather than the seaside promenade (cut 2.5 km).
Start at Berwick Station: follow the waymarked Vanguard Way to Alfriston.
Lunch: plenty options in Alfriston.
Tea: tea room and pub in Jevington.
For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.25
  • 07-Jul-24

    As reported to me: 2 started in Lewes and met 2 others in Alfriston who had started from Berwick. The two sets of 2 separated again for the afternoon. 17.33 train

    4 one early shower

Length: 27.3 km (17.0 mi) [shorter walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 629/624 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 6 ½ hours
Toughness: 8 out of 10

Take the 09.46 Ore train from Victoria (CJ 09.53, EC 10.03), change at Lewes (10.51/11.05) onto the Seaford train, arrives Southease 11.12.
Should the Ore train miss the connection at Lewes, take the 11.21 Ore stopping service, arrives Glynde 11.26, and walk the alternative start route from Glynde.
London Bridge customers: take the 09.12 to South Croydon, change at East Croydon (09.42/10.03, yes yes yes: a very thinned-out schedule today, one might as well travel via Waterloo East and Clapham J)
Return trains from Eastbourne: xx.00.
This walk along the South Downs Way (SDW) consists of spectacular ridge walks with three steep ascents and a picturesque village in the middle for lunch and another one for tea, and with Beachy Head, Eastbourne promenade, beach and pier at the finish. It's a long but very rewarding walk. The route is well waymarked, the paths are easy walking, and the route is easy to follow. The South Downs are treeless and open, so there are good views throughout (weather permitting).
The walk starts at Southease Station, right on the SDW, and climbs the first ridge straight away, up to Itford Hill and then along the ridge to Firle Beacon, the highest point of the walk. There is an alternative start in Glynde in case the trains to Southease don't connect well.
At the end of the ridge, you descend into Alfriston, a pretty village in the scenic Cuckmere Valley, with a village green dominated by a large church. Several good pubs and tea rooms and a village shop vie for your lunch business.After lunch, follow the northern leg of the SDW up and over Windover Hill and down to Jevington (tea room and pub) before a final climb to head south along another ridge towards the coast.
There is an inland shortcut into Eastbourne if you're tired, but the suggested route is to continue along the ridge to the coast, to join up with the SDW's Coastal Route near Beachy Head. From here, head downhill into Eastbourne, where you follow the promenade along the beach into town towards the pier.
Walk Options:
Start at Glynde Station: similar distance, but connection at Lewes not so tight.
Shortcut into Eastbourne: descend earlier into Eastbourne and follow roads to the station rather than the seaside promenade (cut 2.5 km).
Start at Berwick Station: follow the waymarked Vanguard Way to Alfriston.
Lunch: plenty options in Alfriston.
Tea: tea room and pub in Jevington.

For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.25

  • Anonymous
    15-Aug-21

    Am starting at Lewes at 11.53. hayley

    07817156125

  • 15-Aug-21

    Looks like the posted train was cancelled. 2 of us from London Bridge direction are currently trundling along on a stopping service to 3 Bridges, getting a connection to Lewes from there.

  • 15-Aug-21

    We stayed on the Brighton train and are now on a Seaford train which does not stop at Southease though. Solution: stay on tje train to Newhaven and ascend the Downs from there, between Beddingham Hill and Firle Beacon.

  • 15-Aug-21

    So, the morning train troubles were due to a cracked track in the Purley area.

    We did start from Newhaven Town, which after the first 10 mins of A road is actually quite nice, reached Alfriston 10 mins before The George closed its kitchen, had a lovely lunch and moved on. The initially leaden skies (was it seafog?) had started to break even before Alfriston, and now we had blue skies with remnants of dramatic cloudscapes here and there, and a very refreshing breeze. On the ascent out of Jevington we caught up with walker number 3, who had taken the 10.46 from Victoria (also slightly delayed, in fact so much that it missed the connection in Lewes, so she in fact started from Glynde). We got to Eastbourne too late for the 18.00 train, so the ardent swimmer amongst us needed no encouragement to get wet. That still left time enough for a swift one in the Wetherspoons opposite the station.

    19.00 train.

