3-Night South Downs Guided Walking Holiday

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Duration: 3 nights
Type: Guided Walking
Walking Grade: 1 & 2
from £365pp £315pp

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

  • High quality en-suite accommodation at our country house
  • Full board from dinner upon arrival to breakfast on departure day
  • 2 full days of guided walking with choice of easier, medium and harder grades
  • Use of our comprehensive Discovery Point
  • The services of HF Holidays Walking 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.

Explore the beautiful countryside and rich history of Sussex and the South Downs on our guided walks. The wildlife-rich chalk downland is a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes of sweeping cornfields and market towns. Join our friendly and knowledgeable guides who will bring this beautiful landscape to life.

  • Our experienced guides offer the choice of up to three different walks each day
  • Choose the option which best suits your interests and fitness
  • We provide flexible holidays. Join our guided walks, explore independently, or relax at Abingworth Hall

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 - 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.

 


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 


Explore the beautiful countryside and rich history of Sussex and the South Downs on our guided walks. The wildlife-rich chalk downland is a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes of sweeping cornfields and market towns. Join our friendly and knowledgeable guides who will bring this beautiful landscape to life.

  • Our experienced guides offer the choice of up to three different walks each day
  • Choose the option which best suits your interests and fitness
  • We provide flexible holidays. Join our guided walks, explore independently, or relax at Abingworth Hall

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


Option 1 - Amberley & Parham House

Distance: 6½ miles (10.5km)

Total ascent: 450 feet (140m)

In Summary: Walk through the fields at the foot of the Downs from the picturesque village of Amberley back to Abingworth Hall, passing through the grounds of Parham House.

Highlight: Parham House is a fine Elizabethan residence, surrounded by an extensive deer park.

 

Option 2 - Amberley, The South Downs Way & Parham

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Total ascent: 850 feet (260m)

In Summary: Walk from Amberley beside the River Arun, then follow the South Downs Way atop the Downs as far as Kithurst Hill. From here we descend through the fields to Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: Soak up the views from Rackham Hill where the panorama stretches north over the hills and woodland of the Weald, and south towards the English Channel.

 

Option 3 - Amberley & The South Downs Way

Distance: 12 miles (19km)

Total ascent: 1,150 feet (360m)

In Summary: Discover the peaceful River Arun then head along the top of the Downs following the South Downs Way as far as Barnsfarm Hill. Our route then turns north, crossing Washington Common, to return to Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: The chalk downlands are a rich habitat for wild flowers. Look out for rare orchids and Common Blue butterflies.

 


Option 1 - Cowdray & Petworth Park

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (220m)

In Summary: Walk from the northern edge of the polo grounds of Cowdray Park, through attractive woodland and fields to Petworth. Here you can visit Petworth House or take an optional walk around the surrounding parkland.

Highlight: Our walk passes 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 - Midhurst to Petworth

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (320m)

In Summary: Follow the valley of the river Rother from the historic town of Midhurst to the ruins of Cowdray Park and the famous polo ground. We continue to Petworth where there may be time to walk around Petworth Park or to visit the house.

Highlight: The extensive grounds of Petworth House were landscaped by 'Capability' Brown and captured on canvas by JMW Turner. The park is currently home to England's largest herd of Fallow Deer.

 

Option 3 - Through the Rother Valley

Distance: 12½ miles (18km)

Total ascent: 1,200 feet (380m)

In Summary: This longer route to Petworth begins from Stedham with a walk along the Rother Valley to Stedham Mill. Upon reaching Cowdray Park, our route follows that of the two shorter walks to Petworth.

Highlight: Discover the fascinating history of Cowdray House - the former home of the Montague family, was built in 1542 and largely destroyed by fire in 1793.

 


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 


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


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 - Thakeham, Warminghurst & Ashington

Distance: 6.5 miles (10.5km)

Total Ascent: 400 feet (120m)

In Summary: We walk to the nearby village of Thakeham and then, via Warminghurst church, across fields to Ashington. We return via woodland to the House.

Highlight: The gentle stroll through the woodland at the end of the walk.

Option 2 - The Knepp Estate

Distance: 10½ miles (16½km)

Ascent: 500 feet (140m)

In summary: Leaving the house, we make our way to the outskirts of Thakeham. We continue across open farmland and through woodland to reach the south western edge of the Knepp Estate. We have time to explore some of its features before turning for home via Warminghurst.

Highlight: Exploring the Knepp Estate.

Option 3 - Shipley & the Knepp Estate

Distance: 13½ miles (22km)

Ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In summary: We leave the house and make our way to the outskirts of Thakeham. Continuing across open farmland and through woodland, we reach the south western edge of the Knepp Estate. We continue to the village of Shipley before exploring the eastern part of the Knepp Estate. We return to the house via Warminghurst.

Highlight: Shipley - this historic village that was first mentioned in the Domesday Book.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


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 August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. 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

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

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.

Essentials

  • Waterproof walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
    Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

Recommended

  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner

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: £20 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2021
12 Mar - 15 Mar
3 Version 3 £365 £350 Save £15 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
06 Apr - 09 Apr
3 Version 3 £395 £345 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
16 Apr - 19 Apr
3 Version 2 £395 £345 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
23 Apr - 26 Apr
3 Version 1 £395 £345 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
07 May - 10 May
3 Version 1 £409 £399 Save £10 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
14 May - 17 May
3 Version 1 £409 £399 Save £10 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
21 May - 24 May
3 Version 2 £409 £374 Save £35 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
04 Jun - 07 Jun
3 Version 2 £409 £374 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
25 Jun - 28 Jun
3 Version 1 £409 £374 Save £35 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
02 Jul - 05 Jul
3 Version 2 £409 £374 Save £35 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
23 Jul - 26 Jul
3 Version 2 £409 £374 Save £35 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
13 Aug - 16 Aug
3 Version 1 £409 £374 Save £35 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
20 Aug - 23 Aug
3 Version 2 £409 £374 Save £35 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
03 Sep - 06 Sep
3 Version 1 £409 £399 Save £10 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
10 Sep - 13 Sep
3 Version 2 £409 £389 Save £20 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
01 Oct - 04 Oct
3 Version 1 £395 £345 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
15 Oct - 18 Oct
3 Version 1 £395 £345 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
29 Oct - 01 Nov
3 Version 1 £365 £315 Save £50 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
3 nights
Type:
Guided Walking
Walking Grade:
1

3 nights from £365pp £315pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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