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Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way

There are currently 3 comments and 2 photos online for this walk.

Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way
Author: Claire, Published: 15 Jan 2014 Walk Rating:star1 Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide star1 Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide star1 Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide star1 Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide star1 Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide
East Sussex, South Downs
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide boot Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide boot Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide boot Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide
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0009_light_rain_showers Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide Today's weather
6 °C, Patchy rain nearby, Wind: 24 mph WNW
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0009_light_rain_showers Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide 0004_black_low_cloud Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide 0009_light_rain_showers Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide 0009_light_rain_showers Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide

A 4.5 mile circular walk, close to the East Sussex village of Firle. The walk includes a long stretch of the South Downs Way, taking in Firle Beacon and giving you chance to enjoy views for miles around and out to the sea at Eastbourne. After your walk there are plenty of local places to visit, should you wish to make a full day of it. There’s Charleston Farmhouse (open April to October), where you’ll learn more about the Bloomsbury Group who made this their country home, or Middle Farm (open all year) where you can try some of the national collection of cider and perry.

The walk follows grass and mud paths and tracks on the South Downs, some of which at lower levels can get very muddy after periods of wet weather. There is one long and fairly steep descent and an equivalent fairly steep ascent to negotiate. The route includes a few gates but no stiles. You may be sharing some of the paths with livestock, including Exmoor ponies. Approximate time 2.5 hours.

The walk starts from the free South Downs Way car park (which has a height restriction barrier) above the village of Firle, at the top of the road called Firle Bostal. Leave the A27 on the road signed to Firle (0.5 miles) and you will reach a road junction with the entrance gates of Firle Place ahead. Keep right here on the narrow road marked as a no through road. Where the main road bends hard left, fork right again onto Firle Bostal Road. Follow this road for some distance and it will lead you to the top of the South Downs where you will find the car park on the left. Nearest post code BN8 6LR (this is for a farm beyond the car park).

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Walk Sections

Start to Firle Beacon
Start to Firle Beacon

Start point: 50.8335 lat, 0.0839 long
End point: 50.8338 lat, 0.1083 long

Walk the length of the car park, heading away from the height restriction barrier. Just before the end of the car park, fork left through a wooden gate, onto the path marked with the blue arrow for the South Downs Way, heading east. (Note: there may be livestock grazing on these hillsides, so take care with dogs).

Follow the obvious path ahead, enjoying the spectacular views across the valley to the left. This hillside is popular with paragliders and on clear breezy days you’ll be able to see the colourful fabric canopies soaring in the sky.

The path bends a little right, running alongside a fence to the right. The views soon open up across to the south coast over to the right. Continue on this ridge top path for some distance. The South Downs Way, one of 15 National Trails in England and Wales, runs for 100 miles from Winchester (in Hampshire) to Eastbourne (in East Sussex).

After some distance you will pass a tower on a small hillside down in the valley to the left. This was built in 1819 by the third Viscount Gage (of the nearby Firle Place) as a gamekeeper’s cottage. It was placed on a hill so that the gamekeeper could signal any danger to the keeper of the deer park at nearby Ringmer (which also belonged to Lord Gage). A little further along you will reach the trig point at Firle Beacon.

Firle Beacon to Crossroads
Firle Beacon to Crossroads

Start point: 50.8338 lat, 0.1083 long
End point: 50.8361 lat, 0.1175 long

Firle Beacon sits at 217 metres high and has commanding 360 degree views. Keep your eyes peeled for Exmoor ponies, which are used to graze the steep slopes of the downland here.

Continue along the South Downs Way for a little distance further. At about 11 o’clock you’ll have views out to Eastbourne and the sea beyond. After passing a couple of small sections of gorse immediately alongside the path, you’ll see a waymark post marking a crossroads with another path. Turn left here to join the slightly sunken grass path, heading downhill and swinging left.

Pass through a gate and continue on the bridleway heading steadily downhill – take care as the chalk surface can be quite slippery when wet. At the bottom of the chalk slope, pass through the next gate and continue on path with a small belt of woodland to the left. You will emerge to a major crossroads of paths.

