England's South Downs Way Joins IAT

In November 2012, England's South Downs Way National Trail joined the International Appalachian Trail as a 96 mile (160 km) trek that follows the old routes and droveways along the chalk escarpment and ridges of the South Downs.  Experience some of the finest countryside in England, between its historic first capital and the white chalk cliffs of Eastbourne. 



The western end of the trail is at the historic and well-preserved city of Winchester, capital of King Alfred the Great. 


 Winchester Cathedral

River Itchen through Winchester

The city is also the county town of Hampshire, which has a rolling countryside of mixed farming and small woodlands.  The Meon Valley is particularly attractive, with its quaint villages and superb Iron Age hill fort of Old Winchester Hill. 

 View Northeast from Old Winchester Hill Fort

Continuing east, the trail passes lush pastoral landscapes

 Near Whitewool Farm

and rustic country churches 

Alfriston Church

on its way to the scenic coastline of the English Channel.


 View of the white chalk cliffs of Seven Sisters


View east from Bras Point

The eastern end of the trail is at the tourist resort town of Eastbourne, where the sunny climate, quiet charm and Victorian elegance have contributed to a long history as popular retirement destination. 

Eastbourne Beach

Eastbourne Sea Front


 Eastbourne Pier


If you are interested in spectacular coastal vistas, pastoral landscapes, visible prehistory, fine pubs and pretty villages, or if you just fancy a fitness challenge, the South Downs Way National Trail is an ideal hike for you!


For more on the South Downs Way, visit www.nationaltrail.co.uk/Southdowns and www.southdownsway.co.uk.