Walk Up Ditchling Beacon
A circular walk in the SouthDowns that includes the summit of Ditchling Beacon and a short section of the South Downs Way
Route Start Location: Ditchling Beacon car park
|7.2 km||175 m||2–3 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Activivity Type: Easy Moderate Walk
Summits and Places on this Route
Toilets are available in the Devil’s Dyke car park
Parking : BN1 8ZB
National Trust’s Ditchling Beacon car park on Ditchling Road, but be warned that it is very busy at peak period and public transport is recommended at those times.
Devil’s Dyke and Ditchling Beacon are served by the Breeze Buses.
The nearest railway station is Brighton.
Walk Up Ditchling Beacon
At 248 metres high, Ditchling Beacon is the highest point in East Sussex and the third highest in the South Downs National Park after Black Down and Butser Hill. Located just to the north of Brighton, its popular with locals and not surprisingly, it is a busy hill to visit. Ditchling Beacon used to be a hill fort and you can see how effective the northern slopes would be for defences, though any obvious signs of the fort are long lost to the plough . As the name suggests it was one of the chain beacons that used to be lit in order to warn of invasions,
The walk up to the summit from the car park is very short, so this is a longer circular walk that skirts the southern side of the hill that should take a couple of hours. The South Downs Way is followed initially, and the summit is reached literally after 200m walking and it would be rude not to stop to admire the view over the South Downs, across the Weald an out over the English Channel. This can be a busy spot, shared with walkers, picnickers, those walking through on the South Downs Way, kite flyers and and even paragliders.
From the summit, the walk continues on the SDW for around 2km before joining the Sussex Border Path south for around 1km. The walk then leaves the trail left towards Standean and continues via the valley of North Bottom. From here, the walk finally reascends back up to the summit of Ditchling Beacon. On the second visit to the top, you’ll at least have earned the right to take a breather! It’s only a short walk back to the car park and the end of the walk.
You can also walk up to Ditchling Beacon from Stanmer Park on the outskirts of Brighton.
More information and a leaflet with full route information on the Ditchling Beacon Walk can be downloaded from the South Downs National Park website here.