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The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail

There are currently 4 comments and 3 photos online for this walk.

The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail
Author: Claire, Published: 31 Dec 2014 Walk Rating:star1 The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail Walking Guidestar1 The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail Walking Guidestar1 The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail Walking Guidestar1 The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail Walking Guidestar0 The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail Walking Guide
East Sussex, Brighton
Walk Type: Coastal
The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail Walking Guide boot The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail Walking Guide boot The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail Walking Guide
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A 4.5 mile circular walk along the south coast near Brighton, taking in the beautiful undercliff path, the pretty village of Rottingdean and then climbing up to Beacon Hill for the return leg across the Downs. You will be rewarded throughout with expansive views both out to sea as well as across the rolling hills. Rottingdean is most famous for its literary connections with the author Rudyard Kipling who lived there and was inspired by the South Downs for some of his poetry.

The walk follows the level, surfaced undercliff path for the first half, making for easy walking. However, do NOT attempt this walk in bad weather as the undercliff path can be dangerous with waves and beach debris at these times. The second half includes several climbs/descents across the hills of the South Downs and the unmade paths here can be very muddy and slippery in winter and after rain. You will need to negotiate a number of gates and 3 stiles (all of the stiles have open fence surrounds which should be suitable for most dogs to pass through). Several of the fields on the return stretch may be holding cattle so take particular care with dogs. There are public toilets half-way along the undercliff path. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours.

The walk starts and finishes from the free car park on the B2066 Roedean Road (close to the entrance for Roedean School), alongside the junction with the A259 Marine Drive. Turn off Marine Drive onto Roedean Road and you will see the car park immediately on the right. The car park has a height restriction barrier and also a WIDTH restriction barrier, which should be fine for access by most cars but not for vans or other larger vehicles. Alternatively there is some roadside parking on Roedean Road itself. Approximate post code BN2 5RL.

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Walk Sections

Start to Rottingdean Terraces
Start to Rottingdean Terraces

Start point: 50.8122 lat, -0.089 long
End point: 50.8026 lat, -0.0571 long

Leave the car park back to Roedean Road and turn left along the pavement to reach the T-junction with the main A259 Marine Drive. Turn right here, crossing over each branch of Roedean Road with care, and continue along the pavement with Marine Drive running to the left and the sea beyond. Continue past the bus stop and, as you come to the junction with traffic lights, use the two pedestrian crossings to cross left over Marine Drive.

Turn right for a couple of paces and then turn left down the access lane marked as Undercliff Walk with Pedestrian Priority. Follow this lane past a vehicle barrier and down the slope to reach a T-junction at the bottom. Turn left to join Undercliff, heading east. Follow Undercliff, the concrete walkway, for some distance with the beautiful chalk cliffs on the left and the tremendous views out to sea on the right.

For the first few hundred yards there are several sets of access steps down to small sections of beach, ideal for a little paddle in the summer months. Some way along, you will pass a cafe and public toilets set within the cliff. Continue past some more beach shelters and then the wall on the right gives way to a level beach. Turn left at this point, signed for Historic Rottingdean, heading up a slope past Rottingdean Terraces (an outdoor stage and theatre) on the left.

Rottingdean Terraces to St Margaret's Church
Rottingdean Terraces to St Margaret's Church

Start point: 50.8026 lat, -0.0571 long
End point: 50.8068 lat, -0.0581 long

Keep ahead towards Rottingdean and you will come to a crossroads with traffic lights. Use the pedestrian crossings to go straight ahead into the High Street, passing West Street car park on the left.

Follow the pavement along the High Street, passing between a number of shops, cafes and pubs set within the pretty old flint cottages. Beyond the shops, keep ahead and soon you will be passing the particularly neat flint wall of The Dene. The Dene was once the home of Lucy Risdale and it was here that she met Stanley Baldwin, Kipling’s cousin. Baldwin went on to serve three terms as Prime Minister during the 1920s and 1930s. Today, The Dene is managed as supported housing.

Keep straight ahead passing a wishing well on the right and, immediately afterwards, Kipling Gardens also on the right. Take time to explore the gardens should you wish (note: dogs are not allowed in the gardens). The gardens once formed part of the property The Elms, which was home to Rudyard Kipling from 1897 to 1902. It was here that Kipling wrote Kim and some of the Just So Stories. Eventually Kipling was driven away by inquisitive fans and moved to a remote house in nearby Burwash. He lived there until his death in 1936.

Continue along the pavement, with the wall for Kipling Gardens on the right. Follow the pavement as it swings right and then, at the junction, keep right again with the wall for the gardens still on the right. You will pass Kipling Cottage and then The Elms itself, across to the right. On the left you will come to the pretty flint church of St Margaret’s. Parts of the church date back to the 1200s and it was here that Stanley Baldwin was married.

