Chanctonbury Ring and Cissbury Ring Walk from Finden
|13.31 km||315 m||3.5–4 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Findon Valley bus stop at May Tree Avenue on the A24 between Findon and Worthing
Chanctonbury Ring and Cissbury Ring Walk from Finden Route Map and GPX Download
Chanctonbury Ring and Cissbury Ring Walk from Finden Details
This walk includes a visit to two hill forts, Cissbury Ring and Chanctonbury Ring, providing much interest for the history buff. For everyone else, there are views aplenty as the route follows ancient ridgeways and like most walks in the national park, the South Downs Way.
From Finbury, the route climbs quickly up to our first hill fort of the day, Cissbury Ring which has a long and interesting history. Owned by the National Trust, Cissbury Ring is the largest hill fort in Sussex and the second largest in England at 26 hectares. It is thought to initially date from around 400 BC, and served as a defensive fort for 300 years. Cissbury Ring was occupied for many years after that, with archaeological evidence suggesting that it was a settlement during the roman period and coins from the 11th century have been found, but was abandoned as a settlement during the medieval period. It was used as one of the chain of beacons along the South Downs that served as an early warning of invasion and again its strategic position was used for anti-aircraft guns during WW2.
The route continues on anient byways, towards the distinct tree capped landmark of Chanctonbury Ring, joining the South Downs Way for the final approach. Chanconbury Ring is a prehistoric hill fort that’s thought to date from the late Bronze Age, or around the seventh century BC. WHile it’s purpose was uncertain, the name ‘fort’ not neccesarily denoting a military outpost, it was probably a religious centre as no traces of habitation have been found there. It’s prominent location might have helped make it a sacred place, but would most certainly have made it an expoed and windswept place to live. Even the Romans built a couple of temples up here, before the site was abandoned in the 4th century, possibly due to the establishment of the nearby Cissbury Ring.
It wasn’t until the 18th century that the copse of trees were planted on the hill by a local landowner (Charles Goring) who believed he could beautify the site by planting the trees. His anscestors continued with the tree planting, which migh make the landmark more prominent, but the tree roots are thought to have caused damage to the unerlying archaeology. Gun emplacemnts and training exercies during WW2 caused further damage.
The walk returns to the start by following more byways and rejoin the outward route just before Cissbury Ring, but skirts around its side to return to the start rather than over the hill fort.
More information and a leaflet with full route information on the Chanctonbury Ring from Finden Walk can be downloaded from the South Downs National Park website here. Note that there’s also a shorter walk just to Cissbury Ring on the link that’s around 6km long that will take around 1-2 hours to complete.