Start point for the walk: Glynde Station (TQ 458 086)

Finish point for the walk: Glynde Station (TQ 458 086)

OS 1:25 000 maps: 123 Eastbourne & Beachy Head

Length: 16.80 km

Maximum height: 215 m

Minimum height: 4 m

Height ascended: 330 m

Estimated time for the walk: 3 hrs 55 mins

Outline route description

(Route description is based on survey walk undertaken on 03 November 2007, checked again on 02 January 2010.)

Trevor Arms
Trevor Arms, Glynde

On leaving Glynde Station (TQ 458 086), turn right along the road, crossing the railway. Follow the road round to the right, passing the Trevor Arms (a recommended pub, selling Harveys). Continue along the road, past Station Farm and cross the A 27(T). Once across the A 27(T) follow the minor road southwards to Little Dene, a hamlet. The road then continues as a surfaced track, potholed in places, which climbs to the top of the Downs at Beddingham Hill (TQ 454 060). From Beddingham Hill follow the South Downs Way eastwards, passing a pair of radio masts, to reach Firle Beacon (TQ 485 059) after about three kilometres of fine ridge walking on short turf.

Beddingham Hill
Approaching Beddingham Hill (track is to left)

The actual high point is a tumulus close to the trig point.

From Firle Beacon continue along the South Downs Way for a little over a kilometre to reach Bopeep car park (TQ 493 050). On the way, look out for the Exmoor Ponies used to graze the steep scarp slope. The top itself is usually grazed by sheep or cattle.

Approaching Firle Bacon
Ridge approaching Firle Bacon

From Bopeep car park, take the road that heads northwards down the scarp. It soon turns east, skirting the edge of the disused Bopeep chalk pit. At the hairpin bend in the road, halfway down the scarp, a footpath and a bridleway meet. Follow the footpath through a small wood (the bridleway takes you back to the top of the Downs). After about 200 m (at TQ 499 049) take the path heading north-east towards Alciston. There are two options - either follow the official path along a hollow way, or follow along the left-hand field boundary above the hollow way.

South Downs Way waymark

The footpath soon reaches a track. Turn right along the track, then very soon, at a tee-junction marked by a triangular seat (a millennium project), turn left along the road into Alciston. Keep to the road through the village, rather than take the footpath that runs behind the village, as it is worth seeing the fine tithe barn and the 14th century dovecot. The village has an excellent pub - the Rose Cottage Inn, which sells Harveys.

Paragliders, above Firle village

Continue past the pub and then take the footpath off to the left, between gardens. From here onwards, things get very muddy in wet weather. Follow the path along the field boundaries heading roughly north-west, ignoring a footpath signed off to the left. When the path seems blocked by a hedge, turn north along the hedge to reach a gate into the next field. Cross this field (the hedge now on your right) to reach a minor road (TQ 505 064).

Near Firle beacon
Looking back, from near Firle Beacon

Turn left and follow the road for a short way, and then take the bridleway off to the right (at a sign for S. Walton, Saltglaze Potter). This bridleway is a concrete-surfaced track as far as the pottery. It then crosses fields until it reaches the driveway to Charleston Farmhouse (of Bloomsbury fame).

Summit of Firle Beacon (217 m)

The bridleway continues along the driveway and through the farmyard (a working farmyard, so it can be mucky). Beyond the farm, the bridleway continues on its course, passing below Firle Tower (a folly). The fields here are ploughed, and particularly muddy. The bridleway then passes between two houses to reach a small road (at TQ 477 072).

Exmoor Pony
Exmoor Pony, near Firle Beacon

Cross the road and enter Firle Park on a footpath. The route of the footpath across the park is marked by short posts at regular intervals. Follow these until you reach a green-painted finger post, pointing 'To Firle Place' (the big house) and 'To the Church'. Take the direction indicated for the church.

Tithe barn
Tithe barn, Alciston

The footpath leaves the park and enters Firle village along short lane. At the end of the lane, turn right along the main village street, following it as far as the Ram Inn (another good pub). (If you want to see the church, turn left at the end of the lane, not right, and then take the path off to the left.)

Firle Tower
Firle Tower

At the Ram, turn right along a short track behind the pub to re-enter Firle Park. Take the footpath off to the left, through a wooden kissing gate at the corner of a tennis court. Cross the field heading roughly north-west, aiming for the far corner. Another kissing gate then leads to the Lodge at the gates of the park. Go through the gates, to the junction of three minor roads, with the village sign (featuring a sheep) on your left (TQ 466 078).

Firle Park
Firle Park

Cross the junction to take the footpath along the drive for Preston House. At the end of this drive, the footpath dog-legs round the front of a barn, then crosses a couple of fields to reach Preston Court Farm. Here the footpath follows a lane (passing a low flint wall enclosing a small pasture on your left) to reach the road to Little Dene. At the road, turn right and follow it, retracing your steps, back to Glynde, crossing the A 27(T) on the way.

Preston Court Farm
Preston Court Farm