St Margaret's Church to Windmill
St Margaret's Church to Windmill

Start point: 50.8068 lat, -0.0581 long
End point: 50.8061 lat, -0.0623 long

Keep ahead along the road, passing the war memorial and then the village pond on the right. Follow the road as it swings right to reach a T-junction back at the High Street. Turn left for just a few yards and then cross over to turn right into Nevill Road.

Follow this road steeply uphill. At the top of the hill you will come to a crossroads, turn right here onto Sheep Walk (signed for Beacon Hill). Pass through the gate to enter the open green area of Beacon Hill with the village windmill visible ahead.

Take the path at about 11 o’clock which passes just to the right of the windmill. The mill was built in 1802 and ground corn for the village and supplied flour for local bakeries until 1881. The mill fell into disrepair but has been restored many times over the years and now acts as a prominent local landmark.

Windmill to Greenways
Windmill to Greenways

Start point: 50.8061 lat, -0.0623 long
End point: 50.8117 lat, -0.0715 long

Beyond the windmill, continue ahead on the obvious grass bridleway. You will have views out to sea on the left and down to the village of Rottingdean on the right. Kipling loved the South Downs and used the hills as one of his many sources of inspiration. In his 1902 poem, Sussex, he wrote,

“Our blunt, bow-headed, whale backed Downs, But gnarled and writhen thorn--, Bare slopes where chasing shadows skim, And, through the gaps revealed, Belt upon belt, the wooded dim, Blue goodness of the Weald.”

Once you are over the brow of the hill, the village of Overdean will come into view in the foreground. About 200 yards before you reach the fence line for the village ahead, fork left onto a grass path downhill. Pass through the gate out to the road, cross over the residential road and turn left along the pavement. Continue down to the junction at the bottom of the slope with the road, Greenways.

Greenways to End
Greenways to End

Start point: 50.8117 lat, -0.0715 long
End point: 50.8123 lat, -0.0888 long

Cross over and go straight ahead through the gate to join the signed public footpath heading steadily uphill. Pass through the next gate ahead (this field may be holding cattle) and continue ahead following the right-hand fence line.

The fence line swings right and within the right-hand fence you will pass a wide wooden gate and then come to a smaller wooden gate. Pass through this and turn immediately left to continue uphill with the fence now on the left. Towards the top of the hill you will pass a circular brick vent. A few paces later look for a couple of small concrete marker posts within the fence, marked 1938 RS, thought to be old boundary markers for Roedean School.

Soon the school itself comes into view ahead and the field fence on the left becomes the tall wire boundary fence of the school. Roedean School is an independent school for girls founded in 1885, to help girls prepare for entrance to the newly founded colleges for girls at Cambridge University. The school moved here in 1898, set within 118 acres of grounds. Many fictional characters are alumni of the school including Lady Penelope of Thunderbirds and Chummy Browne of Call the Midwife.

Cross the stile ahead and continue with the wire fence on the left. Soon the buildings of Brighton and Brighton Pier will come into view in the distance ahead. At the end of the field pass through the squeeze stile ahead and go ahead on the path, heading fairly steeply downhill. Take care here as this section can be quite slippery.

The path leads you through a gap in a section of scrub/brambles to reach the next stile. Cross this and turn left, soon joining the fence line of the school once again on the left. As you reach the road, turn sharp left, cross the entrance drive for the school and continue across the area of grass scrubland. After a short distance you will emerge to the car park where the walk began.

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network The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail 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.

4 comments for "The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail"

First half is really boring as it follows a concrete path. After that, it gets more interesting.

By ianweir on 24 May 2017

Lovely walk on a perfect sunny day but beware had a little difficulty as a gate had had been tied shut near Roedean School.

By givemeabreak on 20 Jan 2017

Lovely walk but lost my internet connection and had to retrace our steps. A chance to do it again properly.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Hi, Glad you enjoyed the walk. You do not need an internet connection to follow the walks within the App. Once the walking guide is downloaded to your Library, all the written directions and photos are stored locally on your phone. The red line showing the route map is also stored locally, so that will always be visible too (even if the background map image comes and goes). Please contact our support chat via the website so that we can help.

By Wellfs on 02 Oct 2016

Lovely walk on a sunny day, with plenty of pubs and cafés in Rottingdean.

By keithneu on 03 Aug 2015

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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3 gallery images for "The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail"

3887_0Richard1420190530 The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 02 Jan 2015
Map of Rottingdean - you will see this as you enter the village.
3887_1Richard1420190530 The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 02 Jan 2015
Flint walls of Rottingdean - you can just see the windmill in the distance above the village.
3887_2Richard1420190530 The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 02 Jan 2015
These are the market posts described in the walk narrative - thought to set out the school boundary. It looked more like 1930 than 38 to me but when we looked them up everyone described them as 1938



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