3-Night South Downs Gentle Walking Holiday

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Duration: 3 nights
Type: Gentle Walks
Walking Grade: 1 & 2
from £365pp £325pp

This easier variation of our best-selling Guided Walking holidays is the perfect way to enjoy a gentle exploration of the South Downs. The choice of three guided walks includes a very short walk of 3 or 4 miles.  Enjoy 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.

Holiday Highlights

  • Head out on gentle 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

  • High quality en-suite accommodation in our Country House
  • Full board from dinner upon arrival to breakfast on departure day
  • 2 days guided walking
  • Use of our comprehensive Discovery Point

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2:30 p.m. onwards (upgraded rooms from 1 p.m.) Please join us for afternoon tea.


Option 1 - Wiggonholt and the RSPB Visitor Centre

Distance: 4 miles (6.5km)

Total Ascent: 280 feet (80m)

In Summary: Enjoy the hamlets and woodland around Wiggonholt as we take a gentle walk back to Abingworth Hall. Spend time around the RSPB centre (£6 entry)and see what kind of birds can be spotted before strolling through Wiggonholt Common.

Highlight: Wiggonholt's tiny church, built during the Saxo-Norman overlap is a pretty stop for a picture!

Option 2 - Pulborough & West Chiltington

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In Summary: Explore the gently undulating countryside of Sussex on this walk back to Abingworth Hall, via the picturesque village of West Chiltington.

Highlight: West Chiltington church was built between 1100-1150 and has a fine collection of frescoes. As we head back to Abingworth Hall there are beautiful views towards the South Downs.

Option 3 - Pulborough Brooks Circular

Distance: 8½ miles (14km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (200m)

In Summary: Walking from the house, our route takes us westwards along the ridge to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks and a convenient coffee stop. Continuing north we pass Wiggonholt Church and walk alongside the brooks to Nutbourne and eventually back to Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: Stop to enjoy the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks where sightings may include Sandpipers, Lapwing and Shoveler Ducks.


Option 1 - Hope Gap

Distance: 4 miles (6.5km) 

Total ascent: 350 feet (100m) 

In Summary: From the Seven Sister’s Visitor Centre in Exceat – once a medieval settlement – we walk through the Seaford Head Nature Reserve to reach the chalk headland at Hope Gap. From here we walk to the coastguard cottages which provide the classic view of the Seven Sisters. Continuing, we follow the ‘Vanguard Way’ back to Exceat. 

Highlight: Refreshments at the Cuckmere Inn – charming & picturesque and, best of all, the view of the Seven Sisters from Hope Gap. 

 

Option 2 - 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 3 - Beachy Head & the 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. 

 


Enjoy a final 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.

 

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, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 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

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Getting to Abingworth Hall

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

More Information

What to Bring

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 and prices are subject to change.
Non-member associate fee: £10 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
2019
11 Oct - 14 Oct Version 1 (runs 2019/20) £365 £325 Save £40 Per Person Book Now
2020
03 Apr - 06 Apr Version 1 (runs 2019/20) £385 £345 Save £40 Per Person Book Now
Duration:
3 nights
Type:
Gentle Walks
Walking Grade:
1

3 nights from £365pp £325pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

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