The Annual South Downs Way Walk

The Annual South Downs Way Walk is an organised nine day walk along the full 100 mile length of the South Downs Way, one of England's finest and most popular national trails.

During the past 43 years it has been enjoyed by hundreds of people from all over the world. It is, by tradition, a supported rather than a guided walk, with everyone free to walk at their own pace each day.

However, a team of experienced leaders will walk the South Downs Way with you and you can rest assured that there will always be knowledgeable people nearby to help you with directions, first aid or just a friendly smile.

South Downs, England
From June 9 to
June 17, 2023
9 days
+44 01903 813381


The Annual South Downs Way Walk

The South Downs Way is one of 16 national trails in England and Wales. It was the first bridleway national trail in England (therefore there are no stiles) and is the only one to lie entirely within a national park, running right through the heart of the South Downs National Park.

A Beautiful Walk

One hundred miles of chalk downland walking separate the Cathedral city of Winchester, the ancient Saxon Capital of Wessex and England, from the Victorian seaside resort of Eastbourne. Stretching over a rare, large Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the South Downs Way follows ancient tracks along the chalk escarpment and ridges of the South Downs from Winchester to the white chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. The trail never rises above 900 feet (250m) and yet affords stunning views of over 30 miles in every direction - giving that feeling of being 'on top of the world'. On a clear day from Devils Dyke it is claimed you can see seven counties of England.

The Annual Walk organisers, Footprints of Sussex, have a great deal of experience in organising guided and self-guided walking holidays on the South Downs.      They have been leading walks and offering holidays along the South Downs Way for well over 30 years and have been organising and leading the South Downs Way Walk, in co-operation with many friends along the way, for the past 23 years.


The South Downs Way is classified as an 'easy' National Trail. However you must be comfortable with maintaining an average walking speed of 2mph ( 3 kph ) and covering 11 or 12 miles (20km) on consecutive days.    Good footwear is vital - these chalk and flint paths are unforgiving of  ill-fitting boots and can cause difficulty with blisters.  


After booking, both newcomers and ‘old hands’ will be invited to attend a morning briefing meeting, with complimentary refreshments, a few weeks before the event. The team will be there to talk about how it all works and answer any questions you may have. Please do come along if you can.

South Downs, England


The Annual South Downs Way Walk

The cost for the full nine days in 2023 will be decided at the end of November when transport and other costs are known. It will include coach transport to and from the trail each day, the celebratory buffet reception at the end of the walk, personal certificates, an experienced team walking the whole trail with you ... and one or two surprises along the way.                                                              (as a guide, the cost last year was £319)     



Refunds will be offered less a fee of £30 for all cancellations received before 13th May 2023. Thereafter no refunds are possible. You can see  the full terms and conditions by clicking here. Please arrange basic insurance cover for unexpected cancellations - or check with your credit card company.


The Annual South Downs Way Walk

Daily Transport

With luxury coach transport provided to and from the South Downs Way each day, the annual supported walk is by far the simplest way of completing this inspiring and beautiful trail.The direction of the South Downs Annual Walk normally changes each year and in 2023 the walk will begin in Eastbourne and finish in Winchester.  Each day averages around 11 miles; Next year's sectors are as follows:-                               Eastbourne - Alfriston - Newmarket - Devil's Dyke - Washington - Whiteways - Cocking - Q.E. Park - Exton - Winchester


There is no accommodation provided along the South Downs Way during this event; with nearly 200 people taking part that simply would not be possible. Most local people will return home at the end of each day to family or friends. Those coming from further afield will find accommodation for the full nine days near one of the pick-up points - usually Chichester or Arundel. For some suggestions click here.

Luxury coaches are provided to pick up from selected points along the South Coast each morning - WORTHING,  ARUNDEL, CHICHESTER & SHOREHAM - and take everyone to and from the next section of the trail each day. The coaches leave at different times each morning usually between 8am and 9:30am. In the afternoon the coaches will depart at roughly 45 minute intervals to return to all the pick-up points; so there should not be too long to wait for a coach home.


Best friends are welcome on the Annual Walk but we are limited to just 3 dogs on each outbound coach. If you want to bring your best friend you will need to book as soon as possible.


The Annual South Downs Way Walk