Sussex South Downs stroll near Alfriston

The downland above Alfriston village (Photo by Hazel Sillver)

The downland above Alfriston village (Photo by Hazel Sillver) - Credit: Archant

We take you through a relaxing walk in the South Downs above the village of Alfriston

Alfriston Long Barrow

The Long Burgh (long barrow) on the downland above Alfriston village is 56m in length and 18m wide. It is estimated to date back to the Neolithic Period. A skeleton and urn were discovered here when the barrow was excavated in 1767, but are thought to date from a secondary burial during the Bronze Age.

There was an oval barrow 300m north of the long burgh, which – prior to 1970s ploughing obliterating it – was excavated; a female skeleton was found, along with antler bones that were radiocarbon dated to 3050 BC.

Where to refuel

There are several eateries in Alfriston, including The Smugglers Inn and The Star Inn. Both offer gluten-free and vegetarian options and welcome dogs.

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• Location: Alfriston, near Polegate, East Sussex.

• Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8km)– three hours to walk.

• Terrain: grass and chalk paths; lots of up and down.

• Where to park: There are two car parks (one free, one pay and display) at the north end of Alfriston village.

The walk

1. From the car parks at the north end of the village, head south along the High Street.

2. Opposite the last building of Dean’s Place Hotel, at the southern tip of the village, head right along a bridleway, after a footpath and a house. The way soon divides. Take the right hand way following the blue arrow along a wide path that leads past fields and houses on your right. Maintain direction on this path for one mile.

3. As you reach the top of the Downs, the hedgerow falls away and the path eventually leads along the edge of a field.

4. At the signpost in the corner of the field, head left and walk downhill towards Rathfinny Wine Estate and the sea.

5. Just before reaching the vines, head right into the next field, then immediately turn left and walk downslope alongside hedging on your left.

6. At the bottom of the hill, the path veers right. At the signpost, where the way divides, head right. A narrow chalk path leads uphill through woodland.

7. Go through the gate and turn right. You soon reach a crossways with a bench. Head right here through a gate and along a narrow path that leads downhill.

8. After the gate, at the signpost, maintain direction straight ahead up the slope.

9. After the gate, the way divides. Maintain direction straight ahead to a signpost, where you turn right onto the South Downs Way.

10. After the gate, at the crossways, head right, then immediately left upon the South Downs Way, past the Long Barrow. Remain on the South Downs Way for half a mile.

11. When the path hits a road, maintain direction upon the pavement, eventually crossing over a road, until you reach Alfriston High Street. Head left back to the car.


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