Crossroads to Path Junction
Crossroads to Path Junction

Start point: 50.8361 lat, 0.1175 long
End point: 50.8419 lat, 0.0939 long

Turn left here to join the wide track which climbs steadily and swings slightly right. Follow this track for some distance.

Across to the right is Charleston Farmhouse. In 1916 the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant moved here and over the following years it became the country meeting place for the Bloomsbury Group. Famous members of the group that were frequent visitors included Virginia Woolf and EM Forster. The house and grounds are open to the public from April to October each year.

As you emerge from a section between hedgerows, ahead you will see a pretty stone cottage and at about 1 o’clock you’ll have another great view of the hillside gamekeeper’s tower. The track leads you to a T-junction with the stone cottage (actually a pair of cottages, numbers 84 and 85) directly opposite. This is part of the Old Coach Road, once home to many more properties, hence the strange high numbered properties sitting in isolation here. In the summer months the garden is open to the public as Beanstalk Tea Garden (dogs are also welcome).

Keep left at this T-junction and follow the track as it swings right around the boundary of the pretty tea garden. Follow this track for some distance, until you reach the path junction with a major track turning to the left (through double gates and marked with a blue arrow).

Path Junction to End
Path Junction to End

Start point: 50.8419 lat, 0.0939 long
End point: 50.8336 lat, 0.0843 long

Turn left through the gates to join this track, heading steadily uphill. You will reach a gate ahead, pass through this into the access land. Take the path at about 1 o’clock heading steeply uphill. A little way up the path forks, keep right on the steeper narrower branch.

If you need a moment to catch your breath on the way up, it is a good opportunity to turn round and enjoy more of the views stretching north. As you reach the top, you’ll come to a T-junction with the South Downs Way, the path you used for your outward leg. Keep right along this path which will lead you back to the car park where the walk began.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

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network Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


3 comments for "Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way"

Fantastic walk, amazing scenery. Steep ascent at the end was challenging, but it was a great feeling to get to the top. Excellent directions too. We even extended the walk along the South Downs Way in the other direction. The Beanstalk Tea Garden was a great find too!

By Chris63 on 06 Sep 2017

Stunning views and easy to follow. We just went wrong near the end on the (very steep) ascent. The fork wasn't as obvious as we had hoped. A lovely walk

By oliviagmwest on 26 Oct 2016

Amazing walk! And a very good guide too! Make sure you stop in at Beanstalk Tea Garden - a little hidden gem & quintessentially English garden - the Lavender & Lilac homemade cake was beautiful!

By sebird on 08 Jun 2014

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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2 gallery images for "Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way"

2792_0Richard1389821228 Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 15 Jan 2014
This is the last part of the walk climbing back to the South Downs Way. It was muddy and hard going when we did it. Our friends and dogs are striding out ahead...
2792_0Richard1389821315 Firle Beacon and the South Downs Way Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 15 Jan 2014
Time for a snap shot at the Beacon.

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Introduction to iFootpath

iFootpath provides a mechanism to capture and share details of walks, but it is worth explaining the essential structure of a walk as they are stored in the iFootpath database. The basic concept is that a walk consists of any number of sections that are joined end to end. For each section we might want to describe views or other points of interest about that part of the walk.

The database that underpins iFootpath provides the mechanisms to store the structure and details of each walk, descriptions, photographs and mapping data for the overall walk and each section of it. It is not mandatory to enter information into every single field in the forms we provide, although some basic details are essential to ensure the walk database stays manageable and searcheable.

Each walk entered can be shared with all other iFootpath users, but before a walk (and its sections) are shared there are three stages it must go through. The first stage is as a "Draft". When a walk is in draft it is only visible and editable by you, the author of that walk. Whilst it is in draft form you can add sections, photographs, further description and refine it as you see fit. You can do as little or as much as you like. However, it is worth remembering that if someone (you) wants to print it off and take it as a walking guide, then it is worth taking the time to detail each section reasonably concisely. Long descriptions are generally distracting when walking and a short, concise version is usually much easier to use.

