- Name South Downs Way
- Distance de sentier 163 km, 101 milles
- Durée en jours 8 jours
- Début de sentier Eastbourne
- Classement Traildino EW, Marche facile, sentier de la nature
101 miles, 162 km, 8 days
The South Downs Way is a National Trail, like its northern neighbour, the North Downs Way.
The Way is one of the most popular walks in England. The 100 mile or so start in Bournemouth, and here the walker is offered two choices. The coastal path runs along spectacular chalk cliffs, among them the Seven Sisters. This stretch is for walkers only. The inland leg is also accessible for cyclists and on horseback, as is the rest of the trail up till its end point in the historical city of Winchester.
The Downs essentially is a range of broad hills, mostly bare, cultivated with crops and grassland, offering good views over a patchwork of fields on both sides. The path mostly stays on the crest of the hills, but often dips into North South running ceasures where one usually has to cross, often in perilous circumstances, busy roads. That's one thing to mention: sandwiched between London and the cities in the south, this is a busy part of the country.
Originally, the chalk hills offered a rich and varied biosphere for all sorts of rare plants and insects, but these days, the only places you may spot these living treasures, are sites protected by conservationist organisations. All the rest of the country is quite dullified, the result of the interaction of farmers wishing to earn a decent living and consumers wishing to pay low prices.
Accommodation on the trail itself is scarce. A few Youth Hostels and the odd village. Most of the villages lie in the lowlands, way off the path. But the before mentioned suicide road crossings come in handy here, because regular bus services will carry you off and on the trail, into the villages and even seaside resorts like Brighton.
It may be lovely weather on the downs, with all kinds of birds and warblers whirling around, and even Red Kite and Raven in the air. But there also may be ferocious winds and rains, which, in a open landscape, is surely going to test your guts: be well prepared.