1 - From the Market Cross in the centre of Alfriston, start the walk southwards along Alfriston High Street and out of the village. Follow the road as it bends left and shortly, when opposite the main entrance to Deans Place Hotel on your left, turn right along an unmade drive, signed as a public bridleway.

Shortly, where the drive divides, keep right (straight on), now walking along a wide tree-lined path. Ignore the first stiled path to the right, continuing with the main track and gradually gaining height.

After another 400 yards or so, go right through a wooden swing gate and follow a terraced path which slants half-left down a grassy slope into France Bottom.

2 - At the bottom of the hill, go over a stile and turn sharply right to climb steeply up out of the valley beside a right-hand fence.

Towards the top of the slope, side-step to the right over a stile and resume your previous direction, now along a gravel drive with a superb view of the Downs on the other side of the Cuckmere valley.

Where the track divides, go ahead, ignoring the right fork and, after 20 yards, where several paths meet, turn left through a bridle gate and follow the South Downs Way gently up and along the northern ridge of the Downs for almost a mile, with a fence on your right at first and then on your left where a panoramic view opens out northwards into the Weald.

3 - At a helpful finger-post where the path levels out in a shallow dip at GR 499044, turn left between widely spaced fences which funnel to a gate from which a path continues, now heading for the sea, fenced at first then unfenced as it descends into a quiet valley.

The path then continues obliquely up a scrub-covered slope. At the top, join a wide track and turn left, ignoring an immediate right fork. After a few yards, disregard a left fork, carrying on along a wide, level path, lined with trees and scrub.

Go straight over a concrete track, ignore a path going sharply back to the left down the hill and, after another 200 yards or so, turn left along a path indicated by a waypost with a yellow arrow.

Follow this narrow path as it drops down through scrub. Steps are provided where the gradient is at its steepest. Beyond a bridle gate, the path emerges to traverse a more open area of patchy grass and scrub, almost at the foot of the slope, a magnificent segment of open access downland. The path undulates gently, finally rising to join the Alfriston-to-Seaford road through a bridle gate.

4 - Go through the bridle gate opposite, set back from the road, and head half-left downhill across close-cropped pasture where a superb view opens up along the Cuckmere valley to the sea.

This is another piece of open-access land where you can wander freely but our walk heads for a gate, in sight. Through the gate, maintain direction downhill to join the Cuckmere River bank and turn left along the riverbank path.

5 - At the first bridge over the river, if in need of refreshment, cross the bridge and follow a short path up to the pub at Litlington, returning the same way.

From this point back to Alfriston, there are public footpaths on both sides of the river. The one along the far side follows a raised bank and is higher and drier. The one along the near side of the river is more varied, but may be overgrown in places and is liable to flood occasionally when the tide is particularly high, though it should never be impassable.

The path and river circle to the right of Alfriston Church, situated on raised ground and in full view. At the next bridge over the river, turn left and follow a tarmac path past the village green or Tye, back to join Alfriston High Street.

If time permits, there is a lot to see in Alfriston.

The solid 14th-century church, with its spacious interior and solid construction, has been dubbed the “cathedral of the Downs” and the adjacent 14th-century thatched and half-timbered Clergy House is owned by the National Trust and open at times, except in January and February.

The medieval Market Cross is one of only two in Sussex, the other being at Chichester. The nearby Market Cross Inn was once a smuggler’s haunt, connected by tunnels to other buildings in the village and down to the Cuckmere River.

Nearby, two ancient hostelries face each other across the High Street. The half-timbered George Inn houses some well-preserved Tudor wall paintings and the Star Inn, opposite, was founded in the 13th century by the monks of Battle Abbey as a haven for pilgrims on their way to Chichester to visit the shrine of St Richard.

The alternative starting point at High and Over mentioned in the walk essentials has much to recommend it, including the free car park and a spectacular view overlooking the Cuckmere valley.

* Distance/Time: Seven and three quarter miles/three and a half to four hours.

* By Car: Start from Alfriston on the road linking the A27 and Seaford along the Cuckmere valley. Two car parks (fee payable). Alternative free parking at High and Over (GR 509011), a quarter mile off the described route, joining the walk at point four via open access land to the east of the Alfriston-to-Seaford road.

* By Public Transport: Scanty bus service from Eastbourne on weekdays – better service in summer. For details contact Traveline at www.traveline.info or by calling 0871 2002233.

* What’s underfoot: A fairly hilly walk with one steep climb after point two. Good walking along excellent paths and tracks.

* Thirsty Work: A choice of pubs and tearooms in Alfriston.

* So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer 123