When you are happy with the walk description and its sections you can set the status to "Ready". This does not yet make it visible to everyone. It does, however, lock the editing (although you can change it back to draft and continue editing) and alerts the systems administrators that it requires reviewing prior to being "Published". When set to "Ready" the walk will be reviewed to check it contains the basic data needed and to ensure the content is clean. We do not allow content to include obscenities, swearing or other offensive language or pictures. This review does not check the walk for accuracy; whilst we would love to test each and every walk through walking we simply do not have the time. If we do find something wrong with the walk we will contact you and ask that it is fixed prior to marking it as "Published".

Once the walk is published it is now visible to any user of iFootpath and is therefore in the public domain given that anyone can register and access iFootpath. You are therefore responsible that any photographs used in your walk description are not infringing copyright. See our terms and conditions for further information on what we do and do not allow.

Published walks are available to all users of iFootpath and are listed in the walk browser to read or print and will be listed in the iPhone/iPod Touch application for download.

Walks in iFootpath

A walk in iFootpath is an introduction to the overall walk, identification of where it is and starts, some overview notes and general commentary.

Title (required)

A walk title should provide a brief indication of where or what the walk is. Walk titles do not have to be unique.

Description (required)

This provides a text area where you can describe the walk. Explain what you love about the walk, what makes it different and what people will see. In addition try to answer all the questions you might ask before going on a route. What sort of paths does the walk use? Any steep accents/descents? Are there any stiles? Are people likely to come across horse/cows/sheep?

County (required)

The county in which the walk starts is essential to help finding the walk in the database. Some walks may straddle more than one county - we suggest you select the county in which the walk starts or is mostly within.

Area (optional)

This field can be used, if you wish, to further identify where the walk is. This is particularly useful for large counties.

Walk Type (required)

To help quickly finding the right type of walk this provides a basic walk classification or type. Some walks may span two of these types - please use the type that fits the majority of the walk.

Length (required)

The length (in miles) of a walk is an approximation of the overall distance walked, not a measure of the distance "as the crow flies". iFootpath automatically completes this field based on the GPX file that has been uploaded.

Grade (required)

The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult it is to walk. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 walking boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles or other obstacles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. Do be aware that the level of stamina required will vary and you should only walk within your limits - the indication of walk length will help with this. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles.

Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

Map Ref / Start Point (optional)

The walk start point is an Ordnance Survey map reference to pinpoint the start point of the walk. This should be in the format:

AB 123 456

Further details of this system can be seen on the Ordnance Survey website.

Map Link (optional)

This optional field allows you to include a link to a web page containing a map showing the walk start. This is not the place to include any other links and the system will reject links to anything but Streetmap or Google Maps.

Start Point Co-ordinates (optional)

This pair of fields allows you to enter the longitude and latitude for the start point. iFootpath automatically completes this field based on the uploaded GPX file.

Key Image (required)

This is the main photograph used to illustrate the walk and can, if you wish, be the only photograph used of the walk. We recommend that you use a picture that characterises the walk, if possible, to show potential walkers what they might find or see. The picture must be in any of the main image formats (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG) and image files up to 2Mb in size are permitted. Once an image is uploaded it will be resized automatically and a smaller version saved that is optimised for viewing on both this website and iFootpath Mobile.

There are many image editing and manipulation applications available, so many that we cannot make particular recommendations although almost all are excellent. Our preferred way of saving images for iFootpath is to save or export them at a maximum size of 1024x1024 pixels as a JPEG file. This creates a file that is well under 2Mb in size, contains plenty of detail and displays well in almost any browser. Please be sure that you own the copyright to any images uploaded - you must have taken them yourself or have explicit permission. If you are concerned about image theft then we also suggest you include a small watermark in any corner of the image, but please remember that large watermarks that hide the image will not be popular with viewers!

