Introduction to the long distance paths south of London

The region south of London is rich in long distance paths. They generally run west to east, going with the grain of the region's geology. However, there are also a number of interesting north to south paths, cutting across the Downs and the Weald.

It is not possible to give a completely comprehensive list of the long distance paths - I still keep stumbling across ones I hadn't previously known about, and new paths are continuously created. The list of paths given on this page is therefore necessarily selective. I have included paths that are:

I have included paths that have substantial sections within the region covered by this site, but which continue beyond the limits of the region (for example, the Monarch's Way). However, with the exception of the London Loop and the Capital Ring, I have only given details about the part of the path that falls within the region covered by this website.

Mashup paths south of London

I've adopted the term 'mashup' to mean a long distance path made up of sections of existing waymarked or promoted paths, with new short connecting sections defined where needed to create links. I've added a page that lists these mashup paths, including some that I've devised and described - for example, the Alternative South Downs Way, a 185 km (116 mile) route partly based on the Monarch's Way, from Eastbourne to Winchester.

Useful shorter paths south of London

There are a number of shorter paths that I've found useful as a link within a longer route or as part of a mashup. I've added a page that lists these shorter paths.

Other sources of information

The Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) published a useful handbook, listing many long distance paths and giving basic details and a very brief description. Harvey published a companion Long Distance Path Chart that gave a full colour topographic map with the routes picked out by category. These have now been replaced by an online searchable database of paths and associated publications.

The Ramblers Association also publishes a list of 'Long Distance Paths and Promoted Routes in Britain' on its web site.


Selective list of long distance paths south of London, in order of length

Note that the lengths quoted are (with the exception of the London Loop and the Capital Ring) for the part of the path that falls within the region covered by this website. The distances are only approximate - different authorities give distances that can vary by several miles.

The sum of the distances listed is 2921.5 km (1826 miles).

Long distance paths south of London
Name Length Start Finish
Saxon Shore Way 267 km (163 miles) Gravesend Hastings
North Downs Way 250 km (156 miles) Farnham Dover
London Loop 232 km (144 miles) Erith Purfleet
Sussex Border Path 216 km (135 miles) Emsworth (Thorney Island) Rye
Greensand Way 173 km (107 miles) Haslemere Hamstreet (near Ashford)
South Downs Way 160 km (100 miles) Winchester Eastbourne
High Weald Landscape Trail 145 km (90 miles) Horsham Rye
Monarch's Way 141.5 km (88.5 miles) Shawford Station Shoreham-by-Sea (East Breakwater)
Wealdway 131 km (82 miles) Gravesend Eastbourne
Capital Ring 116 km (72 miles) Woolwich Woolwich
Vanguard Way 106 km (66 miles) Croydon Newhaven
Serpent Trail 108 km (64 miles) Haslemere Petersfield
Sussex Diamond Way 97 km (60 miles) Midhurst Heathfield
West Sussex Literary Trail 88 km (55 miles) Horsham Chichester Cathedral
Stour Valley Walk 82 km (51 miles) Lenham Pegwell Bay (near Sandwich)
Tandridge Border Path 80 km (50 miles) Tatsfield Tatsfield
Thames Path 69 km (43 miles) Shepperton (Shepperton to Weybridge Ferry) Thames Barrier, Greenwich
Sussex Ouse Valley Way 67 km (42 miles) Lower Beeding (near Horsham) Seaford Bay
New Lipchis Way 61 km (38 miles) Liphook West Wittering (East Head)
Downs Link 59 km (37 miles) St Martha's Hill (near Guildford) Shoreham-by-Sea
Wey-South Path 58 km (36 miles) Guildford Houghton Bridge (near Amberley)
Solent Way 58 km (36 miles) Southampton Emsworth Harbour
St Swithun's Way 54 km (34 miles) Winchester Farnham
Mid Sussex Link 53 km (33 miles) East Grinstead Portslade-by-Sea
1066 Country Walk 50 km (31 miles) Pevensey Rye