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|Sussex Hospices Trail Part 7: Southease to Alfriston|
|Author: Demelza, Published: 16 Aug 2016||Walk Rating:|
|East Sussex, Southease|
|A 7 mile linear route which forms the seventh part of the Sussex Hospices Trail. The walk starts at Southease rail station, just the other side of the River Ouse from the lovely village of Southease, and follows the South Downs Way along the scarp slope of the downs all the way to Alfriston. |
The hospices of Sussex are dedicated to providing specialist end-of-life care. Friends of Sussex Hospices has worked with partners and supporters to create the Sussex Hospices Trail, a 200 mile long-distance path to support and raise awareness of the twelve hospice care providers that serve the adults and children of Sussex.
The route is steep at the start and then it is easier walking on the Downs before descending into Alfriston. The route follows the South Downs Way and so is well-walked and fairly easy to navigate. There are several gates to negotiate and two cattle grids. There may be livestock on the Downs, so take particular care with dogs. Allow 3.5 hours.
The walk begins at Southease rail station which is just east of the village of Southease on the Seaford Branch of the East Coastway Line and is surrounded by agricultural land. The typical off-peak service is one train per hour via Lewes to Brighton and one train per hour to Seaford. The walk ends in Alfriston village, from where you will need to arrange your onward journey. There are several options in terms of public transport for the return journey from Alfriston to Southease, however several of these bus and train routes are infrequent (and the connections can be lengthy) so please ensure you check your own arrangements for the particular day and time that you will need to travel. One option is to catch the 47 Bus to Seaford and then catch the train from Seaford to Southease. A second option is to catch the 125 Bus to Lewes and then take a train from Lewes to Southease. You can plan your journey in advance using traveline.info.
|Start to Hilltop|
Start point: 50.8315 lat, 0.0306 long
From Southease rail station, cross the railway line carefully at the pedestrian crossing and continue ahead towards the Youth Hostel (where there is a cafe and toilets). As you approach the Youth Hostel car park, turn to the right and cross the footbridge over the A26. Go through the gate and follow the chalky footpath which soon divides to offer you an option of a very steep OR a slightly less steep climb up to the top of Itford Hill (the choice is yours) where a settlement stood in the Late Bronze Age. Here the chalk path peters out to become short grassy turf.
|Hilltop to Car Park|
Start point: 50.8269 lat, 0.0387 long
Continue straight ahead to follow the wide, trodden grassy path. On a clear day there should be extensive views to Lewes in the Ouse Valley to your left and Newhaven and the coastline to your right. NOTE: You may be sharing the paths with sheep and/or cattle, so take particular care with dogs. There are likely to be many other walkers, riders and cyclists on the route as this is a very popular stretch of the South Downs Way.
|Car Park to Firle Beacon|
Start point: 50.8337 lat, 0.0831 long
The route continues along the ridge to eventually reach Firle Beacon (marked with a trig point), which is one of the highest points on the South Downs. The village and manor of Firle Place is downhill to your left and, in clear weather, you should have extensive views out across the Low Weald and beyond. The route continues along the edge of the escarpment and the grass is usually short, which makes for easy walking. There are also seats nearby if you wish to stop and enjoy the view.
|Firle Beacon to Bopeep Crossing|
Start point: 50.8336 lat, 0.1081 long
Continue ahead on the wide trodden path which bends slightly to the south east. A small footpath veers off to your left (ignore this) towards the famous Charleston Farmhouse, home of the Bloomsbury Group and decorated with their unique artwork. Stay with the South Downs Way and a lane emerges from your left (Bopeep Bostal) at which point you will meet another car park.
|Bopeep Crossing to Paths Cross|
Start point: 50.8258 lat, 0.1193 long
Follow the path ahead. Soon you will meet crop fields to your right and the pathway narrows as you begin to head downhill. At a four-way crossing of footpaths, take the narrow path straight ahead and through the trees.
|Paths Cross to Kings Ride|
Start point: 50.8109 lat, 0.1426 long
Follow the narrow chalky path downhill towards Alfriston. This lovely village, on the River Cuckmere, has tea shops and pubs and is home to Alfriston Clergy House, the first property to be owned by National Trust. Continue straight ahead as the footpath meets the residential road called Kings Ride.
|Kings Ride to End|
Start point: 50.8065 lat, 0.1514 long
Continue along the left-hand side pavement and then, at the junction, cross over and go ahead into Star Lane. When you meet the High Street turn left and continue ahead, walking north. You will see the distinctive bright red lion on the corner of the Star Inn which was salvaged from a shipwreck long ago. Continue to the bus stop at Waterloo Square where this stretch of the Sussex Hospices Trail ends. (NOTE: See the paragraph within the Getting There introductory section of this guide for details of public transport options).
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author Demelza and may not be reproduced without permission.
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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