    3 grey start and finish with plenty hours of sun

  • 15-Aug-21

    Oh, there were of bunch of other walkers on the Seaford train, they were Outdooraholics (a paid for Meetup group), doing Seaford to Eastbourne (aka the Seven Sisters). They were 2 1/2 hours behind schedule after all morning trains were cancelled! Which means they had planned a 8.46 train for that 21km walk....

Length: 27.3 km (17.0 mi) [shorter walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 607/601 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 6 ½ hours
Toughness: 8 out of 10
Sunset will be at 18.28, giving sufficient light for walking to 19.00 hours.
Processions will start at the Crown and Anchor pub (Marine Parade, just beyond the pier) at 19.30 and 20.45, a beach bonfire will be lit at 21.30, the fireworks start at 21.45 hours. Organised by Eastbourne Bonfire Society.
Take the 09.46 Ore & Littlehampton train from Victoria (CJ 09.53, EC 10.03, train splits at Haywards Heath), change at Lewes (10.53/10.59) onto the Seaford train, arrives Southease 11.06.
Should the Ore train miss the connection at Lewes, take the 11.15 Ore stopping service, arrives Glynde 11.21, and walk the alternative start route from Glynde.
Thameslink customers: take the 09.35 London Bridge train to Brighton, change at Gatwick (10.04/10.18).
Return trains from Eastbourne: xx.00 and xx.25 to 22.00. After that journey times get much longer (as you have to travel via Brighton): 22.11, 22.38 and 23.09. Buy an Eastbourne return.
This walk along the South Downs Way (SDW) consists of spectacular ridge walks with three steep ascents and a picturesque village in the middle for lunch and another one for tea, and with Beachy Head, Eastbourne promenade, beach and pier at the finish. It's a long but very rewarding walk. The route is well waymarked, the paths are easy walking, and the route is easy to follow. The South Downs are treeless and open, so there are good views throughout (weather permitting).
The walk starts at Southease Station, right on the SDW, and climbs the first ridge straight away, up to Itford Hill and then along the ridge to Firle Beacon, the highest point of the walk. There is an alternative start in Glynde in case the trains to Southease don't connect well.
At the end of the ridge you descend into Alfriston, a pretty village in the scenic Cuckmere Valley, with a village green dominated by a large church. Several good pubs and tea rooms and a village shop vie for your lunch business.
After lunch, follow the northern leg of the SDW up and over Windover Hill and down to Jevington (tea room and pub) before a final climb to head south along another ridge towards the coast.
There is an inland shortcut into Eastbourne if you're tired, but the suggested route is to continue along the ridge to the coast, to join up with the SDW's Coastal Route near Beachy Head. From here, head downhill into Eastbourne, where you follow the promenade along the beach into town towards the pier.
Walk Options:
Start at Glynde Station: similar distance, but connection at Lewes not so tight.
Shortcut into Eastbourne: descend earlier into Eastbourne and follow roads to the station rather than the seaside promenade (cut 2.5 km).
Start at Berwick Station: follow the waymarked Vanguard Way to Alfriston.
Lunch: plenty options in Alfriston.
Tea: tea room and pub in Jevington.
For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.25
  • 05-Oct-19

    12 on this (basically) map-led walk in overcast but dry conditions.

    We had splendid views (despite the low skies) and cold north easterly winds (i.e. we were walking into it) and got to Alfriston for lunch some time just before 13.00, I think. Only 2 had a pub lunch, but we were belatedly joined by two picnickers having a coffee at our table. That aimlessly encouraged us 2 to get another half measure of liquid bread each and when we eventually set off, the other 8 had long gone. We saw one of those 8 waiting at the bus stop on the A259 just outside Eastbourne, and one other on a bench on the promenade, eating a healthy desert, while bridging the time to the commencement of processions, bonfire and fireworks.

    Having arrived in E'bourne quite a bit earlier than estimated (just after 18.00), we decided to get on the next train rather than wait for revelries to start. [The punters arriving at Eastbourne off trains and buses (dressed for a heavy night out and full of intent) didn't scream "stay on here for a good time" anyway.]

    So...18.25 train for at least 7, bonfire etc. for at least 1. What the other 4 did, I just don't know...

  • Anonymous
    06-Oct-19

    Presumably eating his sand-which.

