IF YOU’VE been holed up indoors over the holiday season, a brisk walk is a brilliant way to begin the new year. Here are some of our favourites.

Ashdown forest

Take a stroll through the forest that inspired A A Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. Ashdown was the basis for the the honey-loving bear’s Hundred Acre Wood.

It was originally a Norman deer forest, and it is now one of the largest free public spaces in the South East offering breathtaking views of the Sussex countryside. The forest is in the heart of the High Weald area of outstanding natural beauty. Nearly two thirds of its 6,500 acres are made up of rare heathland.

You can explore Ashdown forest on a walk starting at Pines car park, following a path parallel with the B2026. This is part of the Vanguard Way, a 66-mile route from East Croydon to Newhaven. Eventually, you can leave the VGW and follow signs to the Pooh Sticks Bridge for a round of Winnie’s favourite game.

Cuckmere Valley

The Cuckmere Valley is a wonder to behold. Looking down from the hills above it, the flat landscape looks more like an American plains scene than a slice of Sussex.

You can wander through it on a National Trust walk starting at South Hill Barn car park. The Trust suggests following the central track past the gate and heading straight down the hill along the middle track. You can take in the views of the Seven Sisters in the distance.

At the cattle grid, turn right and follow the path towards the sea. At the bottom you will find steps down to Hope Gap, one of four access points to the beach between Seaford and Eastbourne. The walk continues up a steep hill on the left, passing historic coastguard cottages.

Ditchling Beacon

No selection of Sussex walks would be complete without mentioning Ditchling Beacon. It is the highest point in East Sussex, and you can explore it on several routes recommended by the National Trust.

One, which passes a nature reserve, the scars of old quarries, and an iron age hill fort, begins at the Trust’s Ditchling Beacon car park. Head west up the ramp and through the gate to the Ditchling Beacon nature reserve. You will arrive at the remains of an Iron Age Hill Fort.

A grassy path splits off from the flint track on your right hand side. Walk over the brow of the hill, go through the kissing gate and then turn right going downhill to get to Ditchling Down.

For full routes, visit the National Trust website.