UK 2022: Save up to £75 pp

5-Night South Downs Guided Walking Holiday

SEAFORD, SUSSEX Uk. 2015 may 17th.The cliffs and lighthouse at Beachy Head on the south coast of England.
Duration: 5 nights
Type: Guided Walking
Walking Grade: 1 & 2
from £589pp £514pp

Stride out along the rolling hills and magnificent chalk cliffs of the South Downs. This wildlife-rich chalk downland is a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes of sweeping cornfields and market towns, all of which can be explored on our Guided Walking holidays.

Holiday Highlights

  • Head out on full day walks to discover the varied beauty of the South Downs on foot
  • Admire panoramic sea and cliff views
  • Let a local leader bring classic routes and offbeat areas to life
  • Enjoy magnificent South Downs coastal scenery
  • Visit charming English villages
  • Look out for wildlife, find secret corners and learn about the rich history
  • A relaxed pace of discovery in a sociable group keen to get some fresh air in one of England’s most beautiful walking areas
  • Discover what makes the South Downs so special from the white cliffs to the sandy beaches
  • Evenings in our country house where you share a drink and re-live the day’s adventures

What’s included

What Included:

  • High quality en-suite accommodation in our Country House
  • Full board from dinner upon arrival to breakfast on departure day
  • 4 days guided walking
  • Use of our comprehensive Discovery Point
  • Choice of up to three guided walks each walking day
  • The services of HF Holidays Walk Leaders

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.


Option 1 - Burton Park & Petworth House

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (160m)

In Summary: Explore the gently rolling countryside of the Rother Valley on our walk through Burton Park to Petworth. Here you can visit Petworth House or take an optional walk around the surrounding parkland.

Highlight: We pass by the National Trust's Petworth House - this grand property was built by the Duke of Somerset in the late 17th Century in the style of Versailles.

 

Option 2 - Duncton Down to Petworth

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Total ascent: 850 feet (260m)

In Summary: Starting on Duncton Downs the walk descends into the Rother Valley, passing through Burton Park and the village of Fittleworth on the way to Petworth.

Highlight: Our walk passes Burton Park, another grand stately home, dating from 1826. The small Norman church nearby is full of character.

 

Option 3 - Upwaltham to Petworth

Distance: 12½ miles (20km)

Total ascent: 1,300 feet (400m)

In Summary: Walk over Woolavington Down then descend to the Rother Valley, passing Burton Park and Fittleworth on the way to Petworth House.

Highlight: Burton Mill Pond is a great spot for Coots, Moorhen and Great Crested Grebe. The walk finishes at Petworth, a charming, small market town with fine buildings from the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries.

 


Option 1 - Clayton Windmills

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

In Summary: Ascend to Clayton Windmills on the crest of the Downs. We'll follow the South Downs Way over Ditchling Beacon, then descend the escarpment to Ditchling village.

Highlight: We'll pass the iconic Clayton Windmills. 'Jill' is a a wooden post mill from 1822, whilst 'Jack' is a brick tower mill from 1864.

 

Option 2 - Devil's Dyke

Distance: 9½ miles (15km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

In Summary: Walk atop the Downs from Devil's Dyke to Ditchling Beacon, following the South Downs Way for much of the walk.

Highlight: Devil's Dyke is a natural valley high on the Downs. It's hard to imagine that this peaceful beauty spot was once a Victorian tourist attraction complete with a railway, observatory and cable-car.

 

Option 3 - Devils Dyke to Ditchling

Distance: 11½ miles (18.5km)

Total ascent: 1,450 feet (440m)

In Summary: A longer walk from Devil's Dyke to Ditchling. We'll take in the the summits of Newtimber Hill and Wolstonbury Hill before rejoining the South Downs Way near the Clayton Windmills.

Highlight: Ditchling Beacon is the highest point in East Sussex and enjoys a commanding view south over the English Channel.

 


Option 1 - Hurston Place & Nutbourne Common

Distance: 6.5 miles (10.5km)

Ascent: 450 feet (140m)

In summary: We walk along the ridge to the west of the house to Hurston Place and then across West Sussex golf course to Nutbourne Common. We continue, eastwards, via West Chiltington to return to the house.

Highlight: Walking along the West Sussex Literary Trail.

