OUTDOORS

With our towns and villages situated so close to the South Downs National Park, outdoor activities such as walking and cycling are incredibly popular in our district. Whether it be a gentle ramble along the river or mountain biking over the hills, venturing out into our great outdoors is a pleasure not to be missed.

Firle Beacon

Image above © Martin Porter

It’s an uphill hike from the village of Firle and an even harder cycle ride, but the good news for the less active among you is that you can also drive up to a free car-park from where it’s less than a mile walk to the top of Firle Beacon and the South Downs way. From the 217m summit, you get stupendous views for miles around: southwards to Newhaven and the Channel beyond, westwards to the historic town of Lewes, and northwards over the South Downs. This Chalk Grassland is also an extremely rich wildlife habitat, with up to 40 plant species per square metre that attract a huge array of butterflies.
Image © Carlotta Luke

You can also walk to one of the highest points in East Sussex, which affords one of the best views you’ll find in South-East of England. The summit of Ditchling Beacon is on the South Downs Way, and also easily accessible by car (from Ditchling village via Beacon Rd), so there’s an interesting mix of sturdy hikers and more leisurely-moving sightseers enjoying the views. There’s also plenty of flora to enjoy including, if you’re lucky, lesser-spotted orchids and wild herbs.To plan your walk – OS Map Explorer 122 & 123 cover this area.

Don’t forget to check out our Locals Love section for more outdoor suggestions. Olly has some great ideas for active kids.

LEWES FC

Right in the heart of Lewes Town we have our very own community owned football club. Matches are family friendly and the ground is home to both The Rooks and the female team, The Rookettes. They also run children’s training sessions during the school holidays. To find out more about these and game fixtures visit

SO SUSSEX

To join a led ride into the Sussex Countryside, SO SUSSEX have some tried and tested routes through the villages and downs in our area. You can also hire bikes that can be delivered to your accommodation.

THE BLUEBELL RAILWAY

The Bluebell railway runs through the heart of the Sussex weald, between Sheffield Park Station and the ancient market town of East Grinstead. Trains run every weekend and daily from Easter to October.Climb aboard, sit back and relax while you enjoy a journey behind one of the railway’s historic locomotives.

www.bluebell-railway.com

For the Golfers

Our area has some fantastic golf courses set in some magnificent locations with some of the best views in Sussex. Seaford Head Golf Course is a downland/links style course on the cliffs of Seaford. The Seven Sisters can be seen from the 13th,14th and 15th Holes and the famous 18th Hole has an extended vista over Seaford Bay and beyond. Another popular golfing spot is Lewes Golf Club  built in 1896 atop chalk hills overlooking Lewes town. On a clear day the view extends as far as the North Downs. This downland track is very much a traditional test and, as it is built on chalk soil, it is playable throughout the year without the need for temporary greens or tees.