Pdf file

Pdf file for walk

Icon (recommended)

The icon is a small image, 60 pixels square, used to provide a label for the walk when displayed in lists or in iFootpath Mobile. It is recommended that a small, square image for such use is created and uploaded. This should be in JPEG, GIF, BMP or PNG format and less than 100Kb in size. If you do not provide an icon the walk will be automatically given a generic system icon. If you do upload a photograph for the walk icon its size will be checked by the system and it will automatically be resized to 60 pixels square. However, please also note that if the image is not square in format it may be cropped and you will not get the result you might have expected. Just thought you should know!

Getting There (required)

This provides a text area to explain how to get to the start of the walk. It is good to include a post code.

Preview

This function allows you to see how your published walk would look, before you submit as 'Ready' for review.

Status

When a walk is created and saved in iFootpath its status is automatically set to 'Draft'. This implies that you are still working on it and may want to come back later to add walk sections, images or other information. When you are ready for the walk to be shared with other iFootpath registered users then the status should be changed to 'Ready'. This will automatically notify the system that you want to share the walk. The system will check to ensure you have completed the required information and alert a reviewer. The reviewer will read through to check the content is clean and consistent with our terms of use. This does not check the accuracy of the walk details or any other information. If there are issues with the contents you will be contacted by email. The walk status will also be reset to 'Draft' in this case. More likely, however, that everything is fine in which case its status will be set to 'Published' at which point it becomes available for viewing and downloading by any registered user of iFootpath. This includes download to iFootpath Mobile.

Filters

Filters allow you to narrow down your search for walks of interest. By County restricts the list of walks to those in the selected County. The Filters links at the top of the list page allow you to jump quickly to the filters or to clear them.

Keyword Search

The Keyword search facility will search through the walk descriptions and notes to find words or phrases you specify.

My GPX Files

This page gives you the list of GPX files that you have uploaded from iFootpath mobile (or from other sources). You are able to view, edit, delete or download these files. Once you are happy with your GPX file you can 'convert to walk' to create a draft walk based on this data. This walk will appear under 'Manage My Walks'.

Manage My Walks

The list of walks presented are those you have written and entered into iFootpath. From here you can filter the list if you have lots to narrow down your search, list all or just those with a particular status. If you select a 'Published' or 'Ready' walk you will see a read-only version of your walk, although if 'Ready' you can reset status to 'Draft' again for further editing.

Walk Sections in iFootpath

Each walk section represents a particular piece of a walking route. The start and end of each section are defined by waypoints. Each section joins onto the next to form the complete walk. There is no limit to the number of sections a walk can have, but on a long walk we recommend breaking the route down into manageable pieces that are delineated by particular landmarks, turnings or changes in obvious route. Each section has its own photograph and descriptive text which should hold a photograph that illustrates the section and any instructions or other notes you want to add that may be of use in helping navigation or pointing things out.

Section Title (required)

The section title is used to provide a short name for the section. It is useful in section titles to provide an indication of the start and end, so using names of landmarks, roads, etc is a useful aid. Sections will be named automatically as the name of the waypoint at the end of that section. It is recommended that you rename the sections as something more useful to walkers.

Section Description (required)

This field is used to provide as much information as you wish about the walk section. This should include notes on navigation, even if obvious, and any further information you care to share about views, historical notes, things to look for, etc.

Key Image (recommended)

A picture can save many words and will often be very useful in helping to navigate or spot things along the route. The picture must be in any of the main image formats (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG) and image files up to 2Mb in size are permitted. Once an image is uploaded it will be resized automatically and a smaller version saved that is optimised for viewing on both this website and iFootpath Mobile.

Our preferred way of saving images for iFootpath is to save or export them at a maximum size of 1024x1024 pixels as a JPEG file. Please be sure that you own the copyright to any images uploaded - you must have taken them yourself or have explicit permission.

Map Ref (optional)

This allows the OS Map reference for the start and end of the section to be entered. These should be in the format:

AB 123 456

Further details of this system can be seen on the Ordnance Survey website.

Start/End Point (optional)

This provides the facility to capture the co-ordinates for the start and end points of the walk section. iFootpath will automatically complete this field based on the GPX file used to create the walk.

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