Option 2 - Pulborough Brooks, Nutbourne & West Chiltington

Distance: 8.5 miles (14km)

Ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In summary: We walk along the ridge to the west of the House and continue west to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough. We then head north, across Pulborough Brooks meadows, to Pulborough village. We continue east to the villages of Nutbourne and West Chiltington, to return to the house.

Highlight: The nature reserve at Pulborough Brooks is not to be missed.

Option 3 - Pulborough and Nutbourne

Distance: 11.5 miles (18km)

Ascent: 850 feet (260m)

In summary: We walk along the ridge to the west of the house and continue west to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough – and the opportunity for refreshments. We then head north, across Pulborough Brooks meadows, to Pulborough village. We continue north eventually to reach West Chiltington and return to the house.

Highlight: Take in wonderful countryside views and picturesque villages.


Option 1 - Seven Sisters

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (160m)

In Summary: Starting at Friston church, we walk south to reach the chalk cliffs near Birling Gap, before walking along the Seven Sisters coastal path to Cuckmere Haven. 

Highlight: Take time to savour the outstanding coastal scenery then gaze down from the final 'sister' over the River Cuckmere as it meanders gracefully towards the sea.

 

Option 2 - Beachy Head & Seven Sisters

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Total ascent: 1,150 feet (360m)

In Summary: Follow the South Downs Way from above Eastbourne to Beachy Head. We then follow the glorious coastal path past the Belle Tout lighthouse and over the Seven Sisters to Cuckmere Haven.

Highlight: Look out for the Belle Tout lighthouse, now a private residence. In 1999 it was carefully jacked 17 metres inland, away from the rapidly eroding cliff edge.

 

Option 3 - Eastbourne & Seven Sisters

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: 1,550 feet (460m)

In Summary: We begin with a promenade from Eastbourne Pier to the start of the South Downs Way. Following the walk up to Beachy Head, we continue along the same route as the medium walk to Cuckmere Haven. 

Highlight: Enjoy magnificent sea views as we walk atop the iconic chalk cliffs of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters - a memorable day of breathtaking scenery.

 


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 


You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.


Option 1 - Cootham & Storrington

Distance: 6.5 miles (11km)

Ascent: 400 feet (120m)

In summary: We walk along the ridge to the west of the House and then south to Storrington. There will be time to explore Storrington and possibly visit  a teashop before we return through fields to the House.

Highlight: Wander around picturesque Storrington, the gateway to the South Downs.

Option 2 - Washington, Sullington & Storrington

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Ascent: 1,050 feet (320m)

In summary: Walking south from the house, we cross Heath Common and Washington Common to reach the village of Washington. We return along a section of the South Downs Way and then descend into Storrington – with the opportunity for refreshment. We return through fields to the house.

Highlight: The wonderful story behind the history of the Sanctuary.

Option 3 - Washington & Chanctonbury Ring

Distance: 11 miles (18km)

Ascent: 1,250 feet (380m)

In summary: Walking south from the house, we cross Heath Common and Washington Common to reach the village of Washington. We continue east to ascend onto the South Downs Way ridge and Chanctonbury Ring. We return to Washington and retrace our outward route back to the house.

Highlight: Chanctonbury Ring, a prehistoric hill fort atop Chanctonbury Hill.


Option 1 - Clayton Windmills

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

In Summary: Ascend to Clayton Windmills on the crest of the Downs. We'll follow the South Downs Way over Ditchling Beacon, then descend the escarpment to Ditchling village.

Highlight: We'll pass the iconic Clayton Windmills. 'Jill' is a a wooden post mill from 1822, whilst 'Jack' is a brick tower mill from 1864.

 

Option 2 - Devil's Dyke

Distance: 9½ miles (15km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

In Summary: Walk atop the Downs from Devil's Dyke to Ditchling Beacon, following the South Downs Way for much of the walk.

Highlight: Devil's Dyke is a natural valley high on the Downs. It's hard to imagine that this peaceful beauty spot was once a Victorian tourist attraction complete with a railway, observatory and cable-car.

 

Option 3 - Devils Dyke to Ditchling

Distance: 11½ miles (18.5km)

Total ascent: 1,450 feet (440m)

In Summary: A longer walk from Devil's Dyke to Ditchling. We'll take in the the summits of Newtimber Hill and Wolstonbury Hill before rejoining the South Downs Way near the Clayton Windmills.

Highlight: Ditchling Beacon is the highest point in East Sussex and enjoys a commanding view south over the English Channel.

