Countryside and Walks
Over two-thirds of East Sussex is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty. Walks can include woodland, rivers, rolling downland and wildlife areas such as wetlands, dunes and shingle. www.eastsussex.gov.uk offers a database of walks containing dozens of choices – you can select walks by length or difficulty, or use the interactive map to show walks near you. You can then print off a detailed map and list useful places such as nearby pubs, restaurants, shops and accommodation
Southdowns National Park and The South Downs Way
The South Downs Way runs from Eastbourne to Winchester, even if you only walk a few miles, the breathtaking majesty of the Downs is a must. Our nearest point is at Firle, off the A27. www.nationaltrail.co.uk
The Seven Sisters Country Park
Part of the South Downs National Park, the Seven Sisters Country Park comprises 280 hectares of chalk cliffs, meandering river valley and open chalk grassland. It is a popular place for a number of outdoor activities including walking, bird-watching, cycling and canoeing. The Country Park is named after the Seven Sisters that form part of the chalk cliffs on the Sussex Heritage Coast, one of Britain’s finest unspoilt coastlines and probably its most famous view.
An historic beauty spot on the South Downs Way, named after the huge dry valley that carves its way through ridges of rolling chalk grassland. Legend has it that the Devil dug the valley to drown the parishioners of the Weald. Scientists, on the other hand, believe the largest “dry” valley in Britain was formed in the last ice age. www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Originally a deer hunting forest in Norman times, Ashdown Forest is now the largest free public access space in the South East. It is a great place for walking and enjoying spectacular views over the Sussex countryside and is known the world over as the ‘home’ of Winnie-the-Pooh. www.ashdownforest.org
Clifftop and undercliff walks
Built in the 1930s to combat coastal erosion, the undercliff walk runs from Brighton Marina to Saltdean. The village of Rottingdean, once home to Rudyard Kipling, is worth stopping at for lunch or a cream tea.
The Cuckoo Trail
The picturesque trail follows the former ‘Cuckoo Line’ railway track and stretches from Heathfield to Eastbourne Park. It passes through Horam, Hailsham and Polegate, a green corridor with a host of natural wildlife. Some verges are managed for wild flowers, and trees cut to allow light to reach the ground, other areas are wooded and shady. There are good views of the surrounding countryside and plenty of rest points. There are lots of opportunities to pick up refreshments just a short distance from the route.