New for 2020

South Downs Challenge Holiday

Stunning countryside landscape with sun lighting side of hills at sunset
Duration: 3 nights
Type: Adventure Walks
Walking Grade: 6
from £405pp £380pp

Stride out along the South Downs Way on this fabulous weekend of challenging walking. Our walks follow the crest of the Downs, from where you can admire the panoramas south to the English Channel and north over the rolling hills of the Weald. Covering 37 miles in two days is no mean feat - you'll return home with a great feeling of having accomplished something special.

Holiday Highlights

  • Head out on two full days of challenge walks
  • Admire panoramic sea and cliff views
  • Let a local leader bring classic routes and offbeat areas to life
  • Enjoy magnificent South Downs coastal scenery
  • Discover what makes the South Downs so special from the white cliffs to the sandy beaches
  • Evenings in our country house where you can share a drink and re-live the day’s adventures

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 when you can meet your leader and get ready for the challenge ahead


Distance: 19 miles (30km)

Total Ascent: 2,300 feet (720m)

Easing our muscles into the game we start from Devil's Dkye, taking in the summits of Newtimber Hill and Wolstonebury Hill before rejoining the South Downs Way near the Clayton Windmills. Keeping high, we follow the ridge to Ditchling Beacon, the highest point in East Sussex, for fantastic views south over the English Channel (and maybe a visit to the ice-cream van). We continue along the ridge line following the South Downs Way, and then follow it south east to complete today's challenge at Rodmell, with a quick celebratory pint in the bizzarely named 'Abergavenny Arms'.

 


Distance: 18 miles (28.5km)

Total Ascent: 2,800 feet (860m)

The final section of our challenge. From Rodmell there's plenty of ups and downs to test our legs as we pass though glorious Sussex countryside on good paths and tracks, continuing our South Downs Way route. The Cuckmere River then takes us south to the Seven Sisters Country Park and the iconic Seven Sisters chalk cliffs. The last leg of our journey is stunning coastal walking all the way to the completion of our challenge at the beautiful headland of Beachy Head.

 


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

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety is our priority and Britain is famous for its changeable weather, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents
  • Walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares)
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers
  • Warm hat and gloves. Gaiters are an optional but useful extra
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks
  • 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
2020
12 Jun - 15 Jun Version 1 (runs 2019/20) £405 £380 Save £25 Per Person Book Now
21 Aug - 24 Aug Version 1 (runs 2019/20) £405 £380 Save £25 Per Person Book Now
Duration:
3 nights
Type:
Adventure Walks
Walking Grade:
6

3 nights from £405pp £380pp

New for 2020

...or call 020 3974 8865

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