Every year on June 16, Sussex Day is celebrated to honour the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of the county.

And this year, it happens to coincide with Father’s Day.

A great way to immerse yourself in this historic county is to explore the South Downs.

With its rolling hills, picturesque villages, and stunning coastal views, the national park offer a variety of walks perfect for all levels of hikers.

Teams from the South Downs National Park authority have compiled a list of six of the best walks to enjoy on Sussex Day.

READ MORE: What is Sussex Day and who founded it?

Seven Sisters and Birling Gap

The Seven Sisters chalk cliffs are a symbol of the Sussex coastline and this seven-mile walk offers breathtaking views of these majestic white cliffs, as well as the tranquil beauty of the English Channel. Starting at the visitor centre in Seaford, the route takes you across the undulating cliffs, offering brilliant views at every turn.

Birling Gap, with its beach and charming café, makes for a perfect halfway stop.

Devil’s Dyke and Ditchling Beacon

Devil's DykeDevil's Dyke (Image: Daniel Almeida/AllTrails)

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the nine-mile route from Devil’s Dyke to Ditchling Beacon offers a rewarding adventure.

Devil’s Dyke is known for its dramatic views and deep V-shaped valley, rumored to have been created by the devil.

The trail then leads you through open countryside, ancient woodlands, and across the rolling hills of the South Downs.

Ditchling Beacon, one of the highest points in East Sussex, provides a spectacular finale with its far-reaching views across the Weald and towards the coast.

Alfriston, Cuckmere Haven and Friston Forest

This walk combines the beauty of Cuckmere Haven with the lush greenery of Friston Forest and the chocolate box village of Alfriston.

Beginning at the Seven Sisters Country Park Visitor Centre, this six-and-a-half-mile walk takes you up the South Downs Way to the top of West Dean steps where you can enjoy the coastal vistas.

The trail then drops through the shaded paths of Friston Forest and through Litlington village.

Carrying along, you will glimpse the White Horse of Litlington, standing guard over the Cuckmere Valley.

Upon arrival in Alfriston, the circular encourages you to return along the Cuckmere River back to the Visitors Centre.

This diverse walk is perfect for families and those looking for a mix of coastal and woodland scenery.

Arundel and the River Arun


Arundel, with its stunning castle and charming town centre, is a delightful starting point for a gentle walk along the River Arun.

This four-mile circular route offers picturesque views of the castle and the surrounding countryside.

The riverside path is teeming with wildlife, making it a great option for nature enthusiasts.

After the walk, you can some time to explore Arundel’s historic streets and cozy cafés.

Chanctonbury Ring and Cissbury Ring

This nine-mile walk begins at the May Tree Avenue bus stop in the Findon Valley, between Findon village and Worthing on the A24.

From here, follow signs towards the Cissbury Ring car park on Storrington Rise and take the path to the Cissbury ramparts.

The largest hill fort in Sussex, Cissbury Ring has a history dating back over 5,000 years. Set high up on a chalk promontory, its ditch and ramparts enclose roughly 65 acres.

From the top on a clear day you can see for miles, with views to the chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters beyond Brighton and as far as the Isle of Wight.

Once you reach Chanctonbury Ring you will see the beech trees which dominate the site. Originally planted in 1760 by Charles Goring, heir to the large Wiston Estate, the trees were casualties of the storm of 1987, with replanting happening soon after. 

Lewes and Offham Chalk Pits

The Lewes walk takes you through the townThe Lewes walk takes you through the town (Image: Liz Finlayson)

Starting in Lewes, known for its medieval streets and vibrant culture, this five to six-mile walk leads you to the summit of Offham Hill, the site of the Battle of Lewes in 1264.

It was here Simon de Montfort defeated King Henry III. This, along with the battle of Evesham the following year, helped to pave the way for our modern parliamentary system.

Offham chalk pits were a hive of industrial activity during the 18th and 19th centuries. Here, the raw chalk of the South Downs and the River Ouse meet and both were part of the great chalk pit and lime industry which has shaped the landscape we see today.

After descending, enjoy a leisurely stroll through Lewes, visiting its antique shops and historic landmarks.