My partner grew up in West Sussex, and my aunt and uncle moved there from London some years ago, so it’s a place with strong family ties as well as considerable beauty. The combination of sea views, abrupt chalk ridges and green fields provides a sense of calm and serenity in anything but the worst weather.
The South Downs – Britain’s newest National Park – is a place of contrasts, and this seven-mile ramble is a particularly vibrant mix of ancient byways, monuments with tales attached, sea views framed by rolling hills, and the odd pub thrown in for good measure.
Following the South Downs Way for a short section, with views of ancient Cissbury Ring, and heading on to the apparently haunted Chanctonbury Ring, this is a route redolent of history. It’s not hard to mentally roll back the years to picture generations of travellers passing along the 100-odd miles of South Downs Way and walk in their footsteps along this route.
Whether you choose to believe the eerie tales of paranormal occurrences of witnesses spending the night at the Iron Age Chanctonbury Ring, the spot retains a sense of isolation, a standalone grove of beech trees crowning a small rise. Apparently the remains of a Roman temple lurk under the brambles, but the call of the Frankland Arms pub in Washington prevents tarrying too long.
The route back to the safety of Steyning takes you past the stunning 16th century Wiston House, and all too soon you’re back on the ancient high street of the former Norman port town.
We’ve teamed up with iFootpath to create a smart walking guide to lead you around the walk. Simply visit the iFootpath website to print the guide, or if you want the smart experience, get the iFootpath app (available for Android or Apple devices). The App gives you the full guide in the palm of your hand and also includes a live map so you can follow your progress along the route as you walk. Say goodbye to wrong turns.