Devil’s Dyke Walk
by Les Campbell
This circular walk starts and finishes right on top of the Devil’s Dyke giving you the grandest views of Sussex. At six miles long, you should allow three hours to complete the circuit.
The walk sets off along the South Downs Way, then descends to the Low Weald, for a mainly field path walk to Poynings, then a fairly steep climb back to Devil’s Dyke, described in one guidebook as the ‘World’s Grandest View’!
From the car park, at the point where the road swings sharp left towards Brighton, go over a stile, and follow the signed footpath, to the junction of paths on Fulking Escarpment.
At this point, you join the South Downs Way, which you follow westwards passing a three-way junction of paths at Edburton Hill. Leave the South Downs Way on the following pathway and turn sharp right through a gate marked ‘Access Land’. You will see pylons and Truleigh Hill beyond this pathway. Descend steeply on a bridleway following sign posts to the bottom, where you bear left at the bottom of the hill and follow the winding path until you reach the end of the decline; at the bottom is a gate marked No Motor Cycles and a NT sign Fulking Escarpment.
Go through the gate and follow the track to meet a road at the small hamlet of Edburton. Cross to the opposite bridleway, past Aburton Farm House, and pick up a wide track and follow this northward to a junction of paths with a 4 way finger post. Follow the public footpath to the right along the side of a hedge. This track forms part of an ancient droveway linking Edburton and Woodmancote.
Continue along the path ahead to a footbridge over a damp water course, onto a footbridge and metal gate at the corner of a wood. Take the left indicated path, and follow this to a footbridge and metal gate to a concrete track. Go over the stile and cross a paddock aiming for another stile, just to the left of a house. Cross the concrete access road, and follow the well-defined path ahead, which descends slightly to a bridge over a steeply sided ravine.
Maintain direction ahead, with a stream on your right and where a footpath joins from the right, veer slightly left to reach Clappers Lane in the vicinity of Brookside. Turn right along the lane towards Fulking, and just past a white weather boarded house up on the bank to your right, look for a stile on your left beside a metal gate indicated by a concrete footpath sign. Head for a visible stile at the end of a small copse, go over this and carry on ahead on a wide path across a large open field. At the next stile, follow a small depression slightly downhill, to cross a footbridge and join a rather muddy track leading to a sewage works. Look for a signed path opposite directly on the right hand side, and follow this past a ruined barn, then up a field aiming for a distant gap between two houses on the fringe of Poynings village.
On reaching the road, turn left for approximately 100 yards, then right along a bridleway opposite Dyke Farm House. Follow this enclosed path to the foot of the Downs and at a National Trust sign you should turn left and begin your ascent!
The sunken track climbs steadily, emerging onto open downland, with the Devil’s Dyke immediately below to the left. Carry on along the rim of the Dyke, ignoring all paths to the left and right to eventually join the road, where you should turn right for the car park and the world’s grandest view!
Distance: 6 miles
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer Map N0. 11 Brighton & Hove
Parking: Car park (charge) on Devil’s Dyke
Refreshments: Pubs in Poynings and on Devil’s Dyke
Public Transport: Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company number 77