Having done this walk three times – twice on grim windy and cold days, and once on a gloriously sunny day – I can confidently recommend waiting for a good forecast to give this route a go.
The things that make it so wonderful on a good day – being high up on a ridge line, expansive views, a clear uncomplicated pathway – make it pretty miserable on a bad day. On my recent attempt we finished cold, extremely windswept and a little bored from the grey and cloudy sameness of it all. But on the beautiful sunny day before that – it was incredible! So yeah, be patient and wait for that ☀️☀️☀️.
On our (fortunately) mild and sunny late Autumn day, my friend and I hopped on the train from Blackfriars and arrived at Hassocks around 11am. We wandered out of the station and about a mile across some fields and alongside a railway line.
Then it came time to head upwards to the ridge line, past some friendly looking sheep and a beautiful little windmill. It really was quite steep and I had to assure my friend that this would be it for the rest of the walk. She has never quite recovered her trust in me following a late afternoon ascent in the Lake District after I totally misjudged the route. Oops!
And then we were on the ridge line. And there we stayed for the next 8 or 9 miles. It was absolutely stunning! We were treated to beautiful 360 degree views of fields, tiny lakes and the sweeping lines of the landscape. My pictures don’t do it justice.
The lack of need to navigate meant that we were able to charge ahead, take in the views and put the world to rights. Although having said that, we did get a little lost towards the end where we followed the South Downs Way, rather than continuing onwards to Lewes. It was a fortunate mistake however, as we ended up walking under some absolutely glorious late afternoon clouds.
Before we knew it, we were above Lewes and coming to the end of the hike. I felt a little sad that it was over already.
Fortunately, we’d decided not to rush home and instead had booked a lovely bnb near the town centre. We arrived to loose leaf tea and freshly made muffins. Showered and headed off to the pub.
It was great not to have to head back to the noise and busyness of London after such a peaceful day. We went a bit mad in the pub – aperitifs, digestifs and at least three courses.
A great day and evening all round!
About the hike
- Around 10 miles
- Sussex, England
- I downloaded the route to my phone on a GPS app.
- Pretty easy – it’s mostly flat aside from the short steep part to get up on the ridge.
- Around four and a half hours walking (excluding stops).
- Food and water – limited options aside from a pub that you can take a detour to about half way. Not sure what to take? Have a look here.
- Travel to Hassocks from London Victoria or Blackfriars. Trains from Lewes go back to Victoria. We bought two singles as I think they’re on different lines.
Want more suggestions of day hikes from London? Check out my slowly growing list here.