Posted 28 January 2019 by Andrew Gardner
Sussex is a haven for ramblers. The keen can walk the South Downs or the Weald using one of our cosy holiday cottages as a base, while the rest of us take in small sections of this scenic landscape near our holiday cottages, or enjoy a gentle stroll by the sea. Here to start the year are two versions of one of my favourite circular walks – Chanctonbury Ring.
This iconic Sussex landmark is a ring of beech trees marking a Bronze Age hill fort, with panoramic views over the coast and the Weald (on a clear day I reckon you might spot Leith Hill Tower, the highest point of the North Downs). The route is mainly easy to find, though I always recommend you carry a map or use a download.
Steyning is the usual starting point for a 3-4hr circuit – if you've found one of our pretty holiday cottages near Steyning you're perfectly placed, but you can get there by bus from Brighton, Hove and Shoreham and you'll find clear directions from this point on the southdowns.gov.uk website. You'll start with a long, mostly (but not entirely – this is the South Downs, after all!) gradual uphill through a mixture of woodland and open countryside, joining a stretch of the South Downs Way. When you reach Chanctonbury Ring you leave the main trail, heading slightly right and downhill – quite steeply in places. After this you'll have the option of a longer circuit towards the village of Washington, or heading back to Steyning.
I also like the shorter circuit from the little car park in Chanctonbury Ring Rd, near Washington. Head left up the lane, then follow a path straight ahead and steeply up through the woods. This is a tough hill, but the woodland is very pretty. You'll emerge into open countryside – turn right and you'll soon see Chanctonbury Ring up ahead. You can then circle back round the open area to walk back the same way to your car, or follow the Steyning circuit downhill to your right, which brings you back to the top of Chanctonbury Ring Rd.
I love these walks and I hope you do too!