T=3.65 SWC Walk 65 - Southease to Rottingdean
Length: 14.5km (9 miles) - with longer options
: see **
Toughness: 4 out of 10: one steep climb, basically 9.16
train from Victoria
(9.22 Clapham Junction
, 9.32 East Croydon
), changing at Lewes (be quick!
arrive 10.28, depart 10.34), for Southease, arriving 10.34.
Buy a day return to Southease
, which will be valid for return from Brighton.
For walk directions
This walk combines familiar elements - the lovely start along the River Ouse at Southease, a walk over the downs to Rottingdean - but combines them with a gentle walk across fields late morning and lunch at the very pleasant Juggs Inn in Kingston (pleasant and also popular, which is why I have chosen an earlier train)
. Don't overdo the puddings at lunch, however, because just after it you have the only real exertion of the day - a steep, but very exhilarating and scenic, climb up onto the crest of the South Downs. There is then a relatively easy walk across the lonely heart of the downs to the sea at Rottingdean, which has oodles of tea options.
Rottingdean also provides a reliable low tide sea swimming
spot, which is another reason for picking this walk today, as low tide is at 6.45pm. The central beach at Rottingdean (the one with the strange jetty-like structure sticking out on its right-hand side) is the only one on this stretch of coast that has decent depths of water in such conditions. (If you do swim out, look out for an underwater reef about 100 metres out on which one can stand in mid ocean - an odd feeling).
Regular coastal buses
(every few mins) go from Rottingdean to Brighton pier and station. If you decide to get off at the pier
, note that there are directions
from there to the station on the penultimate page of the walk directions. The beach by the pier is another possible swimming
spot, but watch your bags here. Trains back from Brighton
are very frequent. The fast Victoria service
is at 19
and there are direct London Bridge
services at 28
past to 18.56
: outside these times you can connect at East Croydon. Thameslink services (30 and 57 past) are slow stopping services. ** For a longer walk:
- Walk some or all of the cliff bottom path
from Rottingdean into Brighton. Ovingdean,
along, is one possible target: it has a very nice tea kiosk (china mugs and home made cakes) and then steps up to the road. Or stay on the promenade another 1.5km
to the start of Brighton Marina
and then take the ramp up the cliffs there. In both cases there is a handy bus stop once you get on the cliff. Walking all the way from Rottingdean to Brighton station adds 7.2km (4.5 miles)
to the walk.
- Walk back to Southease after tea in Rottingdean
. Ignore the Southease Circular directions in the text here, but instead see the Alternative ending at Southease
directions on the last page
of this document
. This takes you back over the downs (the afternoon of the Lewes to Saltdean walk in reverse) and adds 8.9km (5.5 miles)
to the walk length, making a total walk of 23.4km (14.5 miles)
. Trains from Southease are at 36 past
, with the last train
, so make sure you time this walk correctly. If you arrive a bit early for the train, the reception of the YHA just beyond the station might serve you a cup of tea. Only very fast walkers will have time to divert to the Abergavenny Arms for a drink.