 


Discover more about Abingworth Hall and the local area for ideas on how to fill your free day. 


Option 1 - Seven Sisters

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (160m)

In Summary: Starting at Friston church, we walk south to reach the chalk cliffs near Birling Gap, before walking along the Seven Sisters coastal path to Cuckmere Haven. 

Highlight: Take time to savour the outstanding coastal scenery then gaze down from the final 'sister' over the River Cuckmere as it meanders gracefully towards the sea.

 

Option 2 - Beachy Head & Seven Sisters

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Total ascent: 1,150 feet (360m)

In Summary: Follow the South Downs Way from above Eastbourne to Beachy Head. We then follow the glorious coastal path past the Belle Tout lighthouse and over the Seven Sisters to Cuckmere Haven.

Highlight: Look out for the Belle Tout lighthouse, now a private residence. In 1999 it was carefully jacked 17 metres inland, away from the rapidly eroding cliff edge.

 

Option 3 - Eastbourne & Seven Sisters

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: 1,550 feet (460m)

In Summary: We begin with a promenade from Eastbourne Pier to the start of the South Downs Way. Following the walk up to Beachy Head, we continue along the same route as the medium walk to Cuckmere Haven. 

Highlight: Enjoy magnificent sea views as we walk atop the iconic chalk cliffs of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters - a memorable day of breathtaking scenery.

 


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 


Abingworth Hall

Tucked away in the village of Thakeham at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall has stood in one form another since the 13th century. Gutted by fire, it was rebuilt in 1910 in its current distinctive style. As well as 27 ensuite rooms the house has all the ingredients you need for the perfect country house stay: three comfortable lounges with squishy sofas to kick back in, the largest of which opens onto an attractive conservatory and bar in which to dally, great food and super-comfy rooms to retire to. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walking here; go for a lazy amble around the wildlife rich chalk Downlands to discover a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes and vibrant market towns. Highlights of your stay might include the Seven Sisters, the Glorious Goodwood estate, the Devil’s Dyke and Chantonbury Ring, as well as Arundel and the National Trust property at Petworth. Take your pick.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout May to September. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the Hall’s smartly presented rooms, which make use of every nook-and-cranny in the interesting architecture of this characterful house. With 27 bedrooms, Abingworth Hall has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good and Better Rooms to choose from. Clean and bright, with accent colours to offset the simple palette, the rooms are airy and light. Better Rooms might have a feature wall or strong print wallpaper as well as pretty tiles in the ensuite bathroom.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, three lounges, library and board games to borrow

After a day strolling on the South Downs, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax in the large gardens and sit by the pretty pond, turn your hand to croquet or practice on the putting green. Ease through a couple of lengths of the heated outdoor pool if you’ve still got energy to burn. Hole up in the light-filled conservatory with pretty views of the gardens or retire to the Drawing Room with its wood-panelled walls, log burner, library of books to browse and comfy seats to sink in to; there’s a telescope for you to scour the night sky too. In the evening, take your seat in the bar or join fellow guests in the large ballroom for the evening activity.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Abingworth Hall is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room, which has a giant brick fireplace at its heart, hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of local Sussex flavours. Look out for the Sussex Churdle, a traditional, meaty ploughboy lunch, local Chiddingly beef cooked with black olives and Sussex smokies, smoked haddock served in a prawn sauce. Cap it all with a Sussex Pond Pudding, a pud that’s part of the honourable tradition of British dishes with names to pique the interest more than the appetite, which is actually bright and zingy, suety and syrupy all at the same time

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Abingworth Hall

10688_0070 - Abingworth Hall - Exterior

Getting to Abingworth Hall

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

Essential Equipment

  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner
  • Thermos flask for hot drink
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar
  • Small torch
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed)

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Camera

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2021
21 Nov - 26 Nov 2021
5 Version 1 £555 Available Trip Notes Book Now
2022
27 Feb - 04 Mar 2022
5 Version 2 £589 £519 Save £70 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
27 May - 01 Jun 2022
5 Version 2 £719 £679 Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
01 Jun - 06 Jun 2022
5 Version 2 £719 £679 Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
31 Jul - 05 Aug 2022
5 Version 2 £719 £679 Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
30 Oct - 04 Nov 2022
5 Version 2 £589 £514 Save £75 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
5 nights
Type:
Guided Walking
Walking Grade:
1

5 nights from £589pp £514pp

UK 2022: Save up to £75 pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

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