Thomas G
Thomas G

SWC Walk 25 (in reverse and with the alternative ending) – Eastbourne to Glynde
First posting of this version of the walk (so the SWC files suggest, anyway)

Length: 26.2 km (16.3 mi), ascent: 644 m, net walking time: ca. 6 ½ hours
Toughness: 9 out of 10
or: Eastbourne to Berwick (20.3 km/12.6 mi, 470m ascent, 6/10)
Take the 09.16 train from Victoria (09.22 CJ, 09.32 EC), arriving Eastbourne at 10.44
Return trains: XX.23 (change in Brighton!, 80 minutes journey time, 5 mins earlier from Berwick). Buy an Eastbourne return ticket.

To make use of one of the last long days: a longish South Downs ramble with three notable ascents, but very few sea views. This is because the route follows the inland variant of the easterly end of the South Downs Way, instead of the well-trodden Beachy Head-route. So, once out of Eastbourne and up on the Downs, you turn north towards the picturesque village of Jevington and then via the Long Man of Wilmington down into the Cuckmere Valley to Alfriston. From there it's back onto the South Downs to follow the ridge all the way to Beddingham Hill, where you turn north down to Glynde.

This is a map-lead walk, but it is very easy to follow. For a map, a height profile and gpx/kml files look here.
An early lunch stop could be The Eight Bells in Jevington (10.1 km/6.3 mi), but realistically lunch should be further along in Alfriston, for example at The George (15.3 km/9.7 mi).
For tea the splendid Trevor Arms in Glynde is an ideal stop close by the station.
You should be fine for light, as sunset will be just after 18.00, giving sufficient light up to 18.30, but if you have a head torch, why not bring it? Also: Alfriston is reached after about 3/5 of distance and effort, so it will be easy to gauge whether you are on schedule to get to Glynde in daylight. If running late, just walk the shortcut to Berwick instead…For the shortcut, you head north from Alfriston to Berwick station (and The Berwick Inn opposite), either directly along the Vanguard Way (20.3 km/12.6 mi, 470m ascent, 6/10 rating), passing The Cricketers Arms in Berwick village along the way, or via Alciston village (21.9 km/13.6 mi, 470m ascent, 7/10 rating) passing The Rose Cottage Inn there.
For details of these shortcut routes check the map here.

T=swc.25
L=swc.25
  • Anonymous
    12-Oct-15

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • Pia
    16-Oct-15

    Has anyone considered ending at Berwick and visiting St Michael and All Angels Church (open till dusk) which has some very inetersting murals painted by members of the Bloomsbury group, like Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell? link below.

    http://www.berwickchurch.org.uk/bloomsbury%20at%20berwick%20home.html

  • 18-Oct-15

    12 dry with some sunny intervals

    12 walkers initially, but down to 11 after a while, as a second-time SWCer found that she couldn't make the pace needed to reach the destination in daylight (and had neither map nor headtorch), and therefore reluctantly turned back to E'bourne. Fabulous views, plenty of passing clouds, but not a single drop of rain, some wonderful side valleys and a fair few woods as well. Lunch at The George for about half of us, the rest had carried sandwiches, but joined us for a drink in the pub. 2 then opted for the short finishing in Berwick, 9 went on to Glynde. Of those at least 1 made the 17.23 train, all others were in time for the 18.23, but 4 stayed at The Trevor Arms for dinner and then took the 19.23.

    The wind blew mostly from the back or the side, so we thought walking this East to West worked very well indeed (on the day), as you end at a station-side pub both in Glynde and in Berwick, as opposed to ending in the slightly distressing centre of Eastbourne.

  • Karen
    18-Oct-15

    A good day out. Nice to leave from Eastbourne in the morning rather than enduring the rather dispiriting trek along the promenade and through town at the end of a long day's walk. Lovely views throughout the day, an invigorating breeze, and great skies as the evening began to draw in. Most enjoyable.

  • 18-Oct-15

    The otherworldly offshore structure seen from Eastbourne is identified on this map. Further information can be found here.

    The shiny new facility spotted near Newhaven can be seen in this aerial view. Further information can be found in this exciting article from Waste Management World. Some of the inner workings can be seen in this engaging video featuring a giant claw and some sheep.